As a Harley Davidson enthusiast, active football watcher and midwife, Carlos Valenzuela, CNM, breaks the gender stereotype of midwifery. Valenzuela recently joined the nurse-midwifery group in the Department of OB-GYN, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso.
With 11 years of experience under his belt, Valenzuela is a certified nurse-midwife (CNM)—a primary care provider for women throughout the lifespan, with a special emphasis on pregnancy, childbirth, and gynecologic and reproductive health.
Valenzuela, a native of Peru, relocated to New Orleans to study engineering. After discovering his unique social skills, Valenzuela transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) to study nursing. He received his undergraduate degree from the UWM in 1992.
Valenzuela remembers the day he changed the course of his career. One evening, while practicing as an RN with hopes of becoming an assistant to a family practice physician, a pregnant mother of six children arrived at the office. It quickly became clear that she would deliver her seventh child – a son – in the doctor’s office. This was the first time Valenzuela had witnessed childbirth, and in the process, it inspired him to pursue a career in midwifery. He soon completed a master’s degree and received his certification in midwifery at Marquette University in Milwaukee.
Recently transferred from Gallup, New Mexico, and with excellent Spanish speaking skills, Valenzuela became an excellent candidate as a midwife for TTUHSC El Paso.
At the UWM, Valenzuela gained experience and helped educate nursing students in labor and delivery. According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, approximately 2% of CNMs are men but men are increasingly becoming more interested in studying midwifery. “I think that parents, especially fathers, don’t have the opportunity to be present in the deliveries. I had a son and I wasn’t able to be present,” said Valenzuela. He encourages parents to be in the delivery room because “It is one of the most beautiful experiences that they will share with their partner.”
Valenzuela believes the key to practicing midwifery is to have great personal skills so that mothers can feel comfortable through the process of pregnancy and childbirth.
He hopes to continue research concerning midwifery such as preeclampsia andgestational diabetes.