The journey of bringing a baby into this world is one of the most wonderful and miraculous events a woman encounters in her lifetime. It is an important rite of passage that involves a delicate balance between mind, body and soul. At Providence Midwifery, we cherish this movement into motherhood, supporting women and their families along every step of the way. Our desire is to educate expectant parents about pregnancy, labor, and birth choices, giving them the tools they need to make informed decisions about their individualized care plan. This model of care leads to a more empowering experience for the mom-to-be, as well as her support system. Whether you are seeking a natural, epidural, VBAC, or water birth, we recognize that you are a unique individual who will approach your labor and birth with your own perspectives and wishes. No matter how your process unfolds, you can count on the respectful, creative and professional guidance of your midwife.
Every mother-to-be has an idea about how she would like to birth, and we want to help make her birth preferences a reality. Our goals are to be respectful of birth intentions, avoiding intervention when it is not needed, but also discuss situations in which intervention may be necessary. We believe that allowing for the natural onset of labor and patience with labor progression, often yields the most optimal outcomes for mother and baby.
Natural Labor and Birth
The female body was created to bring forth new life! It intuitively knows how to conceive, how to nurture a growing baby, and how to birth that beautiful baby into this world! Birth is a normal and natural human experience. In the absence of special circumstances, families who desire to experience an unmedicated and natural birth, need to be supported and encouraged in their decision to do so. Care and information should be given to view birth as a positive, natural, and joyous experience. The Providence Midwives work with individual patients throughout their pregnancy to discuss how to prepare for this experience. Women seeking a Natural Birth are encouraged to consider the following:
- Be Mobile in Labor: walk, shower, squat, sit on a birth ball, lunge
- Intermittent Fetal Monitoring (Low risk patients)- facilitates mobility in labor
- Consider a Water Birth
- Consider Hiring a Doula
- Consider Comprehensive Childbirth Education such as: HypnoBirthing®, Hypnobabies®, BOLD™, The Bradley Method®, or Birthing From Within
Women seeking a natural approach to labor and birth often chose to give birth in the water. Presently, there is some controversy over the safety of water birth. However, at North Fulton Hospital there are certain criteria that must be met in order to ensure safety for both mother and baby. Each individual that plans for a water birth is required to take a class at North Fulton Hospital which will prepare and educate them for that special day. Information about the water birth classes is available upon request. The following are some benefits to water birth:
- Gives mother feelings of control
- May shorten labor
- Provides pain relief
- Promotes relaxation
- Improves circulation
- Reduces need for medications and intervention
- Conserves energy
- Reduces perineal trauma/tearing
- Highly rated by mothers who have experienced water birth
- Encourages a gentler welcome for baby
Pain Relief Options
Although, there are benefits to natural labor and birth, it is not a desire for every patient. Each woman is empowered to make her own choices about pain relief in labor. We are certainly not “anti-epidural”. For the patient desiring a vaginal birth with options for pain relief, the following can be considered:
- IV pain medications
Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section (VBAC)
VBAC is clearly supported by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology as a safe option. There is a slight risk of uterine rupture associated with VBAC, occuring approximately 1% of the time. Of the 1%, the majority of those are NOT catastrophic. Due to this slight increase in risk it is routine to have continuous fetal monitoring, an IV site, and water birth is not an option. North Fulton Hospital does have telemetry monitors available, making it possible to remain mobile in labor. Women who have had one prior c-section are encouraged to consider a VBAC, women who have had 2 or more previous c-sections will be looked at with the collaborating physician on a case to case basis.
It is a well known fact that women give birth every single day without any external influence. At Providence, we believe in the intuitive nature of your body to begin labor on its own. Labor inductions are kept to a minimum and reserved for only true medical indications that may threaten maternal/fetal well being. An induction of labor is not without risk and can include, unplanned c-section, fetal distress, prolonged labor, maternal infection and increased use of epidurals for women wanting to go natural. Due to increased risk, labor induction requires continuous fetal monitoring. If an induction were to be necessary , we would discuss with you at length the potential methods that are available depending upon your individual needs/desires.
North Fulton Hospital’s C-section rate was last documented at 12%, the lowest in Metro Atlanta. Our skilled physicians are available to operate 24/7, in the case that a patient may need an urgent or emergent operative delivery. Women with a previous c-section who desire to schedule a repeat may do so at 39 weeks gestation.
We do care for twin pregnancies. Depending on each individual patient, collaboration with a Maternal Fetal Specialist may be necessary. We do advocate for vaginal birth of twins. A vaginal birth is possible if both twins are presenting in the head down (vertex) position, or if Twin A is head down, regardless of the position of Twin B. A physician will accompany the midwife at all twin births. Water birth is not an option for twins.