The perfect combination of an obstetrician, doula, and labor-support person who can deliver
Since 2013, our practice has been offering hospital-based midwifery services including prenatal care, delivery, and postpartum care. Dr. Wells drafted the original policies accepted by John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek that would allow well-trained and certified nurse midwives the ability to deliver low-risk patients on their Labor & Delivery unit. Although commonplace at other hospitals in the Bay Area, this unprecedented move finally placed John Muir on the cutting edge in providing a comprehensive spectrum of birthing options for women.
Our midwives bring their years of experience in maternity care and general women’s healthcare and have been a huge asset to our practice providing an alternative to the historically physician-driven specialty. Their reputations in the community have grown tremendously since 2013, and our patients have come to appreciate their wise advice for new and veteran moms during their pregnancy and expert and compassionate care during delivery.
The questions many patients will be asking depend on their desires for childbirth. First, why bring on a midwife, and not more doctors? Our response is simple: to offer our patients another alternative. We appreciate that patients like our physician’s style of practice and trust their judgment and skill. We are also sensitive that some patients may prefer a more low-intervention experience, and we are humble enough to recognize that our qualified midwives have been specially trained to provide such an experience. Midwives also historically provide care to women in childbirth that is associated with lower incidences of cesarean sections and vacuum or forceps use.
Another question patients may ask is related to an age-old stereotype. The simple answer is no, midwives don’t just do home births. In fact, in the U.S. only 2% of all midwives do them. Another 2% deliver in freestanding birthing centers. The remaining 96% of midwives deliver women in the hospital, under the supervision of Obstetricians, and within well-defined policies and procedures. So NO, WE DO NOT OFFER HOME BIRTHS. Although we recognize that some couples may choose this option, this is not something we feel comfortable with at all.
In regard to the personal benefits of having our midwives attending birth, think of them as the perfect combination of doula and obstetrician: a labor-support person who can also deliver. If a woman’s labor changes to a more complex situation requiring an obstetrician for operative delivery, she will continue to be able to provide support before, during, and after delivery.
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Initially, I was indifferent about delivery with a midwife. I was open to the idea but not sure of what that would entail. About 75% of my prenatal appointments were spent with Sonya and I can easily say by the 2nd or 3rd appt, I was comfortable with her handling all aspects of my pregnancy and labor. Going into delivery, I was completely confident in her. She has a relaxed approach, but also a sensitive and serious side that offers balance to any question or concern. She did a wonderful job addressing all of my anxieties. I was also very comfortable speaking with her about the embarrassing and unexpected changes that come with being pregnant. Going forward, I didn’t think too much about expectations or a birth plan going into labor other than I wanted what was best for me and the baby. Sonya was helpful in outlining the probable time frame and making sure I understood the process as it unfolded. Most importantly, she really made the effort to ensure I was relaxed and happy as possible.
I went into labor late in the morning. Sonya stopped by around noon to check on me and let me know she would return in a few hours or sooner if necessary. When she returned she spent a considerable amount of time chatting with me and my husband while we were waiting for things to progress. It was nice to have as a distraction and I felt like she was part of the family and just as excited about our new arrival. If possible, I would want her to be part of any future childbirth experience without question! ~Alison