With increasing demand for low-intervention birth options, hospitals in Central Virginia are making some changes.
Certified nurse midwives are now available to new moms at HCA hospitals in the labor and delivery department. That means you can go to the hospital to deliver, but opt to work with a midwife.
“I’m so excited to have this opening up out here,” said Jennifer Walker, one of the participating Certified Nurse Midwives. “We believe in birth. We believe in mamas. We trust mamas and babies. We specialize in low intervention birth, labor, pregnancy.”
Walker says she specializes in healthy mothers and babies. Permanent birthing pools are being installed, but there are already backup tools in place to naturally ease labor. The midwives are available to work with patients from conception through delivery and post-partum.
The midwives say they can help mamas have a low-intervention birth experience, within the safety net of a hospital.
“We do have collaborating physicians that work with us if we have a mom that starts to go outside of the normal- we collaborate with them. We’ll find out what they think is the best plan,” said Walker. “We work with them to help our parents still maintain their relationship with their midwives.”
Walker says she also loves working with the hospital because there are more options for pain management
“I know everyone thinks with midwives, you can’t have an epidural. You just have to suffer through this whole thing, but most of our patients want to go un-medicated and we support them and work with them. We love it when they bring a doula in with them. That’s a great advantage to them. Epidurals are great too. I love science. I love that option for patients,” said Walker. “So, sometimes they come in and they’re just like you know what? Hook me up. I want an epidural. Sometimes they come in and labor’s just been too long or it’s harder than they expected so they look for that and that’s okay too.”
Walker says they also work to help fathers feel involved.
“We let dads catch if they want to, and then we don’t leave until that baby is breastfeeding well and we’re satisfied that everyone is safe and healthy and happy,” she explained.
And Walker says interest is really growing in this form of birth.
“Back in the day, we birthed in hospitals on our backs. Women are starting to realize that they have choices and they can have a say in their birth and their labor when it comes to their pregnancies. And I think the administration here is just finally starting to get behind that. They’re very supportive and we are so excited for that,“ said Walker.
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