Recently, a study was released that found women are more afraid of childbirth than previously thought. As a doula and childbirth educator, I opened the linked article with interest, expecting to find that women were scared of pain or fearful that they or their babies may not be healthy. Instead, their greatest fears included being abandoned by their provider or that their providers wouldn’t treat them with respect or listen to their concerns. They also feared being “expected to bear the brunt of decision-making responsibility.” The article called the findings “a lukewarm endorsement at best of the maternity care given to mothers in the United States.”
One of the first choices you will make when you become pregnant – before you find out the sex or choose the nursery theme or plan your shower or hire a maternity photographer – will be the care provider who sees you through your pregnancy. Here’s a list of red flags that may indicate your provider is not the best fit for you.
- You have different goals for your birth. Are you planning to go into labor naturally? Find out your provider’s policies about induction. Is a Cesarean birth something you want to avoid? Inquire about your provider’s Cesarean rate and the reasons he/she most often performs this surgery. Are you planning an unmedicated birth? Ask your provider what percentage of her patients birth without epidurals or narcotic pain relief. This goes the other way too – I recently met a woman who planned an epidural, only to discover that her provider doesn’t “allow” them after a certain dilation (see number 2). She was unaware of this policy until she was already in active labor. She left the hospital traumatized by her birth.
- Your provider doesn’t practice client-centered care. He may use words or phrases like “allow” or “try” or “we’ll see.” An ideal client-provider relationship will revolve around shared decision-making. Are you hoping for a VBAC with this new pregnancy? How did your provider respond? A supportive provider might say: “I’ve looked at your history and think you’re a great candidate for VBAC. I love supporting women seeking a VBAC, and my success rate is high. Let’s do everything possible to help you reach your goal and still have a healthy mom and baby.” Consider it a red flag if the response is something similar to, “Well… Let’s see how things go and perhaps I’ll let you try for a VBAC.” With a trusted provider, you will come to decisions together about what is best for your baby and for you.
- Short appointment times or lack of personalized care. Are you peeing in a cup, waiting for a nurse to take your vitals and weight, and then sitting in an exam room waiting again for a provider who then spends 5-10 minutes with you, checking items off a list on his or her computer? Are you given the time to ask questions, to discuss concerns and fears, and to get to know your provider? Do you feel rushed? It is impossible to provide personalized care in such a short amount of time. Avoid cookie-cutter care that is the same for every patient.
- Dismissive of your concerns. It is frighteningly common to hear about pregnant women who brought concerns to their providers, only to have them dismissed with the response, “Well, that’s normal.” It’s true. Pregnancy DOES often bring with it a variety of odd ailments and afflictions. They may in fact be “normal.” But your concerns or discomfort should not be dismissed. A supportive provider will take the time to explain why you are experiencing the symptom and help you find ways to alleviate it. When you ask questions, you shouldn’t feel demeaned or unintelligent. The response should be in layman’s terms and absent of medical jargon. It should be compassionate. You should feel like you are being heard.
- Poor communication. Is it easy to reach your provider outside of your appointments when you have a concern? Is there an on-call number for you to reach him/her directly? If not, how quickly do you get a phone call back? It should be easy to reach your provider 24 hours a day, and this communication should be welcome and encouraged.
- Lack of evidence-based care. Do you find yourself having to advocate for things you know are best practice? For example, intuition and an overwhelming amount of evidence support the golden hour after birth (baby skin-to-skin with mom and no one but the parents touching baby). Is this standard practice for your provider and hospital? What about delayed cord clamping? Intermittent monitoring? Be wary of a provider who labels you as high-maintenance or even high-risk for questioning or declining certain practices and interventions.
- Bait-and-switch. This is the hardest one to prepare for, and the one that happens so heartbreakingly often. Maybe you were told that your hospital has L&D rooms with beautiful tubs. But you weren’t told that you can’t get in one if your membranes have ruptured. Or that they don’t have waterproof monitoring and you will have to get out of the tub every time a nurse needs to check heart tones. Or that you can’t actually birth your baby in the tub – it’s just for labor, not birth. Or that only some of the rooms have tubs and there’s a chance you won’t even have one in yours. Were you told intermittent monitoring is acceptable and available? Does that mean the use of a wireless Doppler during contractions? Or does “intermittent” mean 20 minutes out of every hour spent on your back in bed with two bands around your belly while you are denied freedom of movement. Were you promised a “birth center” and instead given a dressed-up hospital room with all of the same hospital protocols and interventions you were trying to avoid? Did you choose a respected doctor who is an amazing surgeon but doesn’t support physiological birth? Did you, looking for a natural approach, choose midwives but find that they aren’t practicing the true midwifery model? That they order unnecessary tests and ultrasounds? That they have a financial stake in your birth and it influences your care? If you’ve experienced any of these red flags, consider looking for alternatives. Pregnancy, labor, and birth proceed best in a calm, peaceful, environment free of stress. If you are entering your birth experience already on the defense, or you’re caught off-guard by surprises you weren’t prepared for, you’re creating stress hormones that will impede labor, opening the door to the cascade of interventions, poorer outcomes, and dissatisfaction with your birth experience as a whole.
- It doesn’t feel right. This is the last item on the list but arguably more important than all of the others combined. Trust. Your. Gut. Do you feel anxious at appointments? Does your provider use scare tactics? Do you dislike calling him or her because you feel like are being a bother? Did your provider call you by the wrong name or forget an important detail about you or your pregnancy? It may not be quantifiable, but you know something doesn’t feel right. Or… is the opposite true. Do you look forward to prenatal appointments and get a warm, fuzzy feeling when you tell your friends about your provider? Do you chat like old friends and hug at the end of appointments? Do you pop into the office just to say hi, greeted by smiling faces happy to see you? Is the office staff pleasant on the phone and in person? If all of these things are true, you likely have no need to worry about 1-7 above. But if you sense something is off, or you sense you need more from your care, honor that instinct and explore other options. It’s almost never too late to switch providers or birth locations and choose a provider who is on YOUR team. Don’t take your chances and promise to do something differently “next time.” This birth counts too.
Diana Petersen received her journalism degree at the University of Arizona. She is a DONA-certified doula and Lamaze-certified childbirth educator at Babymoon Inn, an accredited birth center and full-scope midwifery practice in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information about Babymoon Inn, please visit http://www.babymooninn.com. To follow Babymoon Inn on Facebook, click here.
© 2016 Babymoon Inn. All Rights Reserved.
I need you to know something. You didn’t fail at birth.
That beautiful birth you planned at the hospital with your partner. The one where you labored quickly and easily and then started pushing, reveling in that primal power unleashed by a woman giving birth. The one where your baby’s heart rate started decelerating and wouldn’t recover. The one where you were rushed to the OR for an unplanned emergency Cesarean. The one where you met your baby in an operating room instead of catching her with your own hands like you’d dreamed of.
You didn’t fail at birth.
That unmedicated birth you planned at a birth center. The one with your favorite midwife in the big room with the beautiful jetted tub and the baby footprints on the wall. The one where you labored for 24 hours and tried everything to get your baby to descend. The one where you finally agreed to transfer to the hospital for intervention. The one where you got an unplanned epidural. The one where you pushed out your baby on a hospital bed in a room full of people and lights and white walls that you never wanted.
You didn’t fail at birth.
That quiet, hypnotic birth you planned at home. The one where you planned to close your eyes and sway and hum and breathe your baby out. The one where you yelled and growled and cursed. The one where you cried and begged the midwife to get the baby out.
You didn’t fail at birth.
That vaginal birth you planned after a Cesarean with your first child. The one where you hired a midwife and a doula. The one where you took all the childbirth preparation classes and read all of Ina May’s books. The one where you saw a therapist to release fears and process birth trauma. The one where you tried everything and your body didn’t progress past seven centimeters and you birthed by Cesarean a second time.
You didn’t fail at birth.
That birth you tried not to plan. The one where you didn’t care who the provider was or where you gave birth or how you gave birth, just as long as your baby came out healthy. The one where your baby didn’t come out healthy.
You didn’t fail at birth.
It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to grieve. It’s OK to mourn the loss of this experience that was robbed of you. But please, sweet mama, never doubt yourself. Never feel like anything other than the warrior that you are. Allow yourself the same love and grace you will show your children. You are not a failure.
You didn’t fail at birth.
Diana Petersen received her journalism degree at the University of Arizona. She is a DONA-certified doula and Lamaze-certified childbirth educator at Babymoon Inn, an accredited birth center in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information about Babymoon Inn, please visit http://www.babymooninn.com. To follow Babymoon Inn on Facebook, click here.
© 2016 Babymoon Inn. All Rights Reserved.
So far, 2016 has been a year of exciting growth and change at Babymoon Inn. During the past year, we solicited feedback about how we could provide even better care while reaching still more families who may previously have not considered birth centers or midwifery care. In listening to the thoughtful feedback from our families, who primarily expressed the desire for a more holistic model of care with full-scope midwifery (to include gyn and women’s primary care), we have expanded our program of care to include hospital births (both planned hospital births and transfers from the birth center) and have expanded our midwifery team to include a broader skill set in both alternative medicine as well as gyn and women’s health.
It takes a passionate and committed team to provide the excellent holistic care we strive to offer our families. And, that passionate team needs strong clinicians! After a national search, we are so pleased to introduce Maribeth Diver MSN, CNM, who has been one of our part-time midwives for the past few months, as Babymoon Inn’s full-time clinical director. Maribeth brings to Babymoon 15 years of wide-ranging experience in midwifery and looks forward to utilizing her holistic and evidence-based approach to care with the families we serve.
Maribeth is a true believer in out-of-hospital birth for healthy, low-risk women, and was previously a midwife and the clinical director of a high volume birth center offering home, birth center, and hospital births. She is also an accreditation specialist for the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers, performing site visits at birth centers across the country.
Maribeth has spent time in Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Seattle, and Boston. Her experience includes serving Amish families in Pennsylvania and working as a volunteer midwife in Laos for two years. She currently lives in Scottsdale with her daughter, Liana, her parents, and her two dogs, but she plans to move to Central Phoenix this summer.
Maribeth will be an integral part in continuing to realize our vision to support women before, during, and after their pregnancy and birth. If you haven’t had the chance to meet Maribeth at a prenatal appointment or a Babymoon event, she is a full-scope midwife who is happy provide your well-woman care as well. We are thrilled to welcome Maribeth as our new clinical director – we know you will love her as much as we do!
A huge thanks to our interim clinical consultant Tanya Belcheff, who assisted us in our search and strategic planning for the practice growth and birth center care.
Babymoon has BIG news. We could not be more excited to announce a significant addition to our current program:
Babymoon Inn’s entire program of care is now available to women who require or choose hospital birth.
Babymoon Inn began with the intent to be a vehicle for women to access midwifery care. And for more than four years, Babymoon and our midwives have touched countless lives and been witness to the creation of countless new families. But it’s also weighed on our hearts that we couldn’t offer this care to MORE women. Our new program allows us to further our mission of providing loving, evidence-based midwifery care to every woman.
What this means for our current birth center clients:
- Continuity of care if your low-risk status changes during pregnancy. Mothers whose low-risk status changes before the birth of their baby will now remain under the care of Babymoon Inn midwives and will subsequently birth at the hospital, also under the care of Babymoon Inn midwives. The Babymoon Inn love, care, and support remains the same – only the location of the birth changes. Your Babymoon midwife and Babymoon doula will be your birth team at either St. Joseph’s Medical Center or Banner University Hospital.
- Continuity of care in the event a transfer is necessary during labor. “Transfer” can be an intimidating word to families who plan to birth at Babymoon Inn, and we understand that. Under our new program, if a mother is in labor at the birth center and circumstances require a transfer to the hospital, the mother will transfer to the care of Babymoon Inn midwife at the hospital.
- Meeting our hospital team! Our midwives with hospital privileges will be seeing mamas in our office each week. This means that if an intrapartum transfer of care is necessary, you will be transferring care to a Babymoon midwife you already know!
What this means for future clients:
- Midwifery care for more women. Mothers who are not eligible or interested in birthing at the birth center can now receive Babymoon Inn’s entire program of care and then birth at a hospital. This includes mothers seeking a VBAC, mothers who have conceived through IVF, mothers for whom hospital birth is a safer option, and mothers who prefer a hospital birth for personal reasons. All of these women now have access to Babymoon’s entire program of care – full-scope midwifery, childbirth preparation classes, prenatal massage, doula support, basic birth photography, and more.
- A choice of birth locations. Birth centers provide a comfortable, safe place for low-risk women to give birth. Evidence has repeatedly and overwhelmingly confirmed the safety of birth centers and the high rates of patient satisfaction regarding their experience. But there is a multitude of reasons why a woman may need or choose to birth in a hospital as well. Some women may have added risk factors making hospital birth necessary, others may feel more comfortable in a hospital environment, and others may desire midwifery care but still prefer the pain-relief options available in the hospital. Under our new program, Babymoon Inn can now embrace ALL of these women and help them have the birth desire in the location they desire.
- Babymoon’s providers will now be contracted with most major insurance companies. The facility itself (the birth center) may still be considered out-of-network. Our team works hard to maximize your insurance benefits and request gap exceptions to have our facility covered in-network as well, but we are not always successful in this regard. If you desire Babymoon’s program of care but your insurance will not cover the facility, you now have the option of receiving care at Babymoon and birthing at an in-network hospital with a Babymoon Inn midwife.
We are so excited to move forward with this addition to our program! Please feel free to call us at 602-314-7755 or email email@example.com with any questions or to set up a tour.
Babymoon Inn is a proud member of the American Association of Birth Centers. Babymoon and our fellow accredited birth centers are thrilled to be hosting this year’s AABC Birth Institute in Scottsdale. This annual conference provides an opportunity for birth centers to network, receive up-to-date information, and continue to work together to grow this important industry and improve maternity care. It also provides a chance for our families to show their birth center pride at the AABC Birth Institute Parade of Families!
Has your life or journey of motherhood been positively affected by Babymoon Inn? If you have birthed a baby here, seen our midwives, attended one of our classes, used one of our doulas, attended Inn Mommies or a Nest event, or even benefited from the amazing community in our Inn Mommies Facebook group, then we invite you to come join the Parade of Families! You are ALL Babymoon Inn families, and we proudly claim your kiddos as #birthcenterbabies!
On October 1, we’ll gather at 6:45pm at Maricopa 1 at The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch. Then all the families will have a fun parade across the conference stage. After the parade, please join us back at the hospitality suite – hosted by Babymoon Inn – for food and family fun. We would love to see as many families possible showing their Babymoon pride! This is a great time to put those babies in their Babymoon onesies or rock your own Babymoon Inn t-shirt!
We hope to see you there!
Assembling your birth team is one of the most important steps in your journey toward birth and parenting. If you’ve chosen the midwives at Babymoon Inn birth center, congratulations! You’ve already made a choice that research has shown leads to better outcomes for both mom and baby. You’ve increased your chances for a spontaneous vaginal delivery. You’ve decreased your chances for preterm birth, instrument-assisted delivery, episiotomy, and Cesarean birth. You’ve also surrounded yourself by care providers who are there to love and support you if these things do occur.
So who is on your Babymoon birth team?
Babymoon Inn Midwives and Monitrices. This probably goes without saying, but labor and birth at a birth center is different than it is at a hospital. At Babymoon, you will have a midwife and a monitrice present throughout your entire labor. The midwife does not arrive at the last 20 minutes to catch your baby, and your monitrice is not dividing her time between several mommies, performing myriad clinical tasks. Your support team is there from start to finish. Our monitrices are present to provide physical and emotional labor support from the moment you arrive at the birth center. Their clinical skills as nurses add an extra layer of comfort and safety to the birth center experience, as there is always one clinical member of staff available for mommy and one for baby. This is not the industry standard, and Babymoon prides itself on providing the best in both labor support and in clinical skills and knowledge.
Your Birth Partner. Gone are the days of anxious fathers pacing the hallway while mom mysteriously gives birth in a room down the hall. While you have to do what is right for your family, most couples who choose a birth center plan to have both partners involved in the process. We welcome and encourage partners to participate in every part of your Babymoon experience: appointments, groups, classes, and of course the birth itself! Ready, Set, Birth™ – our original childbirth preparation class – will prepare you AND your partner for what to expect and how you can work together labor and birth.
Your birth team may be very well be complete at this point. A loving and skilled midwife to provide top-notch, evidence-based care. An experienced monitrice to give you physical and emotional labor support. And your birth partner, whose love and emotional connection are unmatched by any other member of your birth team. For most families, this is the perfect combination of people to provide the loving support needed for a beautiful, natural, unhindered birth at Babymoon Inn. Additional members of your birth team may include:
Family and Friends. When you invite family and friends to attend your birth at Babymoon, they become a part of your experience. Our Ready, Set, Team™ class is designed for expecting couples to sit down with their friends and family and determine how each member can be an asset to the birth team. We encourage families to be thoughtful about who they choose to be a part of their birth, as the Babymoon experience is an intimate one, and the people you invite to attend your birth will have a direct impact on its outcome. Visit our calendar to see when our next Ready, Set, Team class will be held.
Older Siblings. Big brothers and sisters-to-be are welcome at the birth center. When younger children are present, it is best to have a friend or family member in attendance specifically to tend to your other children’s needs. Talk to your midwife ahead of time about how to include your children in the birth experience and what conversations to have at home to prepare older siblings for the big day!
Doulas. We welcome doulas from the community with open arms. Your Babymoon midwife and montrice will be present at your birth and are passionate about providing personalized, hands-on support, but our doors are open to doulas should you choose additional labor support. If you have built a relationship with a doula and would like her to attend your Babymoon birth, she is welcome! We encourage you to bring your doula to your 37-week appointment at the birth center so that she may familiarize herself with the environment.
Birth Photographers. Basic birth photography is included in our services. Should you choose to bring a professional photographer to your birth, they are welcome at Babymoon. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or ask in the office if you would like a referral to one of Babymoon’s preferred birth photographers.
For questions about services or classes offered at Babymoon Inn or The Nest at Babymoon Inn, please contact email@example.com or call 602-314-7755.
It’s a question we hear all the time during tours, through inquiry emails, and in person. Why should I have my baby at Babymoon Inn? What makes Babymoon different? Is it “worth” paying more out-of-pocket? Here’s just a short list of reasons so many families choose Babymoon’s program of care.
1. Our midwives offer evidence-based care. A 2013 Cochrane review found that midwives improve birth outcomes. Women whose pregnancy care was led by a midwife were less likely to have pre-term birth, an episiotomy, an instrumental birth, and regional analgesia. They were MORE likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth. Women who saw midwives for their pregnancy also reported higher maternal satisfaction. The authors’ conclusions? “Most women should be offered midwife-led continuity models of care and women should be encouraged to ask for this option…”
2. Birth centers are safe and offer a high quality of care. The National Birth Center Study II, which included more than 15,000 women planning to give birth at birth centers, found that the Cesarean rate for women receiving care in birth centers averages 6%. To compare:
“The Cesarean birth rate in this cohort was 6% versus the estimated rate of 25% for similarly low-risk women in a hospital setting. Had this same group of 15,574 low-risk women been cared for in a hospital, an additional 2934 Cesarean births could be expected.” – Stapleton et al., 2013
The rates of intrapartum and neonatal mortality rates were comparable to studies of low-risk, in-hospital births. There were no maternal deaths in birth centers in this study. The authors’ conclusions? “This study demonstrates the safety of birth centers and consistency in outcomes over time despite a national maternity care environment with increasing rates of intervention.”
3. “It’s evidence-based care…with a hug.” Our midwives and nurses love our mamas. It’s that simple. Your appointments will last 30 minutes to an hour. Your midwife at Babymoon knows your name. And your partner’s name. And your dog’s name. And your shower theme. And the colors you are debating for your nursery. (She may even be the one to cast the deciding vote!) Our midwives KNOW you. They know what is happening in your life. They know about your fears and concerns and will spend nine months showering you with love and support so that you head into birth and parenting feeling confident and empowered. Read more about why our families choose midwives here.
4. Our monitrices are trained in both clinical and emotional labor support. Your midwife and monitrice are present to support you throughout your entire labor and birth. Your birth team consists of women who are passionate about birth and serving women, and they will be by your side providing continuous physical and emotional support. You also have the piece of mind knowing that there are two clinical members of our team at your birth. While this is not the industry standard, we feel strongly about adding an extra layer of safety and comfort by assuring there is always one clinical staff member present for mom and one for baby if necessary.
5. The support doesn’t stop when the baby arrives. After the birth of your baby – whether it occurred at the birth center or at our transfer hospital – the support continues. Our midwives will see you at the office at 2 days and 6 weeks postpartum. At around 2-3 weeks, you’ll attend our “postpartum party,” where you will meet all the other families who had babies around the same time you did. You also join our Babymoon Inn Mommies Facebook group (don’t forget to post pregnancy and birth announcements… we LOVE them!) and come to our weekly Inn Mommies support group at The Nest. You’ll meet other mommies, laugh, cry, plan play dates, and find your tribe. You’ll come to the many events held at The Nest and Babymoon Inn: crafting classes, Empathikids Yoga, clothing swaps, cookie exchanges, and more. We feel strongly that you are supported not only through pregnancy, but through your journey as parents too.
6. It’s in the details. Join us for a tour and enjoy a light breakfast and our complimentary Choices in Childbirth class. Step into our office and grab a glass of freshly brewed iced tea or cucumber-mint infused water (did you know we grow our own herbs in the office?). Have a seat and enjoy a muffin, some almonds, fresh fruit, or a packaged snack while you wait for your appointment. Don’t forget to schedule your free prenatal massage! After baby arrives, be sure to take home your embroidered Babymoon Inn tote bag, a pink or blue Babymoon Inn onesie for baby, and your handmade baby name bracelet. Grab a screenshot of that “Welcome Baby!” post on Facebook, and return for your postpartum party to enjoy brunch and have a complimentary newborn photo taken by our professional photographer. We want every aspect of your experience – from the moment you take your tour and every moment thereon – to be exemplary. We strive to provide superior service, top-notch prenatal care, and endless postpartum support. And snacks. Those are endless too.
7. You don’t always get a do-over. A significant percentage of Babymoon clients are families having a second or subsequent child who didn’t get the experience they had hoped for with prior pregnancies. Sometimes they knew about all of their options but made what they felt was the best choice at the time. Sometimes they didn’t know other options existed aside from the one they chose. Regardless, they now come to Babymoon because they want something different, and we work hard every day to provide the experience they are hoping for: a personalized, family-centered, empowering journey of pregnancy and birth. This birth counts too. And it’s almost never too late to change providers if you are unhappy with the care you are receiving. We would much rather see you for the first time at 36 weeks pregnant rather than when you come back for a subsequent pregnancy after having been disappointed with your first birth experience.
Our doors and hearts are open, and we welcome you to come in and experience what Babymoon Inn has to offer to our families and to the community. Visit our Web site at http://www.babymooninn.com or call 602-314-7755 if you would like to see our facility and learn more about our comprehensive program of care.