Where is the birth center located?
Our new home is at 769 W. Terra Lane in O'fallon, MO. (map)
What will a birth at Birth and Wellness Center be like?
When a woman decides it is time to come to the birth center, she will be welcomed by a care provider that is well known to her, who will evaluate her and help her get settled in. Women will wear whatever clothes they are comfortable in. A kitchen will be available for the mother and her loved ones to eat and drink as they wish. Each birthing room will have a tub for waterbirth or simply for the mother’s comfort. The well-being of the mother and baby will be monitored by the midwife and a birth assistant. The midwife will be constantly available for encouragement and ideas for helping the birth progress smoothly. As the time of birth nears, the mother will be encouraged to use whatever positions or techniques she desires to give her energy and strength for the birth. The pushing phase of labor will be as gentle and quiet as the mother prefers. Throughout the process, the people whom the mother has chosen as her support, including children if she wishes, will be present with her. The father of the baby or other support people are encouraged to be intimately involved in the entire birth, and “catching” the baby can be done by the person of the mother’s choosing. Once the baby is born, he or she will be placed immediately into the mother’s arms, and bonding and breastfeeding will be encouraged. All newborn procedures such as the newborn exam will be done in the mother’s arms or at her side when she is ready. After mom has had a chance to eat and refresh herself, usually about 4-6 hours after the birth, the new family will go home, where mom and baby can rest and get to know each other in their own surroundings. Families who live within 30 miles of the birth center will receive a home visit 24-48 hours after birth. Mothers who live a greater distance away will be asked to come to the center for this visit or arrange care with a provider close to home. At 2 weeks and 4 weeks after birth, mom and baby will be seen together at the birth center.
Can I have a home birth?
Yes. We want women to be able to choose the birth that is right for them, including who helps them and where it occurs. Our center is as home-like as regulations will allow, but it isn't quite home. We will offer a limited number of home births each month, in St Charles county and other locations west of St Louis. Several home birth midwives are available in St Louis county and you can find their contact information at www.stlouismidwives.com.
Do you accept insurance and Medicaid?
Yes. Birth & Wellness Center is seeking contracts with all major insurance providers, and have received many positive responses so far regarding coverage for birth centers. As a CNM-led birth center, we qualify for payments from Medicaid, and have applied to be Medicaid providers. All of these processes take an extraordinary amount of time. Clients should contact us or their insurance carrier to verify exactly what their coverage is. Every client of the Center will receive a financial agreement, so there will be no surprises along the way. For those with high deductible insurance or those who are paying out of pocket, a sliding scale fee and payment plans are available to make our care as accessible as possible.
I know most pregnancies and births are normal and healthy, but what if there is a problem?
The Birth & Wellness Center functions within the larger medical community, and we have a collaborative agreement with a physician. If a woman develops complications during her pregnancy that are outside the scope of CNM care, she will be referred to physician care. This does not always mean she cannot give birth at the birth center or continue to see her midwife.
In the unlikely event of an emergency during birth, the staff at the Birth and Wellness Center is highly qualified to provide emergency care associated with labor and birth. Medications and oxygen are on hand for stabilization and treatment. To facilitate timely and smooth transfer when needed, the Center is located just minutes from our transfer hospital. Our supporting physician will continue to care for the mother and baby at the hospital as private patients, not "walk-ins", and our staff will accompany the family to the hospital and continue to offer support throughout the birth experience.
What will I get with my prenatal care?
The midwives at Birth & Wellness Center provide comprehensive prenatal care, and each appointment will include education, physical assessments and plenty of time for questions, stories and just getting to know each other. We draw labs at the birth center and will make referrals for ultrasounds or other testing as needed.
What kind of classes will you offer?
Education is an integral part of the midwifery model of care. For first time parents, or those giving birth outside of the hospital for the first time, prenatal classes will be offered at a reduced charge for our clients. Lisa Pontious, a current student midwife who will be practicing with us upon her graduation in spring, 2013, will be offering Hypnobirthing classes. We are pleased to partner with New Generation Birth for our general prenatal/childbirth classes.
As our practice grows, we plan to offer breastfeeding classes and support groups, prenatal yoga, baby massage, and other educational opportunities. Members of the community who are planning birth elsewhere but are looking for more natural-focused classes or a more personalized class experience will be welcome to join our education program.
What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife?
A CNM is trained and certified in the sister disciplines of nursing and midwifery. She is prepared at the Master’s Degree level, certified by national standards and examination, and licensed by the state. A CNM provides comprehensive care in all aspects of women's health including adolescent care and counseling, prenatal care, attendance at birth, postpartum care, family planning, screening and treatment of routine gynecological problems, wellness exams and counseling including nutrition, as well as perimenopausal and postmenopausal care. CNMs are also trained in newborn care and assessment, and well baby care.
Are there standards or regulations for birth centers?
Yes. The American Association of Birth Centers, as well as the American Public Health Association, have published standards for birth centers. Birth centers can be accredited on the national level by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers, and are licensed by the state of Missouri. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, among other national medical organizations, agree that a licensed and accredited birth center is a safe place for healthy women to give birth. The Birth & Wellness Center is pursuing the rigorous standards of accreditation and is on track to be the first birth center licensed in the St Louis area and the only center currently licensed in the state.
I'm an RN, Doula, etc, can I work for you?
The Birth & Wellness Center is blessed to have a great staff already in place. If you’re interested in working with us in the future, contact us with what kind of work you do, and a little about yourself.
We love doulas, and doulas are welcome at births at the center, but we don't have any on staff. The continuous support offered by a doula is provided by our midwives and birth assistants. Birth planning is part of our prenatal care, so we know the special things a mom wants during her birth, and what appeals to her for comfort. Many preferences a doula must advocate for in the hospital are policy in the birth center, like skin-to-skin contact, optimal cord clamping, mom being encouraged to eat, etc.
How can I help?
Get the word out: Besides talking about the Birth and Wellness Center to friends and relatives, you can help us present information to the public every chance we get. You can let us know if there is a group we can talk to, including women’s clubs, church groups, etc, or health/parenting fairs in your community. Also, talk to your health care provider! If you see an OB/Gyn for women’s health, ask if they’ve heard of us and let them know how excited you are for this option in our area. Ask if they have considered collaborating with us to offer such a great service to their patients. If you see a chiropractor, massage therapist, pediatrician—anyone-- ask if they’ve heard about the birth center opening, and give them our info! We have business cards and other marketing materials available, and are happy to answer questions from other providers and professionals by phone or email.
Community support: Get involved in groups like Friends of Missouri Midwives to ensure that midwives will be available to families in Missouri without unnecessary legal restriction. FoMM also has lots of opportunities for the community to learn more about midwives, birth centers, and the midwifery model of care.
Library: An enormous part of our service to women will be sharing information. We will have a library of educational and inspiring books and videos available for any woman to check out. We need lots of good resources! So clean off those dusty shelves and share with other women and families.
Partners: Another commitment that the Birth and Wellness team has made is fostering community among families and providers. Please let us know about professionals you encounter who offer services or products that are complementary to the mission and philosophy of Birth and Wellness Center.
Insurance: Call your insurance company and ask if they cover birth center birth. Many do, and we will be pursuing contracts with them. But we want everyone-including insurance companies, to be hearing the words “birth center” as often as possible! Let us know what you find out. Medicaid is required by federal law to cover midwifery care, and a bill is currently before Congress to ensure facility fees are covered by Medicaid in every state.