Call the Midwife for Comprehensive and Compassionate Care
A childbirth experience can be just as individual as is each mother. The midwives at Virtua offer families the option of hospital deliveries, and in the spring, will be expanding to include births in a new, first-and-only freestanding birth center of its kind in Voorhees.
Midwives are health professionals that assist individuals during prenatal care, labor and birth, as well as with women’s health and wellness throughout their lifetime. Midwives often assist with births in hospitals or in specialized birth centers, while some provide services in homes.
“Many individuals who choose midwives desire physiologic, or natural, labor and birth, which emphasizes an unrushed, supported process with less-invasive monitoring,” says Virtua midwife Karen McEvoy Shields. “Midwifery focuses on the whole person. Pregnancy, labor and birth are seen as normal life processes rather than conditions to be managed.”
Advantages of Natural Birth
Those that prefer physiologic childbirth often attend classes to learn what to expect and how to be prepared, such as learning breathing and relaxation techniques. Classes also teach birth partners how to use comfort measures to provide support in labor and birth.
“Women give birth spontaneously without an epidural or other obstetric intervention unless it’s medically necessary,” says McEvoy Shields. “This approach is based on trusting your body, and your baby’s ability, to labor and birth using its innate power.”
According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, physiologic births reduce cesarean deliveries (commonly known as C-sections), episiotomies and related surgical complications; increase the likelihood of breastfeeding; and improve both maternal-infant attachment and the birth experience through access to supportive care and shared decision-making.
The Other Roles of Midwives
Midwives emphasize wellness and shared decision-making, empowering individuals to partner in their health and wellness care. In addition to “catching” babies, midwives provide many of the same services as an obstetrician/gynecologist, including routine women’s health care, including annual gynecologic and breast exams, screenings and treatments; family planning and preconception care; prenatal care and screenings; education about pregnancy, childbirth and newborn care; monitoring your physical and psychological health; advising about diet, exercise, medications and staying healthy; and menopause and perimenopause support and symptom management, including natural options.
“We’re passionate about putting moms and babies first, providing individuals with the birth experience and wellness care they desire,” says McEvoy Shields.
Virtua Midwifery Birth & Wellness Center
The Virtua Midwifery Birth & Wellness Center, a midwifery-led, family-focused birth center which will be unique to southern New Jersey and located near the Virtua Voorhees Hospital, will offer home-like labor and birthing suites, which support the birthing option of natural and physiologic birth, including water birth, the ability to move freely in labor and a private patio for relaxing in an outdoor space. The center also features a kitchen, comfortable lounge and sibling play area to keep families together as they await the birth of their little one.
Additionally, this location will serve as a practice location for Virtua Midwifery, a midwifery-led practice which along with pregnancy and birth care offers routine gynecological and wellness care for individuals of all ages.
For more information about birth options provided at Virtua, visit Virtua.org/WeDeliver.