OU Physicians- Tulsa Nurse Midwife Discusses Birth Options in Tulsa

Birthing in the 21st century is so full of options for women that it can be daunting to prepare for the event. The process has gone through many changes over the years, from a time when there were almost no choices, to now, with almost unlimited possibilities.

Here in Tulsa, today’s mom-to-be can deliver at home, a birthing center or in one of several hospitals. The prevalence of female obstetricians is greater now than ever before, and nurse-midwives are as well known here as they are on the east and west coasts. Once thought to attend only home births, the contemporary nurse-midwife can be found both in low risk and high risk medical centers. Nurse-midwives offer family centered care for those seeking an unmedicated birth or women hoping for all the epidural relief they can get.

The best birth is one viewed as a normal process, with an eye for sudden turns that can happen even in the lowest risk labor. Birthing methods have changed through the years; most recently, the Natural Birth Movement brought childbirth education, revolutionizing women’s involvement in their deliveries. The pregnant patient of today is usually an educated consumer with specific requirements for her health care, informed about finding the most suitable site and best providers. The beauty of prenatal and birth care today is that most every woman has a choice in finding the right setting for her.

The Internet provides many resources to guide women through decisions, but some want a more personal touch. Finding a provider willing to answer questions and explain what is happening to them is of paramount importance to most women. I tell expectant mothers that that if their provider says “don’t you worry about that,” run away! As an advocate for the nurse-midwifery approach to incorporating women into pregnancy decisions, I encourage seeking out a nurse-midwife. However, I have worked with many wonderful obstetricians who share similar ideals and want their patients to be well informed and completely on board with their plan of care.

Typically, university settings for prenatal care promote these kinds of perspectives. The physicians and nurse-midwives are geared for education. They’re current on the latest in medical practices. They serve a diverse population of women and are well acquainted with most unique desires women have for the birth experience.

I encourage women to find providers willing to help create the birth experience they seek.  Important concerns revolve around episiotomies, caesarian sections, access to epidurals, and whether the provider allows labor after a caesarian section. This last intention is best met by providers who work in hospitals offering 24-hour anesthesia and OB services. This increases the safety factor for all deliveries, but especially for women who want vaginal birth after having had a caesarian section.

Even women with high risk pregnancies may want a low-intervention birth as far as possible, so having a confident attending physician who knows positive outcomes can happen even in risky situations is a bonus. While a hands-off approach may be the ultimate goal, having physicians in the patient’s chosen OB group present 24/7 is a tremendous reassurance.

An atmosphere that allows for maximum parental involvement is crucial in ensuring a better birth. Physicians comfortable with having fathers cut their baby’s umbilical cord if they so choose, allowing siblings to be present for the birth and promoting prolonged bonding times with newborns are preferred by the majority of today’s moms- to- be. After waiting long months for their treasure to arrive, most women aren’t keen on having their babies whisked away moments after arrival. I recommend hospitals that make the effort to be ‘baby friendly” and providers who work at such hospitals.

In Tulsa, OU Physicians has integrated a nurse-midwife program at the Peggy V. Helmerich Women’s Health Center at Hillcrest, as well as taking care of patients during and after pregnancy at OU Physicians Women’s Health Care Specialists. The OU Perinatal Center on the OU Schusterman campus is available for high risk consultations with perinatologists (Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialists) and to perform and supervise all ultrasounds. Most every woman wishes to see her baby before it is born. Having a state of the art ultrasound performed by specialists certified by the American Institute of Ultrasound Medicine (AIUM) is important not only for bonding with your soon- to- be newborn, but to give every reassurance of the safest, most complete evaluation possible.

Women seeking a natural birth, birth with an epidural, low- risk or high-risk births can receive prenatal care and delivery with physicians, nurse-midwives and perinatologists at the OU Schusterman Clinic, then deliver at  Hillcrest Medical Center.  Hillcrest supports the OU program with advanced facilities and a sympathetic, engaged nursing staff.

A better birth is obtainable and desirable for so many reasons. Taking the time to investigate how to achieve one is well worth the time and effort.

Categories: Word on the Street