Thursday, July 17, 2008

Midwives Return to Austin Hospitals

Having spent most of my life in the area, I'm always delighted to hear news of progress in the birthing climate of Austin, Texas. You can read the full article HERE. But, in a nutshell:

Groups of Austin midwives practiced with physicians at Seton Medical Center and University Medical Center at Brackenridge until 2002. A doctors group canceled the program at Seton, and University Medical Center closed its program at that time. Both hospitals said the programs were money losers. (Emphasis mine)

These hospitals, among others around the country, closed midwifery programs due to "potential lawsuits" and "high medical malpractice premiums."

The article goes on to share the good news. Dr. Charles Brown, who leads University Medical Center's residency program in obstetrics and gynecology, took on four midwives in the last few years. Furthermore, Dr. Christina Sebestyen and Dr. Andrea Campaigne, of St. David's North Austin Medical Center, have pulled in another three midwives to begin working with their practice.

"At North Austin, the supervising doctor won't need to be at the hospital for the delivery as long as the physician can get there in 30 minutes should problems arise," said Dr. Ken Mitchell, chief medical officer for the hospital.

To make this decision, it says they reviewed "scientific studies showing that midwife deliveries are as safe and healthy for mothers and babies as low-risk deliveries by physicians are."

Sounds reasonable. It's just one of the reasons I chose to birth out-of-hospital with an attentive, well-experienced midwife--less than 10 minutes from a hospital. Midwives can handle far more than most are aware of IF the need arises. Good for North Austin for taking the time to review some scientific studies. Need I say that I wish more OB/GYN practices would practice evidence-based medicine?

Sebestyen trained at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, where she worked with midwives. She had a midwife deliver her son 2 1/2 years ago.

"Most midwives would say I'm a midwife in doctors' clothes," says Dr. Sebestyen.

And that, dear reader, is the only type of OB/GYN I would consider allowing near me while I'm in a healthy, low-risk pregnancy and delivery. It changes birth from a money-making, high maintenance, emergency (did I say money-making?) event to something far more natural, normal and peaceful. How wonderful for the mothers of Austin (who choose to birth in the hospital) to at least have a new option of working with a midwife throughout their pregnancies and during labor and delivery. Congrats y'all!

And thank you to my sister-in-law, Laura, for forwarding this new article to me. P.S. Is this a hint??? :)

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