A place for giving birth with less medical intervention

photo by: LHM Health

The low-intervention birthing suite at LMH Health is designed to look less like a hospital room and to allow women to move around freely during labor.

Pregnant women who want to deliver their babies with less medical intervention but still want to be in the safety of a hospital setting have an option available at LMH Health — the low-intervention birthing suite.

“We recognized a need in the community,” said Lara Rivera, a certified nurse midwife with Lawrence OB-GYN Specialists. “This suite gives women the opportunity to have the low-intervention birth experience they want with the safety net of a hospital in the background.”

The low-intervention suite offers a comfortable setting for labor and birth. It is larger than the other rooms, providing more room to move around and ample space for a birthing chair, which encourages upright positioning and mobility during labor. Like all of the birthing suites at LMH Health, there is a Jacuzzi tub to provide comfort to patients in labor.

LMH Health is able to provide the birthing suite thanks to the support and generosity of donors to the LMH Health Foundation. Donor funds supported the purchase of new linens, a refrigerator, lighting and other necessities to make the suite feel more like home than like a hospital room.

What low-intervention looks like

Having the birth experience that you want is important, whether that’s continuous fetal monitoring and an epidural or a more natural path.

“A number of women want to experience a natural childbirth,” said Natalie Gepford, a certified nurse midwife with Lawrence OB-GYN Specialists. “A low-intervention birth provides the opportunity for women who are low-risk to move around as much as they’d like during labor, have less frequent fetal monitoring and give birth without pain medication.”

Maintaining a sense of control was important for Kelsey Kayser, and that’s one of the reasons she opted to have low-intervention births at LMH Health.

“I wanted to feel in control as much as I could and feel what was going on with my body,” she said. “I felt like having an epidural would put me in a position that would increase my risk of having more intervention, even leading to a C-section if I couldn’t feel how I was pushing.”

Donor funds were also able to provide an upgraded wireless fetal monitoring system to help ensure that babies are doing OK during contractions. The monitors are also able to go underwater, providing the opportunity for women who want to labor in a bathtub to do so while staff is able to safely oversee their progression.

Kayser used the wireless monitoring during labor for both of her children. She wore it while walking the hallways in the Family Birthing Center during both experiences and was able to sit in the Jacuzzi during labor with her son, Tace.

“Being able to get up and be more mobile during the whole experience was great,” she said. “When I was preparing for labor, I learned how important it was to move around and be able to change positions. I was able to do that, walk around in the hallway, use the birthing tub — it was amazing.”

Safety first

Some people choose to have low-intervention births and don’t experience any problems, including those who choose to deliver at home. But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recognizes that planned home births are associated with a higher risk of infant death, seizures and serious neurological disorders. Having access to immediate medical care in case of an emergency is one advantage of having a low-intervention delivery at LMH Health.

“We have the best of both worlds at the hospital. We’re able to provide low-intervention care and also provide that emergency care, if needed,” said Cindy Weidl, director of maternal child services at LMH Health. “When there are problems with a home birth, there can be critical time lost getting to the hospital but if you’re here, those go more smoothly and faster, making it safer for both baby and mom.”

Supporting choice

Moriah Miller wanted to have non-medicated labor and delivery experiences for both of her pregnancies. For that, she turned to Rivera and the midwives at Lawrence OB-GYN Specialists.

“Midwives care for low-risk, healthy pregnancies,” Rivera said. “We have many tools that help women achieve an unmedicated labor, including intermittent fetal monitoring, wireless monitoring and hydrotherapy. Women may use a birthing ball, squat bar or a birthing chair for optimal positioning in labor. Many women prefer oral hydration rather than IV fluids in labor. We support you in having the labor and birth that you want.”

That support was key for Miller. The team delayed clamping the umbilical cord, which allows more blood from the placenta to go into the baby’s circulation. She was able to have skin-to-skin time immediately following the birth of her daughter, Elaina, and felt supported through the whole experience.

“I sing it from the rooftops,” Miller said. “When I said that I wanted an unmedicated birth, everyone at LMH Health was very supportive and encouraging. They were so good about asking me what it was that I wanted to experience.”

— Autumn Bishop is the marketing manager and content strategist at LMH Health, which is a major sponsor of the Journal-World’s Health section.


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