New beginnings are common for the birthing pros at Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center, 6900 N. Durango Drive.
Business got a new outlook in May when midwifery was added to the hospital's women's services cavalry. Midwifery is a centuries-old practice led by a midwife, who guides a mother or couple through labor and delivery per their birth plan.
The midwife also delivers the baby, barring medical complications.
In a hospital setting, the midwife also serves as a liaison to other obstetrical professionals, who are on call in the event that something goes medically awry.
On the program's introduction day at Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center, three babies were born via midwives, said Lize MacDonald , director of Women's Health at the medical center.
Midwifery now accounts for about 20 percent of births at Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center, and the facility is the third hospital in town that has licensed, independent midwife practitioners, MacDonald said.
"We recognized there was a demand out there," she said. "There are quite a few patients in town that choose to deliver at home with a midwife service. We felt we should offer a safer service. The time was right for us to offer the midwives to deliver in the hospital."
Three licensed, independent midwives are staffed with the women's services department. They often serve as primary care givers during pregnancy, build a birth plan and assist with labor with the family, said Charlene Hanna-Manfull, a certified nurse midwife.
In sum, the midwife gives one-on-one attention to the family until the baby is in its mother's arms.
"It's all about the patient," MacDonald said. "Sometimes when you go to the hospital, you almost give up ownership of your body, and that's sad. We really try to provide a family-centered care."
Midwives stand by the wishes of the family, Hanna-Manfull said. Many mothers choose to forgo pain medication when they have a midwife by their side, she added.
"One of the hallmarks of midwifery is to have a lower amount of intervention while keeping them safe," Hanna-Manfull said.
On July 19, two Centennial Hills mothers delivered sons and chose midwifery at Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center to welcome them to the world.
Nicole, who declined to give her last name, labored for eight hours with Hanna-Manfull before delivering baby Davi. He was her third child, and she decided to try a new birthing route.
"With my last two experiences, it tended you would be switched around (doctors)," she said. "I am a private person, so I like to see one doctor throughout the experience."
New parents Jason and Carolina, who also opted to withhold their last name, welcomed their first child in a relatively speedy four-hour labor. The baby boy arrived soon after his parents set their bags down in the birthing room.
"(Hanna-Manfull) was here for 10 minutes before Carolina delivered," Jason said.
Carolina said a natural, vaginal birth was important to her. The couple researched their options, and midwifery suited them because "this is the way it has been done for thousands of years," Jason said.
"It's unfortunate that a lot of moms don't know about midwives," Carolina said. "It seems like they're overshadowed by things that are becoming the norm, like Caesarean sections and epidurals."
Jason said he and his wife were comforted by Hanna-Manfull's full committal to their wishes.
"She was immediately on the same page with everything we had set up," she said. "That was all it took."
For more information, visit centennialhillshospital.com/hospital-services/womens-services/midwifery or call 835-9700.
Contact Centennial and Paradise View reporter Maggie Lillis at email@example.com or 477-3839.