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News and Featured Stories - St Vincent's Medical Center
Published: 05/15/2012

First baby delivered by Midwife at St. Vincent's

The Birth Place at St. Vincent's Medical CenterThe first baby has been delivered by a midwife at St. Vincent’s Medical Center’s new Birthplace, which includes two private birth suites where mothers can labor and deliver under the guidance of a midwife. 

Although midwives deliver babies at several hospitals in the area, The Birthplace at St. Vincent’s is the only in-hospital “birthing center” in Fairfield County. The Birthplace at St. Vincent’s offers the advantage of natural, minimal intervention- delivery by a midwife to appropriate patients with the safety net of a medical center, and following birthing center protocols.

The baby, Jeremiah Alassan ,was born on April 8 at 5:59am to Sandy Cayo and Camil Alassan of Bridgeport.  The baby weighed in at 6 lbs. 13 oz, and is their first child.

“Our goal is to provide a safe, calm, home-like environment for the deliveries of essentially healthy women,” said Birthplace at St. Vincent’s Medical Director Dan Gottschall, MD. “Our mission is to respect the preferences and individual differences of mothers and families, and this opens the way for natural childbirth in Fairfield County.”

St. Vincent’s has partnered with Circle for Life Midwifery in Shelton, whose staff of two certified nurse midwives, Sarah Najamy, CNM, and Paula Cate, CNM,  have obstetrical privileges at the Medical Center.

Najamy, who   delivered Jeremiah, explains the growing popularity of the midwife experience. “Midwives offer continuous physical and emotional support during labor, and incorporate the needs of the family into the birth. This does not in any way replace the traditional hospital birth, but just provides an alternative for those who seek it.” Midwifery birth centers follow different protocols from traditional maternity care.

The midwife remains with the patient, evaluating maternal and fetal status, the progression of the delivery, and also provides immediate care for the newborn. Although Sandy Cayo sought out the midwife services late in her pregnancy, for most women the relationship builds far in advance of delivery as the midwife works with the patient throughout pregnancy, educating and instilling confidence in the naturalness of the childbirth process.

“As a nurse I trust in nurses, and I wanted to have a sense of autonomy and be in control of certain decisions,” said Cayo, 25, a registered nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital, who is also  studying  for her family nurse practitioner degree at Fairfield University,  who feared she might have to undergo a Caesarean section as so many of her friends had.  The labor passed more quickly because Sandy remained at home for most of it, with Najamy watching over her.

The new mother had no drugs, intravenous lines or stitches, and the only monitoring necessary was the Doppler of her baby’s heart rate. “I feel it is better for the baby to have natural hormones.”

Both she and the new father, 31, a 7th grade social studies teacher in Harlem, were pleased with the experience.  “We have had so much support here at St. Vincent’s but it was not invasive,” Camil said. And Sandy adds, “We would definitely engage a midwife for our next baby.”

Midwife Delivery
The concept behind midwife delivery focuses on personalized, constant one-on-one  care from a holistic perspective, starting with prenatal education, right though to labor that can include massage, whirlpool and other relaxation techniques, and a delivery with minimal intervention.  Children are welcome as the emphasis is on family-centered care. The mother’s wishes are respected as much as possible.

Patients leave a maximum of 12 hours after birth, with the midwife certified to perform well baby assessment to be followed up with a home visit, where the midwife helps the mother adjust to the home situation and prepare for future pregnancies if desired. Certified nurse midwives can also assist the mom with nutritional information and breastfeeding techniques.
Candidates for midwife delivery must be low-risk pregnancies. Prior Caesarean sections do not rule a woman out from midwife delivery.

The Birthplace at St. Vincent’s
The Birthplace at St. Vincent’s Medical Center provides patients the opportunity to pursue this alternative birth experience under the safety umbrella of St. Vincent’s Family Birthing Center. Although the final configuration is still under construction,  St. Vincent’s has currently dedicated two suites for the Birthplace program, which is part of its larger Family Birthing Center. The suites resemble bedrooms more than patient rooms with a warm décor and rich furniture, plush bed linens and an attractive privacy screen. It includes other amenities such as a common area and kitchen where mom or relative can even cook for the family.

Learn more about Midwife delivery and the Birthplace at St. Vincent's

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