The Healthy Beginnings Midwifery Service began providing care to childbearing women in 1995. Prenatal care is provided at one of our three offices with births occurring in the Labor and Delivery unit at Providence St. Mary Medical Center.
The hallmarks of nurse-midwifery care are continuity and teaching women to be self reliant, to trust their own bodies in delivering healthy babies naturally. About 95 percent of all women in the midwifery service deliver vaginally. Only five percent of our patients require a primary cesarean section for pregnancy or birth complications.
We believe in supporting your choices regarding your health care, including your choice of pain medication during birth. On average, 25 percent of our mothers choose to deliver with an epidural.
We promote, support and protect breastfeeding as the preferred method of infant feeding for the first six months of life. Immediately after delivery, your baby will be placed directly on your skin. This promotes an easy transition for your baby into life and helps to regulate your baby's temperature, heart rate and breathing. It also provides an early start for feeding.
- Prenatal care
- Prenatal testing
- Nutrition information
- Prenatal and parenting education
- Health insurance enrollment
If you are a patient with a question for a nurse-midwife please send us an email.
Moms who begin prenatal care during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy often have healthier babies. As soon as you suspect you are pregnant, schedule an appointment to come see us. If you haven't already started taking prenatal vitamins, begin now. Any over-the-counter prenatal vitamin will work as long as it includes 0.4 mg Folic acid.
Once you begin your prenatal care, your appointments will be once a month until 28 weeks of your pregnancy; twice a month from 28 to 36 weeks; and weekly from 36 weeks until delivery.
During each appointment, we will monitor your weight gain; check your urine for signs of high blood pressure, diabetes or infection; evaluate how your baby is growing; listen to your baby's heart beat; and answer any questions you may have regarding pregnancy or delivery. For each appointment, you should plan to be with us for at least 30 minutes; except your first appointment will take longer.
Ultrasounds are ordered as medically indicated during your pregnancy. If you do not have any complications during your pregnancy, one or two ultrasounds will be completed to assess the development of the pregnancy and your baby.
Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) welcome your questions and take time to listen to you and talk with you. Please feel free to write down your questions and bring them with you. Family members – including your other children – are welcome to come to your appointments with you.
Nurse-Midwives are nurses – most often with labor and delivery experience who have received on average two years of additional education to care for women. Our Nurse-Midwives care for women during pregnancy, during delivery and for the first eight weeks following delivery. All of the Nurse-Midwives at Providence St. Mary have a master's level education as well as a current license from the state of California to practice midwifery.
If there is a complication or concern during your pregnancy, the Nurse-Midwife will consult with one of our backup physicians. Our physicians have supported the Nurse-Midwives for several years and have active privileges to deliver babies at Providence St. Mary, if necessary. Even if you do not see one of our distinguished physicians, they are always aware of your progress during pregnancy and delivery.
If you are pregnant, our staff will review your medical history to determine program eligibility.
Most women qualify for care by our Nurse-Midwives. Chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, insulin dependent diabetes or a pre-existing seizure disorder, require physician care during pregnancy.
Our program accepts most insurances. We also care for patients without insurance and will assist you with health insurance enrollment, if necessary.