FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS A BIRTH CENTER?
The American Association of Birth Centers defines a birth center as a home-like setting where care providers, usually midwives, provide family-centered care to healthy pregnant women. Holy Family is well-known by midwives across the country and is the oldest free-standing birth center in Texas! It is also the only birth center in the Rio Grande Valley operated solely by Certified Nurse-Midwives.
Birth centers are for healthy, low-risk pregnant women and their babies. Holy Family strives to provide evidence-based prenatal care and education that helps families achieve optimal wellness and avoid unnecessary risk in pregnancy. Thorough prenatal screening and tests are utilized to ensure any problems are caught early. Many of these problems can be managed by the Nurse-Midwives individually or in collaboration with an OB/GYN. However, any pregnancy determined to be high-risk must be transferred/referred to a physician or hospital with more extensive resources, for the protection and safety of both mom and baby.
Birth Centers provide personalized, family-centered care during pregnancy, labor, and birth. We will get to know you and your family throughout your pregnancy. You will receive continuous, one-on-one support throughout active labor and the early postpartum period by at least one CNM and RN. In addition, you will receive 2 postpartum visits in your home for follow-up care for both mom and baby.
WHAT IS A CERTIFIED NURSE-MIDWIFE?
There are different types of midwives practicing in the United States. Here at Holy Family, we are Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM). This means we are registered nurses with graduate education (Masters degrees) in midwifery. We have graduated from accredited nurse-midwifery programs which include a university degree and hands-on clinical training. We have also passed the required national certification exams and maintain current evidence-based practice standards through continuing education.
CNMs are independent health care providers, but work closely with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to provide high quality care. Here at Holy Family, we partner with local midwife-friendly OB/GYNs, pediatricians, doulas, and hospitals to provide your family with the best care.
CNMs are able to prescribe a full range of medications, substances, and treatments. Here at Holy Family, we are authorized to prescribe medications needed for general pregnancy discomforts, infections, and various medical conditions. When needed, we consult with one of our physician partners for treatment advice/considerations.
CNMs focus not only on maternity care (pregnancy, birth, and postpartum) but also provide general women’s health care to women of all ages and stages of life. This includes general check-ups and physical exams, annual gynecologic exams, family planning needs, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections. We provide all of these services at Holy Family.
IS A MIDWIFE RIGHT FOR ME?
As you think about your options for pregnancy and birth, take the time to learn about your choices. What do you want most out of your experience? What do you value?
When seeking a provider for your healthcare needs, it’s important to understand how different kinds of providers have a different approach to care. In our society, many services are offered as one-size-fits-all. Choosing a midwife offers you a chance for expert, personalized care based on research and evidence. Here at Holy Family we use our education and experience to customize your care based on current evidence, while taking your personal preferences and healthcare needs into consideration. We educate and work with you to make important, informed decisions. A woman’s right to be the decision-maker about the circumstances of her birth is fully respected here at Holy Family.
Midwifery care supports pregnancy and birth as a normal, physiologic process. The midwives at Holy Family work closely to support, encourage, and empower women to achieve their desired pregnancy and birth experience with minimal intervention, unless medically necessary.
CAN I TRANSFER CARE TO HOLY FAMILY LATER IN MY PREGNANCY?
Yes, however, the sooner you transfer, the better we can get to know you and your family! Acceptance of transfer is evaluated on an individual basis and will largely depend on your medical history and if you have been receiving prenatal care elsewhere. If you think you would like to transfer your care to Holy Family, we recommend that you call the office to set up an orientation and a chance to ask any further questions you may have. After we have completed an orientation and have determined you are an appropriate candidate for out of hospital birth, you will be scheduled for your first appointment. If you are transferring care we will need to have a copy of your medical records (ultrasounds, blood work, and office notes) from your current health care provider.
HOW DO I PAY FOR SERVICES?