Marilyn Faber, RN, Leslie Pavel, RN, Dan Gottschall, MD, Sarah Najamy, CNM, Melissa Melendez, RN, Bill Cusick, MD, Caren Chiarelli, RN, and Eileen Green, RN, pose for a photo as the ribbon is cut to officially open the new Birthplace at St. Vincent’s. (contributed photo)
Bridgeport, CT - On December 10th, St. Vincent’s Medical Center officially opened its new midwifery suite, the Birthplace at St. Vincent’s located on level 5. 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.
Staff members gathered in the new suite to explore the homelike rooms. Two bedroom suites with Jacuzzi tubs and queen sized beds, a family room with a TV and full kitchen area. Some of Certified Nurse Midwife Sara Najamy’s expecting moms also came to get a glimpse of where their babies will be born.
CEO of St. Vincent’s Health Services Susan Davis, EdD, RN said the “space is awesome and creating something like this is no easy task. A project like this takes a champion like Sarah. This is a life experience and women want options.” President Dr. Stuart Marcus also remarked on the incredible area and added “May all babies be delivered here safely and happily and congratulations to the nursing staff who believed the birthing experience could be different.”
“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.”
Deacon Paul Jennings blesses one of the new suites in the newly opened Birthplace at St. Vincent’s (contributed photo)
St. Vincent’s has partnered with Circle for Life Midwifery in Shelton and certified nurse midwife, Sarah Najamy, CNM, has obstetrical privileges at the Medical Center. Najamy 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.
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.