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Health hotline to focus on pregnancy issues

Published: Saturday, May 8 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

Midwife Angela Anderson of Intermountain Medical Center will answer questions today.

Mike Terry, Deseret News

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If your mental image of a midwife is the woman who rides a horse through snow at midnight to reach a distant cabin, professionals at Intermountain Medical Center have news for you.

Certified nurse-midwives in the 21st century are trained medical professionals who deliver babies in hospitals and provide the kind of "high-tech, high-touch" experience that focuses on women's concerns about how the birth process will play out for them.

Questions about issues women should be aware of before and during pregnancy will be answered today from 10 a.m. to noon during the monthly Deseret News/Intermountain Healthcare Hotline. Angela Anderson and Angel Murdock, both certified nurse-midwives at Intermountain Medical Center, will answer calls.

From the Salt Lake area, call 801-236-6061. Elsewhere, the toll-free number is 1-800-925-8177.

Anderson said the midwifery model of care is about "listening to your concerns and choices, but we will also give advice. In the end, it's your decision with the choices you make in your care. We set up our practice so we can give bedside labor support, and there are nine of us so we can be at the bedside all night."

She said midwives function as a combination of "dula and doctor," doing some of the coaching during labor and attending the birth.

"A lot of supporting someone in labor is buying time and letting their body do the process," she said.

Even women with high-risk pregnancies can choose to work with the two, whose practice includes the services of high-risk obstetricians who serve as backup during the pregnancy, labor and delivery process.

"In case of a possible C-section, we call for backup," and the babies are delivered by obstetricians, she said, noting there are "very few vaginal breach births being done at this point in the U.S." As the physician does the surgery, the midwife remains to support the patient and helps her initiate breastfeeding after delivery, Anderson said.

She said IMC's rate of C-section has been about 6 percent for some time — much lower than the national rate of 30 percent. "Our rate is very low without any untoward outcomes; we have healthy moms and babies on the other end" without sacrificing safety for mother or baby, she said.

The hospital also has a lower-cost program that targets those who are considered high-risk pregnancies, including Hispanic immigrants who don't have insurance. "Many of them have had C-section births in other countries. We give them the option of vaginal birth and try to avoid that repeat surgery with its risks to mom and baby."

Anderson said the midwives in her practice work with women who are obese or overweight because such women have more C-section births and can incur many more complications.

Excess weight may also be risky for the baby, she said, noting recent research that examines how a woman's nutrition could impact her child later in life.

"If you end up being diabetic or gestational diabetic, you may end up with the baby being heavier throughout life. That means an impact on cardiovascular health later on and may have some far-reaching implications for our population down the road."

Healthcare Hotline

Issues women should be aware of before and during pregnancy is the topic of Saturday's Deseret News/Intermountain Healthcare Hotline. From 10 a.m. to noon, Angela Anderson and Angel Murdock, both certified nurse-midwives at Intermountain Medical Center, will answer questions from callers. From the Salt Lake area, call 801-236-6061. Elsewhere, the toll-free number is 1-800-925-8177, only operational during hotline hours.Call free hotline today

Issues women should be aware of before and during pregnancy is the topic of today's Deseret News/Intermountain Healthcare Hotline. From 10 a.m. to noon, Angela Anderson and Angel Murdock, both certified nurse-midwives at Intermountain Medical Center, will answer questions from callers. From the Salt Lake area, call 801-236-6061. Elsewhere, the toll-free number is 1-800-925-8177, only operational during hotline hours.

e-mail: carrie@desnews.com

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