A new medical facility that offers what some say is a more natural way of giving birth has just opened its doors in Corpus Christi.
They call it the Corpus Christi Birth Center, where the goal is to offer expectant mothers a way to skip the conventional hospital setting and instead offer a more relaxing birth experience for all concerned.
"We wanted a different choice vs. hospital birth, and we had our first daughter at Birth Center with a midwife," mother Michelle Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez has had five children with a midwife. She is excited to have her sixth child at the new birthing center.
"We just enjoy the experience," she said. "It's so much more personal, intimate, quiet and relaxing than the bright hospital lights."
She is not the only one who feels that way. The more natural choice of birth is gaining popularity.
"We want things to be as natural and normal as possible," said Beth Overton, Birth Center director and midwife. "That doesn't mean we resent modern medicine and the wonderful interventions that we have when we need them."
Overton has been a midwife for about 14 years. Before, she delivered babies at home, but two months ago she opened up the Birth Center, which is regulated by the state.
She said that, at their facility, they take care of a mother before and after birth. But what happens if something goes wrong during the delivery?
"If we have any complications or any concerns that the labor is not going natural, that's when we switch locations," Overton said. "We would go into the hospital, and have the baby in the hospital."
As for pain, the midwives offer alternatives to medication.
"The pain management is handled naturally, with massage-water therapy for the most part," Overton said. "Women are able to handle it just fine."
Some mothers who have had the hospital experience said they prefer the natural childbirth.
"This birth was so easy," mother Rebel Rich said. "A lot less painful than I thought it would be."
"It's birth. It's natural," Rodriguez said. "It's not an illness that needs to be treated."
If natural birth isn't the way for you, area hospitals have different options as well.
"We have patients that have birth plans, and we try to accommodate that as best we can," said Laurie Grahm, a clinical nurse at Christus Spohn South. "We have patients that are high-risk because of complications. We try to explain that to them so that they understand the care we are providing, and why we are doing what we are doing."
"Based on what the mom wants on her delivery, some people want more natural, not much intervention," said Shawna Strain of the Bay Area Medical Center. "We can offer that here. If the mother wants an epidural, we can offer that here too."
Both of these hospitals offer neonatal intensive care units for premature babies as well.
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