The best of both worlds: Midwives in the hospital

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Having a baby is such an exciting time for new parents, but it also comes with a lot of decisions. One of those decisions is the delivery plan.

There are many options for patients, but midwifery is becoming more common. Less drugs and more personalized care are just a few of the reasons women choose to use midwives for their pre-natal appointments and delivery. However, there are different types of midwives and now more women can choose one that helps deliver at a hospital.

"The word midwife means 'with woman', and I take that to heart," says certified nurse midwife Elyse Cho. "I want to be really available to my patients."

From birth and delivery all the way to menopausal care, midwives provide a wide range of primary care to their female patients. But not all midwives provide the same services.

There are lay midwives with some training. There are certified professional midwives with more extensive training, and then there are certified nurse midwives, like Cho.

She recently teamed up with an OB/GYN practice to become the first midwife at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center. She combines hospital privileges with the personal touch of a midwife.

"It didn't take long for me to see the value in that. Patients were happier. Problems, which to tend to arise, we were always there to manage them, and it was a good collaborative way to practice obstetrics," explains Dr. Rafael DeAyala, an OB/GYN affiliated with Memorial Hermann Memorial City.

Soon after Cho joined Dr. DeAyala, she was there to help Jessica Page, who planned to deliver her son - outside of the hospital.

"I really wanted the fewest amount of medical interventions possible," says Page.

But after several hours, she wasn't progressing.

"I was really exhausted, I was nauseated... I opted to be transferred to the hospital," she recalls.

Dr. DeAyala got the call, and he and Cho were there for her.

"She got her epidural on arrival, she was much more comfortable after that," says Dr. DeAyala.

Then, Cho gave Page that midwife care she needed.

"I like to be with them the entire time they are laboring, and when they are pushing and the delivery, so they feel like they have someone there that they can count on," says Cho.

Soon after, Page gave birth to her son, Nathan. Though it wasn't as she had planned, she credits her happy, healthy boy with this combination of hospital services with midwifery.

"Some people want to have a natural birth, some want the comfort of being in a hospital if something were to happen," says Page.

Memorial Hermann hopes several more midwives will become affiliated with the hospital over the next year. Other area hospitals also offer midwives.

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