Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Care
Pregnancy and Prenatal Care
Prenatal care is a collaboration between you and your midwives. As midwives we contribute our professional expertise and experience, while you contribute important information about your body, your feelings, and your beliefs. We want to get to know you well so we can personalize your care to meet your specific prenatal care needs and desires to ensure a happy, healthy pregnancy. You will meet with all three midwives during your prenatal care, and each visit will be long enough to discuss many issues and answer all of your pregnancy questions. You will never feel rushed through your appointment!
Each prenatal visit will include all the medical care necessary to ensure that you and your baby are healthy. Together we will decide which of the many tests available are appropriate for you. Blood can be drawn here at the office, and sonograms are done at a local radiology center.
Each prenatal care visit with us will also include education about the issues relevant to your pregnancy, including nutrition, exercise, and common discomforts. Our Shop at Full Circle specializes in products and remedies that are safe and helpful during pregnancy and breastfeeding. We will offer recommendations for books, magazines, articles, and websites, and also have a large lending library for you to borrow resources. We have a network of trusted professionals in related fields that we refer to regularly; see our Friends of Our Practice page for more information.
Births are at Phelps Memorial Hospital, a family-oriented community hospital in Sleepy Hollow, NY. Phelps has more midwives than any other local hospital, so they are familiar and comfortable with our style of care. Phelps has the distinction of having the lowest cesarean rate in Westchester County, and is one of only two hospitals offering water births.
A midwife will be available throughout your labor to keep you and the baby safe, and provide support in whatever way feels best for you. We welcome any supportive people you choose to bring, whether they are family, friend, or doula. We will encourage you to be up and around as much as possible, and to eat and drink. You may have the goal of laboring without any pain medication; if so we will do our best to help you with many time-honored comfort measures, including massage, shower, and hydrotherapy tub. You an also arrange for the Phelps acupuncturist to assist you in labor; many women have found this to be very effective. Should you choose it, pain relief is available through IV medication and epidural.
You are free to choose any position for birthing (except flat on your back in stirrups). You may choose the bed, the birthing stool, the floor, or the birthing tub; you can sit, squat, be on your side or on all fours. As long as it’s safe for you and your baby, we will let you find what feels best. We will work together to decrease the chance of tearing. Perineal support, arnica massage oil, and a slow, gentle birth will help your tissues to stretch. Episiotomy is very rarely needed – our rate is under five percent.
We have access to the best that medical technology has to offer, however we strive to use it wisely – only when there is clear benefit. You will always be a part of all decisions about your care. If you end up needing a cesarean delivery, it will be a joint decision between you, the midwife, and the doctor – and only after pursuing all other reasonable options. You will agree that it is necessary and understand why. Your midwife will be the surgeon’s assistant and will be with you at all times. Immediately afterwards, the midwife will resume full responsibility for your postpartum and post-operative care. Full Circle Women’s Health has a cesarean rate of about 15%, half of the national average.
Your postpartum stay will be typically 24-48 hours after birth, and 3-4 days following a cesarean delivery. Phelps has a 24-hour rooming-in with your baby policy, and liberal visiting hours that include the newborn’s siblings. Breastfeeding is strongly encouraged, and lactation consultants are on staff to assist you. A midwife will visit you every day to provide postpartum care and support.
After you return home with your new baby, your midwives continue to be available to answer questions and provide support by phone. Routine postpartum care appointments occur at one and six weeks. We offer many support groups, classes, and supplies for mom and baby, so we expect that you will return often. Please come in to say hello, get a hug, and show us your growing baby whenever you are in the neighborhood!