While the fundamentals of the act of giving birth haven’t changed for thousands of years there have been many changes over the past couple decades which have made the process safer, less clinical and more rewarding for Mom and Dad. Physicians for Women and the Madison Midwives first job is ensuring the safety of Mom and Baby. They have been able to do this while also making the birth a great experience for Mom (and Dad). Dr. Cardwell of Physicians for Women tells his patients that his goal for them is to make sure the day they give birth is the greatest day of their lives… and it usually is!
Hospital births take place in suites that look like hotel rooms. Unity Point Health – Meriter has beautiful newly remodeled birth suites. And behind the nice cabinetry is all the lifesaving technology that is sometimes needed to provide a safe birth for Mom and baby. All of the birth rooms have large whirlpool baths which are a fabulous comfort measure during labor. Some of the suites at Unity Point Health – Meriter are also equipped with actual water birth tubs!
In years past hospital births were very cold and clinical. Not anymore! At Physicians for Women both Mom and Dad often take part in the birth, even assisting in the actual delivery. It used to be that babies would be separated from Mom at birth. But now most often babies go right from the birth canal onto Mom’s chest. Delayed cord clamping, waiting several minutes until the umbilical cord stops pulsing, is a common practice. In a change called the “Gentle Cesarean”, pioneered by their practice at Unity Point Health – Meriter, the baby goes directly from the womb to Mom’s arms so that she can hold and bond with her baby even as the surgery is completed.
Women are very well informed these days about options for prenatal care and delivery. Probably the biggest change over the past several years is the move to a more collaborative relationship between Doctor or Midwife and patient. There are a lot of ‘right choices’ during pregnancy care and childbirth. Physicians for Women helps their patients find their own ‘right’ choices. As providers they give their patients their best advice and trust them to be partners in decision making.
The technology of the actual birth hasn’t changed much for many years, but amazing new technology is revolutionizing prenatal diagnosis and testing. For many years amniocentesis was the only testing option for the diagnosis of genetic abnormalities. It is still the gold standard, but new screening methods have dramatically reduced the need to perform an amniocentesis.
Amniocentesis used to be offered to women over 35 as a first line test. The procedure does carry some risk of pregnancy loss. The First Trimester Screen, which is a combination of a measurement of several pregnancy-produced proteins in Mom’s blood and a specialized ultrasound, is 96% accurate in detecting the most common chromosomal problems at no risk to the pregnancy. The test can be done as early as 12 weeks!
An even newer test is able to detect fetal DNA in Mom’s circulation (more proof that Mom’s do have special insights and intuition about their kids) as early as 10 weeks of pregnancy. This test is 99% accurate. It tests for the most common chromosomal abnormalities. It also tests for the sex chromosomes, although it is not used just for that reason.
It is now possible to screen for genetic abnormalities prior to pregnancy. We all carry our own individual, distinctive DNA. Each of us has many gene mutations or mistakes. Since we each have two sets of chromosomes the mutations aren’t usually an issue for us. They can be an issue in our offspring, depending on the particular mutations that our partner carries. It is possible now to test a couple to see whether they are at risk of passing two bad copies of a gene to their child. Hundreds of genetic conditions can be tested for with these tests. For couples with known increased risk, these tests are a great options. The cost of the testing has become very reasonable so that even couples without any known risk can opt for the security of the test.
This sponsored post was provided to us by Dr. Cardwell from Physicians for Women in Madison!