Midwives in demand at local Houston hospitals

HOUSTON – Sadly, more than 600 women die during childbirth every year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and they say pregnancy-related deaths are on the rise.

While birthing is natural, it is not entirely harmless, which is why Flor Moreno said it was important for her to have many options available for a healthy delivery.

Moreno wanted a natural birth but knew if something went wrong she would need a hospital immediately.

“That time lapse could really mean, I mean it is the difference between life and death sometimes,” she said.

That’s why she was delighted that Elyse Cho, a certified nurse midwife is working inside of Memorial Hermann Memorial City.

“I’m there to kind of be a guide for them to show them there are other ways to do things and not everything has to be so medicalized,” Cho said. “We do different breathing techniques and different positions, moms can get in the shower for pain control and we use essential oils.”

It's not the conventional hospital experience but Dr. Ralph DeAyala said he was the one who requested midwives.

“I just don’t see how today's busy obstetrician can make it without them,” DeAyala said.

He said patients are more frequently seeking midwifery care and as more pregnant moms venture to them, he said he’s seen complications from home births and birthing centers coming into Memorial Hermann.

“That’s not to say a home birth or birthing center birth is something people should avoid, I certainly encourage patients to do that if they're low risk patients and they desire that type of an experience. However, you have to have in the back of your mind that things can go south quickly sometimes,” DeAyala said.

Flor had a healthy delivery but she said she's glad she had options.

“My birthing plan was to not have the epidural and go as natural as possible but after I think after about 13 hours,” Moreno said. “I was able to say ‘hey I can't physically take this anymore, I need the epidural’ had I been at a birthing center I prob… well, would not have be able to do that.”

She says then she was re-energized to feel the natural birth of baby Ian.

“That relief I got in those three hours just helped me to push it through in the end,” Moreno said.

Various other hospitals such as, The Women's Specialists of Houston at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women, Ben Taub Hospital, LBJ and UTMB Galveston also have a midwife program.