Childbirth is hard work so it’s rather fitting that on Labor Day, ten years ago, Valley Medical Center’s Midwives Clinic first opened its doors, joining the hospital’s array of existing obstetric services in a new childbirth center. In its first decade, the Clinic delivered nearly 4,000 babies, and helped thousands of women with midwifery care during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum, as well as with routine gynecological and women’s healthcare needs, and contraception options including IUDs and implants.
Valley employs six Certified Nurse Midwives, each of whom meet with all patients during their pregnancies, allowing the patients to get to know the midwife who will be with her during labor. Valley’s midwives pride themselves on their education focus, providing their patients with thorough prenatal and post-pregnancy health information. Their professional credentials allow them to recommend advanced diagnostic services like ultrasound and genetic screening and provide the full spectrum of pain management options to mothers during labor and childbirth. The midwives work closely with board certified OBGYNs who are available as necessary throughout pregnancy and birth.
Valley’s hospital district serves a culturally and economically diverse population, with patients from multiple countries and backgrounds. Valley Midwives welcome the opportunity to learn about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum practices of different cultures, and provide their patients the information women need to make medical decisions. In addition to providing interpreter services so that patients and providers can communicate effectively, the practice includes a full-time social worker to help connect patients to resources. Laura Denman, CNM, ARNP says, “I can’t explain how satisfying it is to, in a typical clinic day, see women from several different countries, who do not have English as a first language and perhaps have experienced childbirth within a culture and place very different from Renton, Washington. I often feel I have learned as much from them as they have from me.”
In 2015, Valley Midwives delivered 424 babies, with a total cesarean section rate of 10 percent. In addition to the Midwives Clinic, Valley’s state-of-the-art Birth Center offers Level III NICU, onsite lactation specialists, parenting classes, prenatal aquatherapy, and support groups for new families. For more information about having a baby at Valley, visit valleymed.org/birth. For more on Valley Medical Center’s Midwives Clinic, visit valleymed.org/midwives.
Image: One of Valley Medical Center’s private birthing suites.