A More Natural Birthing Experience for Women Needing C-Section

Local Midwife and Obstetricians Recognize Need For More Natural Birthing Experience for Women Needing C-Section—Inspires Change in Local Hospital

Meriter – UnityPoint Health to offer New Family-Centered Birthing Experience                                              in C-Section Operating Rooms

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With one-third of all babies born via cesarean-section (C-section) each year, physicians and hospitals across the country are exploring new opportunities to give mothers the best possible experience and great outcomes. Locally, the partners of Physicians for Women-Melius, Schurr, Cardwell and Raichle have been collaborating with Christine Kern-Steffen, Certified Nurse Midwife at The Madison Midwives and have started working towards new options for women in Southern Wisconsin.

In September, 2014 Christine Kern-Steffen, Certified Nurse Midwife, partnered with Physicians for Women to develop The Madison Midwives. This partnership in itself is leading change since the idea of a midwife and a team of OBGYN’s working collaboratively to manage patient care is not the norm. This is a care model that women have been searching for and are embracing in Dane County. Kern Steffen has had a surge of high-risk patients who are looking to have a vaginal birth after cesarean, planned C-section and women pregnant with twins. A midwife is not able to work with high-risk pregnancies usually but due to the collaborative nature of The Madison Midwives and Physicians for Women Kern Steffen can co-manage high-risk cases and provide the personalized care of a midwife for prenatal, labor and delivery support and postnatal care.

Kern Steffen immediately saw a high demand for women looking for a family centered environment in all types of deliveries. After thoughtful discussions with colleagues specifically about women needing C-section, Kern-Steffen and Melius met with the Meriter – UnityPoint Health Women’s Health Steering committee to begin an action plan and partnership designed to create a more family-centered C-section birthing experience in the operating room. “The bond between mother and child starts immediately, and I have been in many C-section births where the mother waited 10 minutes to see the baby after birth,” Kern-Steffen said of her experience in the operating room. “Many women fear the idea of having a C-section and some who experience the procedure feel like they have missed out on the natural birthing process.”

Kathy Kostrivas, Executive Director Mother-Baby Services at Meriter – UnityPoint Health noted that “Dr. Melius’ group first brought the idea forward and the steering committee is now fully engaged as a team on this effort. This will be a Meriter – UnityPoint Health initiative for all low risk cesarean deliveries.” The Steering Committee believes small changes can make a big difference. For example, placing the intravenous line in the mother’s non-dominant hand and moving EKG monitors from the mothers chest to her side allows the newborn to be placed immediately on the mother’s chest for skin to skin contact. A lower drape and change in mother’s head placement allows the patient to actually see the birth of their child. Implementation of this new program is in the final planning stage and will officially begin later this summer.

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