Your Prenatal Care and Birth Planning

We’re not sure who gets more excited about prenatal visits–our midwives or the families they serve! We love to witness new parents hearing the sound of their baby’s heartbeat, watch an older sibling’s eyes widen when feeling their mama’s belly, or listen to a family’s hopes and wishes for their newest member.

Prior to your first visit, we encourage you to schedule an orientation and tour of the birthing home by calling Carmela at (941) 228-7303. At your first visit, the midwife will review your history with you, discuss any risk factors or concerns, discuss the consent forms, give you further information about pregnancy care, complete your physical exam, and order or conduct appropriate laboratory tests. We will encourage you to be involved in your clinical care by testing your urine and checking your weight.

During your pregnancy, your prenatal visits will be by appointment: once monthly for the first 28 weeks, then biweekly until 36 weeks. At 36 weeks we will have a meeting with your birth team, and visit your home if you are planning a home birth. Then we will see you weekly until your baby’s arrival.  We will make every effort to contact you if we will not be on time or available for your appointment; please understand that babies’ arrivals do not have a schedule!  If you are traveling a distance, we suggest that you call before you leave to make sure that appointments are going as planned.

Sometimes, complications may be identified during your prenatal care. In some cases, these may present risks which prevent you from continuing your plan for birth at home or at the birthing home.  In this case, your midwives will discuss the implications of the problem and explain the recommended plan for either continued collaborative care with a consulting physician and the midwives, or for total transfer of your care to the doctor of your choice if necessary.   Please feel free to discuss any questions or concerns with your midwives.

We encourage you to bring your partner or primary support person with you to your visits if you so desire.  If there is anything which you would like to discuss privately with the midwife, please let us know.  We are family-friendly. You may bring older siblings with you for your visits if you desire.  We provide a play area and have a lovely pond with fish that love big kids!  Please make sure to clean up whatever your child uses before you leave.  The birthing home is not completely child proof; please be aware that there are waste containers and midwifery equipment that could cause injury to children, so supervise your children accordingly.

Childbirth Education

Florida law requires childbirth education be provided to our clients.  We offer complete, comprehensive childbirth education classes here at Rosemary Birthing Home with ICEA certified Childbirth Educator Carmela Pedicini, LPN. At approximately 28 weeks gestation, you will begin a nine-week program covering all aspects of your childbirth experience and beyond.

Birth Planning

As your baby’s birth date approaches, your midwives will ask you about your birth plans.  Who will be present?  How will others that you have invited to your birth participate?  Is there anything else that will make your birth experience what you desire it to be?  We want to help you to make this one of the most memorable, sensitive, and special moments of your lives.  We know that labor and birth is intense work, and we are here to help, encourage, and empower you into parenthood.

You may bring your favorite items (pillows, blankets, family pictures, stuffed animals, music, etc.; no pets please).  If you plan to birth at the birthing home, we encourage your family and friends to bring prepared food (soups and small casseroles are great) and use our kitchen facilities (refrigerator, microwave, range-top and toaster), or you may plan a catered meal.  Smoking and alcohol are not permitted in the birthing home.  A birthday cake is a fun way to celebrate baby’s actual BIRTH day.  Cameras and video equipment may be used.  If you wish to have children present during the labor and birth process, an adult other than your primary support person must be present to supervise them and meet their individual needs. Please visit our Big Siblings page for other tips regarding your older children.

Your Labor and Birth

The signs of labor, as well as the items that you and your support person should have ready at home or to bring to the birthing home, will be discussed fully during your visits and your childbirth classes.  When you recognize these labor signs you may page the on-call midwife, and she will call you back to discuss your progress. Together you will make the plan about “what’s next.”  When it is time, the midwife will meet you at the birthing home or at your home.  The birthing home is not staffed around the clock. Please talk to the midwife before coming to the birthing home! During labor you will be free to walk around the center, enjoy the garden, eat lightly and drink plenty, shower and use the tub.

Your midwife will encourage and advise you (if needed) in allowing your body to normally birth your baby.  You may choose your place and position for the birth unless the midwife advises otherwise.  As birth approaches the midwife will call the birth assistant to come in to help care for you and your family during and after the birth.  Our birth assistants are specially trained and highly qualified to assist families in the normal birth process, identify problems, and assist the midwife in the event of a problem or complication.  There are no routine prepping procedures, no mandatory positions, and no routine use of IV’s and/or electronic fetal monitors (we do of course monitor the baby frequently by listening with the hand-held Doppler).

Your Baby

Your baby will remain with you during your entire stay at the birthing home. You will be able to form a special bond with your newborn immediately by touching, cuddling, and nursing your baby soon after birth and as often as you like.  An application of antibiotic eye ointment and an injection of Vitamin K will be administered to your baby (unless you have signed a refusal waiver after being counseled on the risks/benefits and giving your decision careful thought).  Before you go home (or the midwife leaves your home), your midwife or birth assistant will review postpartum instructions with you and will fax a copy of the newborn exam to your pediatrician or family practice doctor.  In the event of any newborn problems requiring hospitalization, you and your midwife will decide who will accompany the baby to the hospital.

Please keep a family car and driver here at the center when the mother and baby are at the birthing home. Have family and friends run errands in a separate vehicle.

Going Home

Families usually return home with their new baby about 4-6 hours after birth.  The midwife will evaluate the mother and baby, determine when mother and baby are ready to leave the birthing home, and help plan your return to your own home.  You will need a car seat appropriately installed in your car to transport your baby home with you.  Local fire department personnel will help you install the car seat if you go to their facility.

It is much easier and better for you to get adequate rest when you are home in your own bed.  It is good to plan ahead for help at home, assistance with other children, and for your family needs for the first two weeks after the birth.  Wash and diaper services, housecleaning help, with other children and meals are great gifts to include in your wish list to your family and friends.  A meal train is a wonderful way for your friends to show their congratulations and support. Finally, we can refer you to a qualified postpartum doula that is trained to help during this special time.

Postpartum Visits

Within the first 24 – 48 hours after the birth, the midwife and /or nurse will see mother and baby for follow-up care at your home.  At three to five days postpartum, you will be seen by the lactation counselor. A hearing screen and metabolic screen (PKU) are offered at this visit. At two weeks and six weeks postpartum you will see one of the midwives for a visit at the center to make sure all is well and plan for your future health care and birth control or family planning needs.  As always please prepare your questions and concerns so that you may talk to the midwife on your visits or call us if necessary. The midwives are available to you as needed for appointments during the six weeks of postpartum.  Breastfeeding support groups and classes are available locally.  If this is your first time breastfeeding, you are strongly urged to attend the La Leche League breastfeeding support meetings before you give birth.

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