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What does it mean to have a hospital birth at Oula?

Oula is a collaborative, midwifery-led practice that offers hospital-based births at Mount Sinai West hospital. When it is time for you to have your baby, the primary provider with you at the hospital will be an Oula midwife, who will work in close partnership with hospital staff. At Oula, we spend time at your prenatal visits discussing your goals and intentions for your birth. We work hard to help you understand how you and your baby’s individual health needs or risk factors may impact these birth intentions. We’ll continue to pay attention to those needs as your birth and labor unfolds. Because it is impossible to predict in advance how things might go, we’ll help you prepare for and navigate any situations that may deviate from your original birth plan. Midwives believe that birth is an inherently natural and normal process that can and should be allowed to unfold under its own power and timeline. As licensed medical professionals, we are on the lookout for deviations from “normal” and can help you to understand the risks, benefits, and alternatives when you might require medical interventions or the oversight of a doctor. One of the best things about a hospital environment is that both “high risk” and “low risk” births have a place there. If your birth requires medical interventions to keep you or your baby safe, your Oula midwives will be with you throughout to help you understand what is happening. We have access to world-class medical care at Mount Sinai West and can collaborate with obstetricians, pediatricians, or neonatologists who can respond and participate in your care with a moment’s notice. For the majority of low-risk pregnancies, your birth can still take place at a hospital with minimal intervention: intermittent fetal heart checks, low lights, your own playlist. If you decide to opt into pain management such as nitrous oxide or an epidural, a hospital birth makes these options available. The choice is yours.

What is intermittent monitoring? 

Our default monitoring format for our low-risk patients who are in spontaneous labor is something called “intermittent monitoring.” This means that after an initial period of continuous monitoring that will last a minimum of 20 minutes, you can be removed from the monitor and your baby’s heartbeat patterns will be evaluated periodically with a hand-held listening tool called a doppler.  There are circumstances in which we convert to continuous monitoring, and these circumstances are guided by evidence and supported by hospital policy. Your midwife can discuss these options with you in real time. The hospital also offers “wireless” monitors which allow for continuous evaluation of your baby’s heart rate patterns so you can move freely within your birth suite.

How does a hospital setting differ from a home-birth or birth center?

While we can work to make your hospital birth home-like, the hospital has its own systems and protocols that are designed to keep everyone safe. At Oula, we believe our patients and their babies benefit from the safety net of the Oula midwives and doctors who work in strong collaboration with the nurses and physicians at the hospital. Every Oula birth will involve the active engagement of our midwifery team in your care. Your Oula team will be taking care of you throughout your labor and birth, and will continue to check on you during your postpartum stay. In the same way that we have centered your autonomy during your prenatal care, we will continue to focus on you and your wishes as your birth unfolds at the hospital.

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