St. Augustine Woman's Journal - Educational Resource to the Women of St. Johns County Since 2009

By Amy Loughlin ARNP CNM
OB-GYN Associates of St. Augustine 

Planning for Birth - Requires Thoughtful Consideration


February 1, 2017 | View PDF

Planning for the birth of a child happens months before the actual big day, and for some it begins even before a positive pregnancy test. Equipping oneself with knowledge is the best place to begin preparations for the marathon of birth. Providers that care for women and families during the pregnancy and birth process are often asked how to prepare for the work of labor. "How can I avoid medications?" "What medications can I use if I choose to do so?" "Do I need to know before labor what is best for me?" Obstetricians, midwives, doulas and childbirth educators are all experts in different aspects of childbirth and are all wonderful resources that are available in our community.

The American College of Nurse-Midwives advocates addressing three things to help you labor successfully without using medications: knowledge about what to expect, belief in yourself, and emotional support and coaching during your labor. Reading about physiologic birth in reputable resources and not just a Google search of "birth" may be helpful to women who are unable to attend a structured childbirth class. Childbirth education is designed to help demystify labor and birth through knowledge as well as provide suggestions for relaxation techniques to use during labor. Flagler Hospital offers a 6 week as well as a weekend intensive childbirth education course for women who plan to have a hospital birth. There are also The Bradley Method® and hypnobirthing education classes available in St. Augustine, Jacksonville and Palm Coast.

How and where one chooses to give birth as well is with whom they entrust their care are very personal decisions. It is an honor to be asked to attend someone's labor and the invitation should be thought out. Part of creating a safe place to labor and deliver is feeling as though those surrounding the laboring woman understand her wishes and can speak for her if she is unable to do so herself. That emotional support and coaching takes effort and time and therefore should be discussed and even practiced with the "team" prior to the day of labor.

Whether you choose to give birth in or out of a hospital will play a part in what options you have for pain medication. The most common pain medications used during labor are narcotics and epidural anesthesia. There are pros and cons to using pain medications and these should be discussed with your healthcare provider. Just because a woman choses to give birth in a hospital does not mean she chooses to use pain medications during labor. Flagler Hospital supports women in their individual choices with regards to how they wish to labor and even has designated rooms on its labor floor set up for women who wish to have an un-medicated delivery. On the flip side, just because a woman choses to have a nurse-midwife attend and deliver her baby does not mean she has to have an un-medicated delivery.

We have all heard many stories about giving birth and many of us have shared our own with anyone who will listen. The birth experience is different for everyone and no one can know ahead of time how painful or difficult labor will be. Educating oneself and knowing ones desires is important. Having trust in yourself, your support and your provider will help you to be flexible when decisions you may not have anticipated need to be made.

Amy Loughlin, ARNP, CNM

My name is Amy Loughlin and I have been practicing midwifery with OB-Gyn Associates since 2007. Midwifery has been my calling since the birth of my son. As a young mother I felt that the midwife who delivered my son not only brought him into the world but helped to transition me into parenthood. Heck, if I could give birth to a baby I could surely be a mom!

I became a certified nurse midwife in 2002 after graduating from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. My first job as a midwife was in rural South Carolina working at a federally funded community health center. It was here that I learned about "being with women" which is what midwifery is all about. I also became a National Health Service Corp Recipient, a program that encourages providers to work in

underserved communities.

After five years in South Carolina my husband and son, both avid surfers, asked if we could move to the coast. Our search for a small beach town brought us to St. Augustine and we couldn't be happier!

Working for OB-Gyn Associates is wonderful. We serve a varied population of families thorough different stages of life. I truly enjoy being the person to help women transition into parenthood just like I did 19 years ago. I also enjoy educating women who want to space out their families. Empowering women to care for themselves is more rewarding than I ever imagined.


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