Holistic approach to child birth in this week’s Medical Monday

PANAMA CITY in Fla. (WJHG/WECP – Expectant mamas have several options when it comes to where to deliver their babies. These include hospitals, birthing centers or at home. But until now there wasn’t a birthing center nearby.

“There’s never been a birth center here in Bay County or any of the surrounding counties right around us,” Katie Smith, a Certified Nurse Midwife, said. “So, we’re the first.”

Birth Your Way Midwifery is Panama City’s only birthing center. It is located between Pensacola and Tallahassee.

“We have women sometimes travel up to four hours to come here and birth with us because there just isn’t a lot of options,” Smith said.

Smith explained that the center is patient-centered and offers support during childbirth.

“We really facilitate and respect the women’s rights to choose what care they want to receive and the care their baby wants to receive,” Smith said. “Based on their values and wishes, not based on ours.”

Smith recognized a need in the Panhandle for more birthing options and took it up.

“A lot of our moms’ labor in the tub and birth in the tub,” Smith said. “Water birth is huge water therapy. Nitric oxide, which is like laughing gas, is also available at our facility. To my knowledge, we are the only facility that has that locally.”

After serving as an active-duty critical care nurse in the Army for 14 years, she then became an ICU Trauma nurse and worked in the COVID ICU in order to save money in order to open the birth center. Amber Bryant, a registered nurse, also assisted Smith in this endeavor. Birth Your Way’s consistency in care and the same provider throughout pregnancy is a major plus, says Smith.

“The Panhandle just doesn’t have a lot of options for moms that want to do alternative birth,” Smith said. “We’re just so happy that we can offer this service to the women in this county and the surrounding counties, so they have this option.”

Birth Your Way has been serving expecting mothers for one-year and has delivered approximately 30 babies. Smith wants to ensure that moms and babies are happy and healthy for years to follow.

You can reach them at 850-481-1209 if you’d like to learn more about Birth Your Way, or to schedule an appointment.

Copyright 2022 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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