Where is the birth center located?
Our primary office is at 769 W. Terra Lane in O'fallon, MO (map) and we also have an office in Creve Coeur at 555 N New Ballas Road, St. Louis MO (map). Coming in early 2019, we will open our second full service birth center in North County at 2909 Netherton Drive, St. Louis, MO. Thanks to our ability to offer care at these locations, at Missouri Baptist Medical Center as well as home birth, we can work with families from all over St. Louis and parts of Illinois.
What will my birth at First Breath be like?
When you decide it is time to come to the birth center, you will be welcomed by a care provider that is well known to you, who will evaluate and help you get settled in. You are encouraged wear whatever clothes you are comfortable in. A kitchen is available for you and your loved ones to eat and drink as they wish. Each birthing room has a tub for waterbirth or simply for comfort during labor. Your well-being and your baby's will be monitored by your midwife and a birth assistant. Your midwife will be constantly available for encouragement and ideas for helping the birth progress smoothly. As the time of birth nears, you will be encouraged to use whatever positions or techniques you desire to give you energy and strength for the birth. The pushing phase of labor will be as gentle and quiet as you prefer. Throughout the process, the people whom you have chosen as support, including children if you wish, may be present. The father of the baby or other support people are encouraged to be intimately involved in the entire birth, and “catching” the baby can be done by the person of the mother’s choosing. Once the baby is born, he or she will be placed immediately into your arms, and bonding and breastfeeding will be encouraged. All newborn procedures such as the newborn exam will be done in your arms or at your side when you are ready. After you have had a chance to eat and refresh yourself, usually about 3-6 hours after the birth, the new family will go home, where mom and baby can rest and get to know each other in their own surroundings. Families who live within 30 miles of the birth center will receive a home visit 24-48 hours after birth. Mothers who live a greater distance away will be asked to come to the center for this visit or arrange care with a provider close to home. At 2 weeks and 4 weeks after birth, mom and baby will be seen together at the birth center.
Can I have a home birth?
We want you to be able to choose the birth that is right for you, including who helps you and where birth occurs. Our birth center is as home-like as regulations will allow, but it isn't quite home. We offer a limited number of home births each month, within 30 miles of the birth center's O'fallon location. Our range includes much of St. Louis County, St. Charles County, and parts of Warren and Lincoln Counties. Talk to your midwife to see if home birth is an option for you.
Do you support VBAC?
Yes! Women whose last birth was a cesarean can receive all of their prenatal care with our midwives and have a midwife-attended birth at Missouri Baptist. Women who have already had a VBAC can give birth at the birth center. If you have had multiple cesareans, or have other health concerns, we would be glad to talk with you about whether co-care between our midwives and collaborative physician is a good fit for you.
Do you provide a doula at my birth?
Doulas are very welcome at First Breath, and a woman should interview a few different options and choose the one who will be the best fit for her. A doula offers an added layer of support, education and comfort to your birth team and doulas are shown to improve a mom's confidence and her chances of acheiving an unmedicated birth. For birth partners, a doula can give helpful suggestions that make the partner feel more involved and at ease during the birth process. We have lots of referrals available for local doulas, but we do not have any on staff, so you are free to choose whomever you prefer. If you would like to know more about the wonderful things doulas can do to support a woman through pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting, check out Doulas of Greater St Louis or just google 'what is a doula'.
Do you accept insurance and Medicaid?
Yes. First Breath has contracts with nearly all major insurance providers, as well as Medicaid. To see a list of our contracted insurance companies, check out our Insurance Info page. All clients should contact their insurance carrier to verify exactly what their coverage is. Every client of the Center will receive a financial agreement, so there will be no surprises along the way. For those who are paying out of pocket, a sliding scale fee and payment plans are available to make our care as accessible as possible. If you have a large deductible, we will work with you on a payment plan so you are not surprised with a large bill after your baby is born.
I know most pregnancies and births are normal and healthy, but what if there is a problem?
First Breath functions within the larger medical community and has beneficial relationships with physicians and specialists throughout the region. If a woman develops complications during her pregnancy or birth that are outside the scope of CNM care, her care may be co-managed with our collaborative physician, or if necessary she will be referred to specialist care. We work with the Maternal Fetal Medicine team at Missouri Baptist to get world-class care for moms or babies with significant complications. This does not always mean she cannot give birth at the birth center or continue to see her midwife, as some complications resolve as time passes (for example placenta previa, preterm labor, etc).
In the unlikely event of an emergency during birth, the staff at the Birth and Wellness Center is highly qualified to provide emergency care associated with labor and birth. Medications and oxygen are on hand for stabilization and treatment. To facilitate timely and smooth transfer when needed, the Center is located just minutes from our emergency transfer hospital. During this stressful time, our staff will accompany the family to the hospital and continue to offer support throughout the birth experience if the family desires it.
What will I get with my prenatal care?
Our midwives provide comprehensive prenatal care, and each appointment will include education, physical assessments and plenty of time for questions, stories and just getting to know each other. We draw labs and perform limited ultrasound at the birth center and will make referrals for other testing or specialized services such as physical therapy as needed.
What kind of classes do you offer?
Education is an integral part of the midwifery model of care. For first time parents, or those giving birth outside of the hospital for the first time, prenatal classes are essential and are offered at a reduced charge for our clients. We are pleased to partner with New Generation Birth for our general prenatal/childbirth classes. Members of the community who are planning birth elsewhere but are looking for more natural-focused classes or a more personalized class experience are welcome to join our education program. For more information on all the classes we offer, visit our Resources page.
What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife?
A CNM is trained and certified in the sister disciplines of nursing and midwifery. She is prepared at the Master’s Degree level, certified by national standards and examination, and licensed by the state. A CNM provides comprehensive care in all aspects of women's health including adolescent care and counseling, prenatal care, attendance at birth, postpartum care, family planning, screening and treatment of routine gynecological problems, wellness exams and counseling including nutrition, as well as perimenopausal and postmenopausal care. CNMs are also trained in newborn care and assessment, and well baby care.
Are there standards or regulations for birth centers?
Yes. The American Association of Birth Centers, as well as the American Public Health Association, have published standards for birth centers. Birth centers can be accredited on the national level by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers, and are licensed by the state of Missouri. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, among other national medical organizations, agree that a licensed and accredited birth center is a safe place for healthy women to give birth. First Breath is the first and only licensed and accredited birth center in Missouri.
Do you offer care besides birth?
Yes we do! Our Nurse-Midwives are specialists in women's wellness, pre-conception counseling, breastfeeding support, and family planning. Call for an appointment for any of your women's health needs.
I'm an RN, Doula, Massage Therapist, etc, can I work for you?
First Breath is blessed to have a great staff that exemplifies the heart and soul of our practice, but we are always looking for new, passionate individuals who might join our team. If you’re interested in working beside an amazing group of women, contact us with what kind of work you do, and a little about yourself. We don't have doulas on staff directly, but we give out lots of referrals.
How can I help?
Get the word out: Besides talking about us to friends and relatives, you can help us present information to the public every chance we get. You can let us know if there is a group we can talk to, including women’s clubs, church groups, etc, or health/parenting fairs in your community. Also, talk to your health care provider! If you see an OB/Gyn for women’s health, ask if they’ve heard of us and let them know how excited you are for this option in our area. Ask if they have considered collaborating with us to offer such a great service to their patients. If you see a chiropractor, massage therapist, pediatrician—anyone-- ask if they’ve heard about the birth center, and give them our info! We have business cards and other marketing materials available, and are happy to answer questions from other providers and professionals by phone or email.
Community support: Watch our Facebook page for ways you can be involved in birth friendly initiatives.
Library: An enormous part of our service to women is sharing information. We have a library of educational and inspiring books and videos available for any woman to check out. We have lots of good resources, but are always looking for more. So clean off those dusty shelves and share with other women and families.
Partners: Another commitment that our team has made is fostering community among families and providers. Please let us know about professionals you encounter who offer services or products that are complementary to the mission and philosophy of First Breath Birth & Wellness.