Banner Estrella Expanding to Midwifery Services
Hospital-based unit will support moms desire to experience a “Natural Hospital Birth” that provides the supplementary safety of an experienced medical team nearby.

PHOENIX (July 12, 2018) – Banner Estrella Medical Center will be able to fully support patients wishing to experience a natural childbirth in a hospital with the involvement of a midwife without the distinctive interventions commonly associated with being in a medical facility. 

The integration of midwives to practice at BEMC is intended to appeal to mothers who desire a natural birthing experience that doesn’t include the standard medical interventions, such as the use of medications to expedite labor or control pain.

“This offering is really about making healthcare easier for our patients,” said Chief Medical Officer Teresa Malcolm, MD, who’s also a board-certified OB/GYN. “The goal for us was to offer a Natural Hospital Birth experience with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that medical backup is just outside the door if it’s needed,” she said. “It avoids having to be taken by a car or ambulance to the nearest hospital when things don’t go as planned.”

The midwives are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN). They have successfully completed a nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). Midwives have the responsibility for the woman’s care and works in collaboration with a supervision physician. A certified nurse midwife can care for health women with uncomplicated pregnancies, uncomplicated labor, vaginal deliveries and normal postpartum recovery. 

The Women and Infants Services Department is in preparation of launching all services in September. According to Michelle Miesen, Director of Women and Infants Services, an obstetrics physician is readily available in-house 24/7 to provide emergency interventions should it be essential. Additionally, emergency anesthesia and neonatal intensive care unit services would be accessible should mother or baby require them, she said. A passionate team of labor and delivery nurses would be present for purposes of support, aiding with delivery by positioning the patient, providing intermittent fetal monitoring, and caring for the newborn post-delivery. 

Women and Infants Services has dedicated two rooms in its Labor and Delivery unit to be utilized for mothers under the care of midwives. These rooms will be equipped with some unique amenities. Although water births are not permitted at BEMC we are able to provide portable tubs filled with water that can regulate the water temperature as an alternative for a comfort measure. The warm water relaxes muscles, reduces pain and can aid in the progression of active labor.

Additionally, the rooms will have laboring stools and peanut balls, both specially designed to support the most natural and physiologically effective positioning throughout the labor process.

Similar midwifery programs are offered at Banner Ironwood Medical Center in Queen Creek and Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City West.