Birthing Options

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dr. David Keefe, head of obstetrics for both Bellevue Hospital and NYU, and Elan McAllister, founder of Choices in Childbirth, discuss the birthing options for women in New York City now that the Bellevue Birth Center has closed.


Dr. David Keefe and Elan McAllister

Comments [21]

Maria from Jersey City

I used a midwife for my care and homebirth last September and it was an amazing experience. It is very important to continue to give women the option to have midwifery care available. They are highly trained professionals and women who are healthy and capable of giving birth naturally should be able to do so in their own homes with the assistance of trained midwives.

Jun. 10 2010 11:14 AM
Lucy from US

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Dec. 28 2009 03:36 AM
Lucy from

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Dec. 23 2009 10:57 PM
lila from nyc

Can you ask Dr. Keefe why there are no or very few midwives on staff at nyu hospital?

Dec. 11 2009 05:07 PM
michele from nyc

I am a nurse midwife at another city hospital, the hospital with the lowest c/s rate in the nystate. I agree with Dr. Keefe that preserving natural birth is important for training future obstetric providers, containing cost, and limiting the long term adverse effects related to surgery, and the resulting decrease in breastfeeding. I disagree with his statement that midwives are "vested in natural birth" I feel we are vested in safe healthy mothers and babies, and optimal satisfying outcomes.
Our preservation of belief in the underlying assumption that human beings are designed to give birth vaginally, serves us to educate the family about this process, involve the family in those decisions which can be made, and guides us to work to insure a safe, satifying birthing experience. Midwifery care is well documented, safe, health promoting care whether in a hospital, hospital birth center, or out of hospital setting (as is common in England and Holland for a majority of women).

Dec. 11 2009 05:05 PM
Penelope Katsaras from Astoria

There is an interest and desire by many pregnant women in NYC for more birthing centers. Unfortunately this city does not have enough services to help us have natural un-medicated births:(

Dec. 10 2009 03:43 PM
eliza from midtown

I'm planning to deliver at St Vincents in a few months with a midwife. My understanding is that St Vincents is very amenable to natural childbirth, has an excellent and supportive nursing staff, and is in the process of converting their L&D floor into a birthing center. (though it will not be ready in time for my baby's birth)

Re what Peter said above, I think that what he describes is part of a larger problem with our medical system. People need to learn manners. :)

Dec. 10 2009 12:22 PM
Jay from Astoria

@Mike C. I don't think she said there is never a need for Cesarean delivery, just that the true need could be much lower than the rates we see now. What would be needed to let this happen is more patience in the birthing process (i.e. allowing labor to take a longer time than is common) and more understanding of what our bodies are capable of doing.

@ Lucy, if pain avoidance is what interests you, just consider the after-birth pain associated with recovery from surgery, while caring for your newborn.

@John, yes, I would agree not to sue... assuming I could be properly imformed and work in ppartnership with my care providers to make smart choices. In fact it is fear of litigation that seems to underlie so many birth decisions. Since when did lawyers learn about birthing babies?

I should also state that I have met NO ONE in the natural birth community that is ANTI medicine, or anti Cesarean when it's the right choice for the mom and baby. Everyone I've come in contact with knows there ARE complicated situations (and they vary so greatly) where these things are tantamount to medical miracles that save lives. Thank Good for that. Let's just minimize the use of the interventions that are not really needed.

Dec. 10 2009 12:19 PM
Abby from East Village

Lucy, not true, and you'll have more pain and your recovery time will be a lot longer. C-section is not the easy way out.

Dec. 10 2009 12:09 PM
Laurie from Long Island

It IS possible to refuse medical interventions that you don't want IF you are educated about the delivery process beforehand. I delivered 11 years ago in a hospital, and refused IV, refused medication, and refused to be strapped down for fetal monitoring which I knew would stall my labor. I refused to abstain from eating; refused to be induced. The key is to stay strong and focused and rely on your instincts and all the reading you should have done during your pregnancy. YOU control your birth no matter where you are. I was alone, and still managed to do this. I delivered in 5 hours flat; 5 min of pushing! Most exhilerating experience of my life.

Dec. 10 2009 12:09 PM
Estelle from Austin

I wish I had gone to a birthing center with a midwife. I was induced when my baby was one week past the due date, just because of my AGE (over 35). This felt completely arbitrary; I am a runner and had a healthy pregnancy: no diabetes, no high blood pressure, no complications whatsoever.
But the induction caused an infection during labor, which spread to the baby, and she ended up in ICU for a full week. It was awful! Since the baby and I were separated, we couldn't get a good start breastfeeding; the baby got hooked on the bottle/formula in ICU, and never did breastfeed successfully after that (I tried for 7 months).
Naturally, I'm just grateful that my baby ended up healthy and happy. But I would do things differently next time.

Dec. 10 2009 12:07 PM
Jay from Astoria

I am planning to deliver in the Roosevelt Hospital birth center (assuming I am not risked out for going to 41 weeks) and have become familiar with the natural birth community in NYC, including Choices in Childbirth. These are people who are committed to allowing women and families have a choice in the type of delivery they experience. We all have different things that motivate us, but underneath it all it seems that we want to have the option to give the best possible start to our babies.

Many of us are highly motivated to avoid painful abdominal surgery (cesarean delivery) rates of which aer extraordinarily high in NYC, as Elan mentioned. The irony, given the issue of the rising cost of medicine, is of course that Cesarean deliveries cost much more than natural births without such interventions.

Dec. 10 2009 12:06 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

Did your guest just claim there is never a need for C-sections?

Dec. 10 2009 12:03 PM
Lucy from New York

I would like to elect to have a c section - I have read the cost is the same as a vaginal birth with pain meds. Is this true?

Dec. 10 2009 12:02 PM
Lucy from New York

I would like to elect to have a c section - I have read the cost is the same as a vaginal birth with pain meds. Is this true?

Dec. 10 2009 12:02 PM
john from office

More Idealism. Will they agree to not sue, if there are problems. Will they issue a release to their doctors, no.

Dec. 10 2009 11:58 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

Isn't the closing of obstetric units and the high cost to be a "baby doctor" not only a war on the poor, but part of the one world government master plan to help fight global warming?

After all aren't we all just CO2 emission units. Humans are destroying this planet. Humans need to be eliminated if the rich (like Al Gore) are to be able to fly around guilt free on their private jets and have fun. I say, "No more babies! Save the planet! Let them eat cake!" Lol.

Dec. 10 2009 11:57 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

Our midwife is training us how to keep the nurses and doctors from ruining our first childbirth experience.

Dec. 10 2009 11:56 AM
Mike C. from Tribeca

How many people actually use this service each year? This question should have been asked at the very beginning of the segment.

Dec. 10 2009 11:56 AM
Shana from Clinton Hill/Fort Greene, Brooklyn

I wanted to have my son at a birthing center, but my insurance would not cover it. I ended up having a home birth that I was very happy with, but the insurance company is finding every excuse to not cover it.

My OB/GYN admitted to me that she would have made me have a c-section because of how long I was in labor for.

Dec. 10 2009 11:55 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

Birthing SENSITIVITY in NYC is very sad. We are having our first child in a few months at St. Vincents. We go in to have a sonogram, a nurse or technician comes in and starts putting her hands on my wife’s body without even introducing herself. The doctor comes in and does the same. While spending 5 minutes with the doctor so we could see the first sonogram of our first child, a nurse came in 4-5 times to ask the doctor questions about other patients.

Dec. 10 2009 11:54 AM

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