ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix mother chooses midwife over hospital for second birth

Jun 11, 2019, 7:25 PM
Katrina Huynh – supported by her husband, Liem Huynh, and assisted by midwife Jude Melton – pus...
Katrina Huynh – supported by her husband, Liem Huynh, and assisted by midwife Jude Melton – pushes at Midwives Rising in Phoenix. She gave birth without an epidural or other pain medication. (Photo by Nicole Neri/Cronkite News)
(Photo by Nicole Neri/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – When Katrina Huynh gave birth for the first time four years ago, she chose a modern tradition – a local hospital. But she chose a Phoenix birthing center when her daughter was born in October.

Huynh, an executive at a health-insurance company in Arizona, said it was an unconventional and, for her, perhaps surprising choice.

“The first time, I had a really great OB (obstetrician). It was actually a really hard process to go to a birthing center because I liked him so much,” she said. “It was almost a little bit scary, switching to the birthing center, especially coming from someone who is very science-based, medically based – that’s my education, that’s my career.”

But Huynh became convinced it was the right move. She was seeking a more “naturopathic path” after she became pregnant again. She’s happy she did.

“The prenatal care was amazing,” she said, speaking of the team of women who helped her through her pregnancy. “It was nice to have that knowledge there.”

Huynh is among a small but growing number of women who rely on midwives to assist with births at home or a center rather than on medical personnel at hospitals. She has the perspective of experiencing childbirth at a hospital and a birth center.

Hospital births still outnumber out-of-hospital births, accounting for less than 2% of U.S. births in 2017, but families who choose the help of a midwife do so when women are at less risk of complications, are able and willing to manage the pain of labor and seek a more organic, intimate experience around pregnancy and childbirth.

Huynh and her midwife, Jude Melton, who owns Sunrise Midwifery, discussed some key issues about midwives in the U.S. Their views are supplemented with information from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health organizations.

More parents are returning to pre-World War II birth procedures

Before 1945, most births took place at home, but less than three decades later, about 90% took place at hospitals, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Still, for three decades, the percentage of births attended by certified midwives has risen nearly every year, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

Childbirth as a natural process that doesn’t need medical intervention

“Hospitals are for emergencies,” Melton said. You don’t go to the hospital to hang out. You go to the hospital because you’ve got something wrong, something that needs immediate attention. We can move to the emergency setting if we need to, but we don’t have to start there.”

Melton stressed that some pregnancies do need hospital oversight – older mothers, those who have had complications during pregnancy or those with such conditions as diabetes – and that midwives need to know whether a mother and child need to move to an emergency setting. But overmedicalization of pregnancy and childbirth in the U.S. has caused women to see these things as inherently dangerous or risky, and to believe that hospitalization is always a necessary part of the process, Melton said.

“Childbirth is not an emergency. Pregnancy is not an emergency. Both of these things are natural processes for women,” she said.

Midwives maintain that labor pain can be managed

Huynh said her midwives took a holistic approach to childbirth, and gave prenatal care that was focused heavily on preparing her body for natural labor.

“I wanted my body to be able to actually do this on its own this time,” she said.

Huynh said that the actual birthing portion of her labor at the birthing center hurt worse than at the hospital because she was pushing for 2½ hours without a pain-blocking epidural. (She had a partial epidural four years ago when delivering her son.)

“It’s just nice to know that you don’t have to rely on the medical devices or the drugs to get through the whole entire process, because I think we’ve become a little bit dependent on those factors,” Huynh said. “I think that women need to know that there’s more options.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Student midwife Lakisha Muhammad gives Katrina Huynh a prenatal exam Oct. 3 at the Midwives Rising birth center in Phoenix. (Photo by Nicole Neri/Cronkite News) Katrina Huynh is all smiles during her Oct. 3 prenatal exam at the Midwives Rising birth center in Phoenix. (Photo by Nicole Neri/Cronkite News) A birth induction massage can incorporate essential oils and manipulation of pressure points. The goal is to increase levels of oxytocin, which can help start contractions. (Photo by Nicole Neri/Cronkite News)
As the contractions intensify, Liem Huynh supports his wife. (Photo by Nicole Neri/Cronkite News) Student midwife Che Phifer gives Katrina Huynh a dropper full of hydration tea and a herbal remedy at Midwives Rising. (Photo by Nicole Neri/Cronkite News) Katrina Huynh nurses her daughter at Midwives Rising. (Photo by Nicole Neri/Cronkite News)
Mere minutes old, Amelia Huynh is examined by student midwife Che Phifer at Midwives Rising. Phifer also gave the baby a vitamin K injection. (Photo by Nicole Neri/Cronkite News)
Liem and Katrina Huynh admire their newborn daughter, Amelia, shortly after her birth at Midwives Rising in Phoenix on Oct. 10. (Photo by Nicole Neri/Cronkite News)

Arizona News

Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake speaks to the media after voting on November 08, 2022...
KTAR.com

Defeated Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake files election lawsuit

Kari Lake filed a lawsuit Friday claiming the number of illegal votes cast in Arizona's general election outnumber her margin of defeat.
19 hours ago
(Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema relieved by Brittney Griner’s release from Russian prison

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said she is not in a place to criticize the Brittney Griner-Viktor Bout exchange and is happy Griner is home.
19 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/Abraham Hamadeh)...
KTAR.com

Republican Arizona AG candidate Abe Hamadeh files another election lawsuit

Republican Arizona Attorney General candidate Abe Hamadeh filed another election lawsuit Friday, asking for another look on his race.
19 hours ago
(AP Photo/Matt York)...
SuElen Rivera

Maricopa County recorder proposing ways to speed up vote count

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer said he planning to propose changes to Arizona election laws that would speed up the vote count.
19 hours ago
A cold and flu medicine shelf is empty in a CVS pharmacy on Dec. 6, 2022, in Burbank, California. (...
Associated Press

Maricopa County health officials warn about spread of flu, COVID, RSV

Arizona's most populous county is warning of a significantly rise in cases of the flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.
19 hours ago
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)...
Marcia Hammond

‘Political earthquake’: Arizona experts weigh in on Sen. Sinema jumping ship to independents

Two Arizona political strategists said U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's switch from the Democratic Party to independent status took courage but only time will tell whether it hurts her career.
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Phoenix mother chooses midwife over hospital for second birth