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

Updated: Aug. 15, 2022 at 8:30 AM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Expectant moms have options on where to deliver like 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 in Panama City is the only birthing center in the area between Tallahassee and Pensacola.

“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 said the center provides a patient-centered approach to 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 saw a need for different birthing options in the Panhandle and tackled it head-on.

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

She spent time as an Active-Duty Critical Care Nurse in the Army, 14 years as an ICU Trauma Nurse, and then worked in the COVID ICU to save money to open this birth center. Amber Bryant, a Registered Nurse, has also helped Smith with this center. She says a huge plus at Birth Your Way is consistency in care and having the same provider throughout the pregnancy.

“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 served expecting mothers for one year and has delivered about 30 babies. Smith plans to keep moms and their babies healthy and happy for years to come.

If you would like to find out more information about Birth Your Way or schedule an appointment you can call them at 850-481-1209.

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