The Birth Center Difference
What Makes Breath of Life Different?
In 2012, Breath of Life became Florida’s very first birth center to be nationally-accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers. We are still the ONLY accredited birth center in the Tampa Bay area, and just one of two in the entire state (the other is at UF Health North in Jacksonville).
Being accredited means we have high-level standards to meet and maintain when it comes to client care and patient safety. We use the best practices in maternity care, and our Certified Nurse-Midwives, birth and midwife assistants have the proper training and equipment in the event that labor turns into a medical situation. These high standards are why nearly 1,000 clients have trusted us with their prenatal care and labor experience since 2007.
All Are Welcome Here
Everyone is welcome at Breath of Life. We are a Christian-based birth center, and our staff will pray with anyone at any time, but we welcome women and families of all faiths and cultural backgrounds.
The Midwives Model of Care:
What’s different about a birth center is that we approach pregnancy, labor and birth using the Midwives Model of Care, a fundamentally different method than the Medical Model of Care. We believe that pregnancy and birth are normal, healthy experiences for the overwhelming majority of women, and that most are able to successfully labor and give birth without medical intervention or interference, given the right atmosphere, preparation and support.
At Breath of Life, the woman is the central focus: her good health is promoted throughout her pregnancy, she feels free and safe in her birth environment, and her natural birth efforts are supported. This care promotes feelings of great satisfaction and empowerment for the mom.
Research finds that four factors make the greatest contribution to a woman’s satisfaction in childbirth:
- Good support from her caregiver
- Personal involvement in making decisions about her care
- Having better-than-expected experiences in pregnancy and labor
Our care is driven by the recognition that vivid and accurate memories of childbirth experiences endure throughout a woman’s life
What We Believe
We uphold the Midwives Model of Care which is woman-centered and proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma and cesarean section. Within this model of care:
We focus on health, wellness and prevention
Pregnancy, labor and birth are normal and natural physiological processes
We rarely need to use interventions
Mother gives birth naturally
Care is individualized based on the woman’s preferences
This philosophy of care treats pregnancy and birth as natural occurrences – not as medical events. Our midwives support physiologic childbirth and the normal hormonally-driven processes of labor, birth, breastfeeding and bonding. Studies have shown that women who receive this type of care are much less likely to rely on pain medications and other interventions.
It’s A Family Affair!
Dads, partners and little ones are always welcome to join you at your prenatal appointments. During labor, mom can invite anyone she chooses to be with her and support her in labor. After birth, mom and dad/partner remain together during their entire stay, which is usually 4-6 hours after birth, so they can begin to form that special new bond with their baby immediately. We also offer nutrition and exercise counseling, which can be a way for the whole family to create healthy new habits. Our birth, newborn care classes, breastfeeding classes, and support groups help pregnant and new moms and dads/partners to participate fully in their pregnancy, labor and birth and to enjoy their new role as parent.
The Medical Model of Care
The Medical Model of Care is resource and technology intensive, where obstetric specialists practice the external management of childbirth.
Within this model of care:
• There is a focus on managing problems and complications
• Labor/birth is dependent on technology
• There are higher rates of using interventions
• An obstetrician delivers the baby, either vaginally or by cesarean
• Care is routinized
Studies show that this model of care for a low-risk woman can create a distorted understanding of childbirth at a time when things are likely to go wrong and intensive medical management is required. However, this model works well for women who have known medical conditions, are considered high-risk, or who have a complication of pregnancy or labor.
Breath of Life has a healthy relationship with the physicians and staff at Morton Plant, our closest hospital, which is just a few minutes away. This facilitates an easy transfer for the small percentage of pregnant or laboring clients who need to transfer from the midwife model to the medical model for her and her baby’s health and safety.