Seton starts new partnership with midwives

For parents-to-be some big questions you ask yourself include where do you deliver and will you use drugs or have a natural birth.

Starting Wednesday, Seton Medical Center is offering more options by partnering with the Austin Area Birthing Center so midwives can deliver babies at the hospital.

When Bernadette Piñon was pregnant with Genevieve the hospital was the last place she wanted to deliver.  Her plan was a natural birth at a birthing center.  But then she had complications.

“When it was laid out that I was going to have to be induced and come to the hospital I was just heartbroken,” said Bernadette Piñon, Austin Mom.

But thanks to a new partnership between the Austin Area Birthing Center and Seton, Bernadette’s midwife Joan was able to deliver the baby instead of the doctor.

“The amazing thing is I don’t have to give up the care of my client, just because they have to go to the hospital,” said Joan Doglio Smith, Nurse Midwife.

Joan’s goal was to recreate the experience of a birthing center inside the hospital room with the birthing ball and wireless monitors so Bernadette could move.

“I was walking around, I was squatting, I had so much movement that people were just moving out of my way,” said Piñon.

The idea for the partnership was born from seeing mom’s disappointed that their midwife could only act as a Doula or someone to just support them during labor and not actually deliver the child inside the hospital.

“What we’ve tried to do is make this a smoother transition,” said Dr. John Loyd, Neonatologist, Seton Medical Center.

And it turned out a hospital birth was a good thing for Genevieve when the nurse discovered her heart rate was low.

“The heart, the liver, the spleen, the stomach was all flipped, like a mirror image,” said Piñon.

Thankfully it won’t cause complications for the baby.  And for mom and dad the birth of their second daughter was the experience they wanted in just a different setting.

“There’s so much peace for me knowing that I could have this kind of birth here considering all that went on,” said Piñon.

Because of this partnership midwives will now have privileges at Seton that not only let them deliver the baby but also allow them to prescribe medicine and let their patient move around the room.

In some cases the doctor never enters the room to allow for little intervention.

The Saint David’s Women’s Center of Texas also offers this same service through the OBGYN North practice that started in 2008.  It’s made up of four doctors and six certified nurse midwives.

Those midwives go through seven years of training to be qualified to deliver babies and can do everything a physician does except for C-sections and other birth-related surgeries. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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