Largo, FL: Breath of Life Women’s Health and Birth Center has expanded its license with the Agency for Health Care Administration and is now a Health Care Clinic in addition to being a licensed birth center. This means that Breath of Life’s Certified Nurse Midwives can now offer prenatal and postpartum care to healthy, low-risk women in the Tampa Bay area who had a previous cesarean birth and who would like to have a Trial of Labor After a Cesarean (TOLAC) at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater.
“This is a big deal for women in our community who had a cesarean and who would like to do everything they can to avoid a repeat cesarean,” said Vikki Bennett, Clinical Director and Certified Nurse-Midwife at Breath of Life. “They will be cared for by midwives and staff who fully support them in their goal to have a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, or VBAC. There aren’t a lot of providers in this area who give their clients the option of a TOLAC so this will be welcome news to women who had a cesarean, especially if it was unplanned.”
Women who receive their prenatal care at Breath of Life will have their regular visits with a Certified Nurse-Midwife, but they will also meet at least once during their pregnancy with a physician from the OB Hospitalist Group at Morton Plant to ensure they are a good candidate for a TOLAC and a possible VBAC. To be considered for care, a woman must be low-risk, have had no more than one cesarean and be fewer than 28 weeks pregnant.
There is a high demand for TOLAC options for women because, according to the Centers for Disease Control, about 25% of low-risk, first-time mothers are likely to have a Cesarean birth (based on 2015 data, the most recent year for statistics). More than 25,000 women gave birth in Pinellas County in 2015, 6,400 of the by Cesarean birth. Many of those women will not have access to a caregivers who supports a TOLAC, leaving them no choice but to opt for a repeat Cesarean birth which carries high risks for the mother and the baby, both short and long term.
“We want to give women in our community the option to forego major abdominal surgery for a second time and offer the possibility of a VBAC,” said Executive Director Glenda Pearson. “We are really excited to be able to provide exceptional prenatal and postpartum care to support women as they plan for a TOLAC and VBAC. It’s our relationship with Morton Plant’s OB Hospitalists that is key to the success of this program. This is the model of care we envisioned and now it’s coming to fruition.”
About Breath of Life:
Breath of Life provides women in the Tampa Bay area with a safe alternative to traditional medical care before, during and after their childbearing years. Staffed by award-winning Certified Nurse-Midwives, Breath of Life is Florida’s only nationally-accredited free-standing birth center. It offers exceptional care for women who are seeking a natural pregnancy, labor and birth experience, as well as for women who want personal care and attention for their wellness visits. Breath of Life follows the Midwives Model of Care and has welcomed more than 1,000 babies into the world since it opened in 2007.