University of South Alabama

According to Cynthia Messer, a certified nurse-midwife with the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, the birth of your child is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and planning that reflects your personal preferences helps make the birth a positive memory that lasts a lifetime.

“Birth outcomes impact the way a mother feels about herself and her ability to parent her newborn,” she said. “Empowerment comes from partnering with a provider to plan your health care.”

As a midwife, Messer believes in the body’s ability to give birth. She sees birth as a natural process and encourages women to personalize their own birth plan.

During her patients’ first visit, Messer said she takes a comprehensive medical history, performs a physical exam, discusses birth preferences, and answers any questions. She also discusses exercise, healthy eating habits, and recommends child birth classes and other birth resources.

Messer said choosing a midwife versus an ob-gyn is a matter of personal preference. However, some patients who are pregnant with other co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease must also be under the care of a physician.

“The team approach is critical,” Messer said. “Midwives take care of routine, healthy pregnancies but certainly recognize when they are moving out of ‘normal’ into an area that needs consultation with a physician or co-management with the MD team.”

According to Messer, one advantage of choosing to use the midwifery services at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is that the entire continuum of care – from very basic and hands off to extremely high risk management – is all available within the same team. “When you enter at the midwifery level you still have access to all levels of care if complications do arise,” Messer said.

Another advantage of delivering at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is the option to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean section – a procedure where a baby is delivered through an incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. Messer said vaginal delivery lowers the risk of increased scarring and chronic pelvic pain that may occur after multiple cesarean sections.

“Many women have cesarean sections for breech or fetal distress, which still gives the option of a non-operative delivery for future pregnancies,” Messer said. “At USA, we have 24-hour obstetrics coverage and anesthesia coverage so that women can have a trial of labor.”

According to Messer, it is particularly important for women to have a care provider that believes they can complete the natural birthing process.

“Our children are precious,” Messer added. “The memory of their birth is important for women and will be relived and shared for a lifetime.”

In addition to pregnancy services, Messer also offers preconception planning, birth control counseling, and perimenopausal and menopausal assessment and counseling.

To make an appointment with Messer, call (251) 415-1496.


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