Giving Women a Choice

Midwifery Makes A Comeback

Sharon Foster, Sarah Gaul, Deidre DeGrado, and Cynthia Barger

When the show Call the Midwife premiered in the United States back in 2012, the use of midwifery services was a lost art. Since then, more women are choosing to use midwives for both home and hospital births.
Experienced Experts In Their Field
Wichita Birth Assistance has been serving women in the community since 2013. Two of the four Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) have over 20 years of experience, and the team has a combined experience of over 50 years. To receive CPM certification, the process takes several years to complete.
According to owner Deidre DeGrado, she decided to become a midwife after the tragic outcome of her sister’s delivery. “In 1991, my sister had a baby. Her labor was induced, and she experienced an amniotic embolism during the procedure. She died during the birth, and the baby suffered from severe cerebral palsy.” This motivated Deidre and set the trajectory for her life to find out, in her words, “What makes birth safe?” She had a home birth and felt called to this way of serving women. In 2015, Cynthia Barger became a certified midwife and joined Deidre as they opened WBA. It was her and Deidre’s goal to make midwifery more accessible for women in Wichita and strengthen the collaboration between women, the medical community, and themselves. Cynthia says, “So much of what we do in midwifery is education. Every woman deserves to have respect and support in their birthing experience.”
The other two midwives are Sarah Gaul, CPM, and Sharon Foster, a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) and CPM. A fifth midwife will join the team this fall. There are also two birth assistants on board. Collaboratively, the four midwives have delivered thousands of healthy babies. WBA has developed a close relationship with local obstetricians and hospitals in case complications develop. “The model for everybody who uses a midwife out of a hospital setting needs to be low-risk,” explains Deidre. “If they want or need a hospital birth, the midwife will come with them and be one who provides support to help them advocate for themselves regarding their birth plans, make suggestions for positions and pain management, and provide comfort and continuity in an unknown environment.”
The Midwife Difference
Wichita Birth Assistance provides well-woman check-ups, conception planning, and prenatal, labor, birth, and postpartum services that can stand alone. They also collaborate with and refer to other providers as needed, including OB consultations, lactation support, sonograms, and chiropractic care. Prenatal care includes monitoring for risk factors, taking vitals, performing labs, listening to the baby’s heartbeat, and counseling on diet and exercise. The difference most women love about midwives is it is done with a personalized holistic approach geared towards the health of both mom and baby that is educational, compassionate, and relational. Midwife Deidre states, “At WBA, informed consent and refusal is a priority, whether it be in pregnancy, birth, or newborn care."  
Although birth is a natural process, the more a woman understands the procedures, the more relaxed and comfortable she will be when giving birth. Wichita Birth Assistance also refers women to more in-depth childbirth classes than those typically offered in a hospital setting. This allows the client to be fully informed regarding interventions and options. These include preferences about birth positions, her husband and children present, choices about water birth, etc. During birth for pain management, there are modern methods to explore and implement like water immersion, relaxation, breathing techniques, mindfulness, and massage.
Midwifery care is a covered expense with some insurance companies, and Wichita Birth Assistance will work together with the client to file approved expenses. WBA offers all the Kansas-mandated tests offered in hospitals for the newborn and takes care of the birth certificate filing as well as the social security card for the baby.
“After having two children in a traditional hospital/OB setting, I knew that with our third child, I wanted more in terms of the prenatal care,” recalls Raegan Sowders, Publisher of Stroll LakePoint and Vickridge. “I was actually referred to WBA by a fellow friend and Lakepoint resident, Heather Chapman. She really helped me process what it would be like working with a midwife. I started working with Deidre and loved every bit of my prenatal and birth experience. The laid-back nature, the focus on whole-body health, nutrition, and the overall education were what I was looking for. But experiencing what giving birth is like with a midwife was hands down the absolute best! I was not only thrilled about the coaching and encouragement but the environment that she created. Deidre was amazing at knowing what I needed and helping me through the tough moments of giving birth. I was able to achieve going into labor naturally (unlike my other births) and also delivering our baby naturally (also a first). No matter whether you do a hospital birth (which we did) or an at-home birth, having a midwife like Deidre is an absolute must. I just wish I’d have found WBA sooner!”
Wichita Birth Assistance
105 S. Andover Road, Suite A