Northwest Austin TX: Questions about Obstetricians, birthing centers, and hospitals (Seton NW, Seton Central, St. Davids NW Women Center); Please help - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: If you had to deliver at one of the following hospitals, which one would you choose
St. David's Women Center (off of Mopac, affiliated with St. David's North Austin Medical Center) 5 50.00%
Seton Northwest Hospital (off of Research BlvD) 1 10.00%
Seton Medical Center Austin (off of 35th Street) 4 40.00%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 9 Old 03-21-2010, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been living in Austin for about a year and been seeing an internist for my woman well care needs. Well, on Wednesday I got a bfp . This is a long post, so I thank you soo much in advance for reading (and hopefully commenting).

This would be our first baby, so hubby and I are still trying to figure out everything. Unfortunately, we don't have any family or close friends out here, and since we don't want to tell anyone until at least after the 1st trimester (well we told our parents ), I really really need help finding a practitioner and birthing facility.

Initially, I thought I wanted a hospital birth, but after reading about birthing centers, a birthing center is sort of appealing to me. So I am open to a hospital birth or a birthing center ..I do want a natural birth, but I will admit the thought of the pain scares me. I am going to set up an appointment with Austin Area Birthing Center to tour their facilities. I'm not sure if DH would feel comfortable with us not being a hospital, but I think he may warm up to the idea.

I live in Northwest Austin, and we would like to chose a facility that is closer to home (no more than 30 min drive in rush hour). I don't have an OB/GYN right now (since I was seeing the internist). Since we don't have a dr, we figured that we could find try finding a hospital with good policies, and then find a doctor with hospital privledges there.

So here's my question, what do you think of the policies at Seton Medical Center, Seton NW, and St. Davids NW Women Center? If you delivered at one of these hospitals, what was your experience? Would you use them again? How was the rooms? Where you given a chance to hold your baby immediately after delivery? If you were like me, and picked the hospital first and then selected a dr, why did you chose the hospital you did?

Seton NW is the closest hospital to me. However, I read really good things about St. David's Women Center. Even more complicating, is that the OBs that my internist recommended only have hospital privledges at Seton Medical Center. So that is why I am so confused!

Also, if you have any reccomendations on other birthing center facilities other than AABC in Austin (preference is in central or NW austin), please let me know.

Oh, I should mention that my internist reccommended the following doctors/practices:
--any doctors at Women's Partner in Health, particularily Dr. Donnell Oliver and Dr. Nash
--Dr. Melissa Winn

From searching online, I read good things about the following doctors:
Dr. Tara Mills and Dr. Litzinger at the Renaissance Women Group
Dr. Mikeal Love
Dr. Christina Sebestyen and Dr. Andrea Campaigne at OB/GYN North

Of the doctors listed above, I would probably use the OB/GYN North Group, unless the Seton hospitals are better (the OB/GYN North only have hospital privledges at St. David's NW Women Center).

So once again, thanks for reading! I appreciate all and any advice.
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#2 of 9 Old 03-21-2010, 05:33 PM
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Hello mama and .

Just wanted to remind everyone that negative reviews need to be given via PM and not on the boards.

Thank you!

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#3 of 9 Old 03-22-2010, 04:51 PM
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I would not choose any of those hospitals. Your best option for you and the baby is a home birth midwife. There are a lot of fantastic ones in the area.

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#4 of 9 Old 03-24-2010, 10:14 PM
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If you want a natural birth, your best shot at having that is at home or at a free standing birth center. There are a ton of amazing midwives around Austin.
Birthwise is a really good birth center. It's north central.
Dr. Sebestyen and her partner Dr. Campagne are the only OBs I can think of in town who have a reputation of being actively natural birth friendly. They have the only hospital-based midwifery practice in town. I have a friend who birthed with them and had a very positive experience. That said, you're still in a hospital, with all the hospital policies that entails -- time limits on labor, IVs or at least hep-locks, and the biggest deal breaker in my opinion, no waterbirths allowed. Boo. Waterbirths are incredible for pain relief. So if I had a medically uncomplicated pregnancy, I would not birth at that practice for those reasons.

I don't know how much research and education you've already done about birth, so forgive me if I'm preaching to the choir. But if you're willing to take the time, there is so much to learn about birth and about your body. So much. And the majority of women don't take that time -- they just trust in their doctor to do the right thing. There's a great story published in the New York Times today about the fact that the C-section rate has reached a new high -- 32 percent. That's just staggering to me. One-third of babies delivered via major abdominal surgery. That's not because the surgery is needed -- it's because obstetric care in this country is in a true crisis, and bad policies abound in hospital delivery rooms.
The single best thing you can do is educate yourself as much as possible. The resources are out there. Henci Goer's book, A Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, is a good place to start. Also, the Ricki Lake documentary Business of Being Born is a good intro. And MDC is also a wealth of information. This is A Tale of Two Births, which might be illuminating.
Anyway, welcome to MDC, and good luck choosing a birth attendant that is right for you.

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007
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#5 of 9 Old 03-29-2010, 02:44 PM
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i have done alot of research about this one! i have doula and RN friends, so here it goes-
Seton hospitals are what is called "baby friendly" they do not take your baby away unless something is wrong. they do everything in the room. my first child was born at seton main. they never took him from me. they also dont offer pacis or bottles without your premission. whereas the st davids hospitals do. i have had many friends have many battles with breastfeeding at st davids hospitals. they also have a policy at st davids north of taking the baby out of the room for newborn exam and bath. no choice in that. if you have a c section they will not bring the baby into the recovery room. this is directly from an RN working there. we are also in north austin, and the reason i am going with seton main and not seton nothwest is because the main hospital is the one with a level 3 NICU. NW dosnt have that- they have a NICU transport team. they will trasnsport the baby to main if something goes wrong. after my last experience with my baby dying- directly a result from a homebirth midwife's negligence- i want to be as near to a NICU as possible.
the problem with midwifery in Austin is you have to choose flying without a parachute. none of the midwives who deliver at home or at birth centers have doctor back up- none. i learned that the hard way.
your best bet for a natural birth is getting a good doula.

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#6 of 9 Old 03-30-2010, 06:13 PM
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I like that NAMC has a practice that has midwives working with it... but not evey one is going to be a client of that practice. I like the nurses there in L&D. I have heard some iffy things about the pp unit.

I have not done a birth at seaton nw but I have heard that they have one on one nursing staff in L&D and that is pretty cool.

mom to four lively children. birth and postpartum doula. midwifery student. choosing to enjoy life. :
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#7 of 9 Old 04-01-2010, 03:45 PM
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If we have another baby, we are using the same OB--Dr. Swenson with Women Partners in Health. WPIH delivers only at Seton Central. I HIGHLY recommend the practice--I think all of the doctors are great.

During the birth of my son, I had a partial placenta abruption and had to be rushed to the OR for a C-section. Even though my son was healthy when they got him out, I felt some security knowing level III NICU was at the hospital.

Julie Hill
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#8 of 9 Old 04-01-2010, 09:04 PM
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you might also call each hospital and ask how many births they do each month. I believe that NAMC is at about 600 per mo. that is a lot of births for the nurses to handle.

mom to four lively children. birth and postpartum doula. midwifery student. choosing to enjoy life. :
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#9 of 9 Old 05-12-2014, 04:20 AM
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I would highly recommend Seton Medical Center Austin on 35th street! The policies are closely aligned with the ACOG and AWHONN guidelines. Seton Medical Center Austin has been recognized as one of the safest places to have your baby in America!

The current rate of incident-free deliveries is 99.98% !

Seton main (Medical Center Austin) has a policy of NO elective inductions prior to 39 weeks, and has the lowest rate of elective inductions after 39 weeks in the nation.

They are baby friendly and have achieved the designation by Texas Dept. of Health as a "Texas 10 Step" facility for it's support of breastfeeding. Stable infants are always allowed to stay in the room with their mothers following delivery, (even in the OR after a cesarean section, if stable. After assessment by the neonatal team, the baby is placed on it's mother's chest while her surgery is concluded. Afterward, mother, father and baby go into her recovery room together. The first breastfeeding generally occurs within the first hour of birth, whether delivery was vaginal or by c-section. (There are rare exceptions to this practice, but this is the normal routine). Breast-fed babies are never routinely supplimented with formula, sugar water, etc. Supplimentation is only done in medical necessity, and only with a doctor's order. Pacifiers are ONLY given at the parents' request. Seton even offers prenatal breastfeeding classes, which I highly recommend.

Seton Family of Hospitals received the Ernest Amory Codman Award for its work in reducing birth trauma from The Joint Commission, the nation’s predominant health care standards-setting and accrediting body.

Seton Medical Center Austin, University Medical Center Brackenridge and Seton Medical Center Williamson are the top three among 33 acute care hospitals for adults in the Austin metro area on U.S. News & World Report's highly regarded list of Best Hospitals for 2013-14. Only about 15 percent of hospitals are recognized for their high performance as being among their region's best. Just 3 percent of all hospitals earn a national ranking in any specialty," said Avery Comarow, U.S. News Health Rankings Editor.

Seton Family of Hospitals received first Maternity Matters Award for achievements in perinatal safety from Childbirth Connection, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of maternity care.

Seton Medical Center Austin recognized by area consumers with a 2013-2014 Consumer Choice Award as the top health care choice in Central Texas for the 18th year in a row.

In the unlikely event that your baby needs extra care, Seton Medical Center Austin has a level 3 NICU, the highest designation in Austin. A Level III NICU has around-the-clock staff pecially trained to care for premature and critically-ill newborns.

Seton Med. Center Austin DOES have midwives from the Austin Area Birthing Center who come here if you desire a midwife delivery. Doulas are also welcome, and can be instrumental in achieving a natural birth.

I know it sounds like I'm advertising, but I am not a marketer or public relations person for Seton. I am one of their labor and delivery nurses, and I am very proud of the care that we give our patients! I have worked at both Seton and St. David's North Austin Medical Center, and if I had a family member planning their delivery, I would whole-heartedly recommend Seton Medical Center Austin.

I cannot specifically recommend a particular OB group here, because that would be considered unethical. So, my recommendation is to meet with several and see who you feel might be a good fit.

Now, one more thing I'd like to talk to you about, is the one thing that I believe safety and common sense would advocate. I love natural labor, and want my moms to have the birth experience they invision. That said, the one stipulation I have is that they allow me to place a saline lock. The amount of discomfort involved is quite small and short in duration, similar to having your ears pierced, less traumatic than a bee sting. I know, I have had IV's myself. The procedure is not that big a deal. But that little access IV port can save you or your baby's life. It allows us to give fluids, meds, blood, whatever might be required for emergency interuterine rescusitation. If you were that rare patient who was having a placental abruption, or other emergency, we don't want to waste precious minutes trying to obtain IV access. When you weigh the little bit of discomfort against the greatly increased safety for you and your baby, I believe it will not be too much to ask. I can't speak for other nurses, but I personally would have to ask for a different assignment if my patient would not allow a saline lock.

Good luck on your search, I hope this has been helpful!
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