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Midwifery: From Conception to Delivery

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Stories of Patient Power, by Andrew Schorr

Midwives are health care professionals who provide care for women throughout the lifespan, often with a particular focus on the childbearing years. All midwives at UC San Diego Health System are certified nurse-midwives, registered nurses with advanced training in obstetrical and gynecological care. Rita Wagner, a midwife at UC San Diego's Birth Center, joins this unique Patient Power program to help listeners understand the benefit of having a midwife during childbearing years and beyond. Loralyn Cross, one of Rita’s patients, joins the hour to share her intimate experience of delivering a healthy baby girl, with her midwife, Rita, by her side.

Loralyn, a 27-year-old mother from Tierrasanta, California, describes her experience of giving birth at the Birth Center in May of 2009. Loralyn delivered a beautiful baby girl named Aurora. Experiencing birth and all the emotion that accompanies this time in a woman's life was all Loralyn wanted to experience. After seeking care from another medical center, Loralyn decided she wanted a more personalized approach to care. After switching to UC San Diego about halfway through her pregnancy, Loralyn decided she wanted to have Aurora in the Birth Center. Loralyn describes her family as “sort” of a UC San Diego family; she also works as an administrative specialist for the Dean's Office in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Read or listen to more of Loralyn’s story and learn how this experience forever changed her and her family.

Nurse Rita talks about prenatal care received from midwives and standards of care that doctors and midwives use throughout the country. She also talks about what makes midwifery care unique, the individual attention given to each patient, their concerns, and their expectations throughout the pregnancy and birth.

In eight years, the UC San Diego midwives have attended over 8,000 births, more than one-third of all the babies born in the facility. If you are thinking about having a child, learn how places like the Birth Center are providing home-like settings for expectant mothers and sharing a common philosophy of family-centered, woman-centered care for families.

bullet Read Loralyn Cross's birth story

This 30-Minute Program Features:

  • Rita Wagner, CNM, NP, MS, RN, BSN
    Nurse Midwifery
    University of California San Diego Health System

    Rita always knew she wanted to be a nurse so she could work with people to make their lives better. Rita is originally from the Central Valley of California. There she grew to enjoy and respect the Latino population. In nursing school she participated in the San Lucas Toliman Child Health Project in Guatemala, where she was able to work along side certified and traditional midwives, administering care to pregnant women and assisting in labors. It was here that she decided that midwifery was what truly filled her soul. After completing her schooling in San Francisco, she moved to Latin America and worked among underserved populations and traditional midwives. Here she continued her quest for knowledge of women's health, pregnancy and birth. After two years collecting experience with natural birth, herbal medicine and other cultural mores, Rita returned to California. Rita believes every woman deserves a unique and memorable pregnancy and birth experience. She is honored to be a part of these special moments in time.
  • Loralyn Cross
    Gave birth at the UCSD Birth Center

    Loralyn, a 27 year-old mother from Tierrasanta, California, describes her experience of giving birth at UCSD Birth Center. Experiencing birth and all the emotion that accompanies this time in a woman's life, was all Loralyn wanted to experience. After seeking care from another medical center, Loralyn decided she wanted a more personalized approach in care. After switching to UCSD about halfway through her pregnancy, Loralyn decided she wanted to have Aurora in the Birth Center. Loralyn started seeing Rita Wagner, a midwife from the Birth Center who was recommended to her. Loralyn was astonished at how kind and caring Rita was. "She made me feel comfortable with everything going on, and I felt that she really cared for me and my pregnancy on a personal level; that she wasn’t just a “health care provider” doing her job." Loralyn describes her family as “sort” of a UCSD family; she also works at UCSD as an administrative specialist for the Dean's Office in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. In May of 2009, Loralyn delivered a beautiful baby girl named Aurora.

    In Loralyn’s own words: “I can't even express my gratitude to the Birth Center staff, who did such an incredible job, or to UCSD for offering such a wonderful program like the Birth Center for people like me who want that kind of experience.”

bullet Listen to the Audio Program (you will be taken to the Patient Power website)

bullet Read Transcript