Certified nurse midwives Julie McCarron (left) and Dana Whittaker (right) talk with visitors during an open house held Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019 at the Homer Medical Center West Wing on Bartlett Street in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Certified nurse midwives Julie McCarron (left) and Dana Whittaker (right) talk with visitors during an open house held Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019 at the Homer Medical Center West Wing on Bartlett Street in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

West Wing of Homer Medical Center hosts open house

Homer Medical Center’s West Wing moved into a building that was formerly a home across Bartlett Street from the main center campus eight years ago. They held an open house on Saturday as a way to remind the public of their location and services.

There, families were able to meet with the care team to ask questions, tour the facility and get professional photos of their children or family taken.

The West Wing’s health team of four certified nurse midwives and an OB/GYN not only provide prenatal care for expecting mothers and help with Homer’s births, but also provide post-partum care for moms and babies, as well as general wellness exams for women. They serve children up to 3 years old.

Homer’s model for delivering children has been different from the get go. The certified nurse midwife program was started in the 1980s, before there was even an OB/GYN serving the community. The nurse midwives at the open house said this model not only has better health outcomes for parents and children, but better satisfaction outcomes. It’s the combination of more relaxed, choice-centered care during birth, but in a hospital setting, that makes it a good option, they said.

Doctors and OB/GYNs at the hospital are on hand and close by should mothers need any medical attention, but the nurse midwives are there to make sure that mothers feel comfortable and that the birth experience is personalized and thoughtful. Nurse midwives, as opposed to midwives, also have to have a certain level of medical training, which makes them more versatile.

The hospital in conjunction with the nurse midwives of the West Wing began offering water births about four months ago, said Derotha Ferraro, director of public relations and marketing for the hospital. This is in addition to the options currently offered at the hospital’s birthing center, and is available for women who meet certain standards (i.e., those who are not high risk pregnancies).

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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