Birth Options in North East Florida

There are many birth options in our area, we have several wonderful CPM’s in North East Florida under my resource page
I list all our amazing midwives if you should choose a homebirth or a birth center birth. The original local birth center, Fruitful Vine, Jacksonville and St. Augustine have expanded to include — in order of opening doors —Growing Families Midwifery and Birth Center in St. Augustine and Birth Center of Jacksonville.
 This coming spring (2015), Jacksonville adds a new birthing location, UF Health North that will service Jacksonville, Yulee, Fernandina, and South Georgia.
**Edited to update the first birth at UF Health North!
But if you prefer a hospital birth we also have a few good options. It pays to be informed of all your choices.
In Jacksonville:
How does a hospital show they are serious about giving mothers evidence-based postpartum care?  They undertake a national Baby-Friendly Certification that tells the whole-wide-world what they are about! We are so proud that both Naval Air Station (NAS) Hospital Jacksonville and St. Vincent’s Southside have publicly made the commitment to give mothers and babies their best chance at establishing breastfeeding by focusing all their energy behind this important task.
The last 2 years have been a particularly exciting time in our St. Augustine birth community
 I have personally seen this busy tourist town  experience a  shift from the traditional birth scenario of obstetrician/hospital birth/high intervention rates to a broader range of choices for expectant mothers.  The groundwork laid by the events above and mothers having access to more and better information is driving our community forward.
I was a doula for one of the local nurses at Flagler Hospital for her successful VBAC and that helped set the path for them see how well a doula can work together as a team. I was also invited to participate in their hospital childbirth class.    Flagler Hospital has dedicated one room of their Labor and Delivery unit as a low intervention room, giving parents confidence that — at least in that space — they will not be pressured to take part in unnecessary procedures. I have been approached several times for continued input on this room and practices at Flagler Hospital.  Twice this past year I have been asked to set up a meeting with local doulas and the nurses at the hospital for input on how we can all work better together to help women get the birth they want in a hospital setting. We have expectant women drive from Jacksonville to deliver at Flagler Hospital for the low intervention room. But also for  another reason.
Wireless Fetal Monitoring!
No one should have to be stuck in the bed… especially when your body is demanding you move your baby down.Gravity is your friend! Wireless fetal monitoring allows laboring mothers to be in constant movement until baby is born.  Two local hospitals have recently pioneered this technology: Flagler Hospital here in St. Augustine and Baptist Beaches in Jacksonville.
C-section Reduction Initiative 
The national organization that accredits hospitals and seeks to ensure policy is evidence-based and not simply routine, the Joint Commission(formerly “JCAHO”), implemented an initiative effective January 1, 2014 that requires hospitals with 1,100 births or more per year to strive to reduce cesarean rates for first-time moms.  This directive acknowledges the alarming 30%+ c-section rates at hospitals around the country and seeks to halt and reverse the trend.
The impact of the c-section reduction initiative has yet to be felt here locally, but I  believe it is on the horizon.
 I  have been present again and again where OB’s and nurses — even those uncomfortable with natural birth — have been awed by an unmedicated mother and partnered with us to fulfill her dream rather than hinder it.
Doulas in cesareans and recovery:
The final frontier for doulas is remaining with couples during their cesarean.  Giving comfort and guidance during a scary major surgery could mean the difference between a satisfying birth and a traumatic one.  Last year I was permitted in recovery with a mom to help her get her baby breastfeeding . I have only had two clients in all my years as a doula that had a cesarean .
The sanctity of the first few moments following birth are critical, and abruptly separating what was a complete unit just seconds before opens the door to feelings not easily erased.


  1. Glad to see some great options for the families in your community!

Comments are closed