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Oklahoma midwives see spike in demand as future moms avoid hospitals

KTUL - Midwives, Tyler
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After 43 years as a midwife and almost 3,000 deliveries, Ruth Cobb has never seen anything like this.

"This is a world situation, and midwives around the world are dealing with the same thing," said Cobb, who owns Special Delivery Midwifery Care.

That thing is a sudden increase in demand for their services, as expecting moms try to avoid hospitals.

"Home births have been around for thousands of years. We're more educated now, we know better how to take care of women safely. It's a viable option," Cobb said.

Robin O'Shea was originally planning her May delivery date as a natural birth in a hospital. Until she was told she could only have one person at the hospital with her.

"I already don't want to be near a hospital during all of this, so not being able to also have a doula, that was just too much for me. That's why I was like I need to look into a birthing center at this point," O'Shea said.

O'Shea got in touch with Cobb and it was a perfect fit, but that's not the case with every person who calls.

"Anybody who might have heart disease, or we don't tend to deliver breach at home or high risk women. We go through all their histories, I get a copy of all their prenatal records," Cobb said.

If you were planning on an epidural, Cobb would turn you down.

But doctors at OU Medicine say even in this climate, a hospital is your best bet.

"In terms of risk for complications to mom and for baby, that's not a good idea," said Dr. Rodney Edwards, chief of maternal-fetal medicine at OU Medicine. "The place to have your baby is in the hospital if you want to decrease as low as possible the risk of complications."

Still, O'Shea is confident in her choice.

"I am. I feel really really good about it, and it felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders when we did switch because this is exactly what I'm wanting with what I can get right now."

Cobb says throughout the birthing process, they are constantly monitoring the mother's vitals, and in case of emergency are prepared to take them to the hospital.

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