Newswise — Dominga Gomez Lozano and her younger sister, Leticia, are quite close. They share a lot in common, and most recently shared the same method for childbirth—using a certified nurse-midwife and enrollment in a prenatal group program.

In 2013, Dominga, 30, delivered her daughter, Jade, using a nurse-midwife at Harris Health System’s Ben Taub Hospital with prenatal care visits at Vallbona Health Center. It was an experience that resonated with Leticia, 28, who also opted to deliver her daughter, Yulyana, in 2014 at Ben Taub Hospital.

A nurse-midwife is an option for expectant mothers at Harris Health. Women determined to be low-risk pregnancies are given this option. Certified nurse-wives at Harris Health are members of, and certified by, the American College of Nurse-Midwives. They can provide women a full range of primary healthcare services, including routine gynecological checkups, contraceptive management, prenatal and postpartum care, and delivery of babies in a hospital.

“My first child was delivered by a doctor, but when I learned more about midwives, l liked how easy it was to talk to them about my worries and concerns,” Dominga says. “My midwife spent a lot of time with me and showed she really cared. So when Leticia thought about her delivery, I told her to use my midwife and was happy she did.”

Both sisters also enrolled in Harris Health’s CenteringPregnancy®, a program that combines health assessment, education and support for expectant mothers in a group setting. Eight to 12 women of similar gestational age meet for 10 sessions (two hours each) throughout their pregnancy for prenatal checkups and opportunities to talk about their pregnancy or concerns. After delivery, they also gather to talk about their babies and share their experiences.

Mary Traub, advanced practice registered nurse, certified nurse-midwife and director, Midwifery Section, Ben Taub Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine, saw both sisters at Vallbona and was instrumental in helping them have successful deliveries at the hospital.

“Midwives are an appealing option for women who want a more individualized, less routine approach to childbirth than a traditional obstetrician delivery,” she says. “Midwives help women learn about the physical and emotional changes they go through during pregnancy and teach them how to maintain good health habits for a successful delivery. By using CenteringPregnancy®, we’re able to create a dynamic atmosphere where women learn and share concerns to help them get through their pregnancy."

Leticia was sold on Traub from the beginning.

“I was able to go with my sister to her clinic visits and see first-hand the group of pregnant mothers sharing their stories,” she says. “It was going to be my first baby, so I knew I wanted a midwife and to be a part of a group like that.”

Harris Health has a robust midwifery program with certified and highly-degreed experts from Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. The system has seven CenteringPregnancy® locations across the county.

In the U.S., certified nurse-midwifes delivered 313,846 babies in 2012, representing 7.9 percent of all births in the country, according to most recent figures by the National Center for Health Statistics. In 2014, Harris Health midwifes delivered more than 800 babies at Ben Taub and Lyndon B. Johnson hospitals.

For more information on the nurse midwifery program and other birthing options at Harris Health System, visit Women and Infant Services.