Can I Have an Epidural at the Birth Center?

Can I Have an Epidural at the Birth Center?

Can I Have an Epidural at the Birth Center?

If you or someone close to you has ever experienced a hospital birth, you have probably heard of an epidural.


What is an epidural?


An epidural is a surgical procedure that involves inserting a needle into your lower spine, through which a catheter is passed that pumps pain relief medication directly into your spine to block pain pathways.


Like every other surgical procedure, an epidural also has benefits and risks and needs to be performed by an expert anesthetist. It is a sensitive procedure and needs to be carried out under sterile conditions to avoid any risk of infection. 


What are the risks of an epidural? 


Some risks of epidural insertion include infection, incorrect insertion, bleeding, extreme headaches, among others. Patients receiving an epidural must be closely monitored for such effects since they must be managed in time to avoid serious repercussions.


What are the benefits of an epidural? 


Some benefits of an epidural are obvious. Since it blocks the pain receptors from the lower back down, it creates a band of numbness that takes away the pressure and uncomfortable feelings women experience during labor. It can provide relief when exhausted mothers are in need of a break during a strenuous labor. 


Can I have an epidural at the birth center?


While a birth center has many options for pain relief, it differs from a hospital setting. We do not have the same facilities and equipment as a hospital and rely on natural methods to administer care.


We are not able to offer any narcotic pain relief methods at a birth center since you need to monitor their side effects and manage them accordingly. We also believe in the natural ability of a woman’s body to birth their baby. 


We do not offer epidurals since we don’t have the equipment or the expertise to administer it. We also don’t have the facilities to effectively manage risks associated with epidural administration.


What can I do instead?


While we can’t give you an epidural, we do provide other tools to help you cope with labor pain:


Water immersion


Immersing your body in water during labor helps take off some of the pressure from your lower back and eases labor pain. The buoyancy also helps you relax by providing a soothing environment.


Freedom of movement


Unlike a hospital, you don’t need to be confined to a hospital bed and have the freedom to move around your birthing suite. Try different yoga or workouts that are known to help with labor pains.


Eating and drinking


Since we are doing everything naturally, there is no reason you need to restrict eating or drinking. You can always take food or drinks that will help you relax.




You have the opportunity to bring in a doula or whoever else you want in your birth suite to provide you with comfort.


If you are interested in learning more about unmedicated childbirth in a birth center setting, send us a message

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Amber Gaddy Stone Oak

Amber Gaddy


In 2014, during the pregnancy of her first child, Amber got to experience midwifery care first-hand. The midwives who cared for her and her unborn child during pregnancy changed her life. Their loving guidance showed Amber that she too wanted to be a midwife and be able to offer families the same gentle, supportive care that she received. Following the powerful homebirth of her first child, Amber continued to work as a doula and prepare for midwifery school. She began her formal education in 2018 with Midwives College of Utah and in 2019, began her apprenticeship with the San Antonio Birth Center and four amazing preceptors.

During her apprenticeship, Amber assisted at and was the primary midwife under supervision of over 100 births with SABC. During this time, she also found a moment to give birth to her second baby. In June of 2021, she completed her apprenticeship and, in the fall of 2021, became nationally certified and licensed by the state of Texas. When Amber is not practicing midwifery, she spends time with her two beautiful children and her husband of 9 years, Devon.

Christy Rodriguez Stone Oak_upscale 2

Christina Rodriguez

Office Manager

Christy is a passionate birth doula, animal lover, and artist.  She graduated from Butler University in 2022 with a degree in Psychology.  After worrying that she would never find a job she truly enjoyed, Christy is overjoyed to have found Birth Center Stone Oak. “As the office manager, I have been gifted the opportunity to learn and grow personally and professionally while also forming meaningful connections with great people.” Working in a birth center setting is one step in her dream to pursue career in birth work. Since starting here in March of 2023, Christy has absolutely fallen in love with the clients and staff and can’t imagine herself working anywhere else.


Angela Gurno, MS, LPC, NCC


Working in the counseling field is a blessing to me, as is working with Birth Center Stone Oak. I previously had a private practice here in San Antonio and before that, I was fortunate to have several years experience in a broad variety of mental health and substance abuse settings.

My involvement with Birth Center Stone Oak began in 2012, and is close to my heart, not only because of the excellent work they are doing, but because being a parent myself, I know how important it is to have the right kind of support and understanding through this journey. Due to the change in dynamics within yourself, your family and especially physically to your body, there are sometimes issues that may arise where you need guidance and resources before and after the birth process. Oftentimes we do need help to work through these difficulties in order to rebalance families, enhance our coping skills and thoughts, and increase our ability to enjoy and live life fully.


Angelina Artho D.C.


Angie Artho, D.C. has been a chiropractor for over 10 years and loves to provide natural chiropractic care especially to children and pregnant women. Her specialization has allowed her to see the tremendous healing ability of these young bodies.

Dr. Artho attended Texas A&M University and received her bachelor’s degree in Agronomy in August 1999. After marrying and learning more about chiropractic she decided to pursue this great career and graduated from Parker College of Chiropractic (now Parker University) in January of 2004. Since then she has been delivering loving chiropractic care to countless patients.

She is married to Damian Artho, D.C. (Parker 2003) and has four kids, Allison, John, Nathan, and Aaron. A San Antonio native, she returned home over 4 years ago.

To book an appointment with Dr. Angie call 210-434-5772.

Dr. Angie’s schedule at Birth Center Stone Oak:

1st Monday of the Month 2 – 6 p.m.

The rest of the month are Wed, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.


Joi Brock, LM, CPM

Consultant Midwife

After my youngest became more independent, I knew it was time to start preparing for the next stage of my life. I had a strong desire to serve women and to offer services that would support her experience in pregnancy and birth. It was a natural transition to care for women as they traveled their own path of bringing their children into the world.

I began working with expecting families in 1998 as a birth doula, childbirth educator and licensed massage therapist, specializing in maternal and newborn care. In January of 2004 I began my midwifery apprenticeship training and had the amazing opportunity of “catching” first baby!  Upon completion of my educational and clinical training I sat for my national exam, and in February of 2006 received my Certified Professional Midwife certificate.  In June of that same year, received my state licensure as a Licensed Midwife in Texas. From massage therapy to childbirth educator to doula and finally to midwifery – each journey added to the skills and information I could share with mothers and their families; to benefit them as they walked their own path through pregnancy and birth.

Over these years I have attended over 750 births – each being unique and amazing. My philosophy is to return honor, respect and empowerment back to where it has always belonged – to the mother!

Through my journey as a midwife, I knew there needed to be a place for women and their families to have care on their terms – and thus Birth Center Stone Oak was born.  I am honored to be a part of the care families are offered by midwives at Birth Center Stone Oak. It is always a miracle to watch as a woman and her family work together to bring a new life into the world. Their love, commitment and amazing power can be felt at each birth.

  • Licensed Midwife since 2006
  • Nationally Certified Professional Midwife
  • Birth Doula and childbirth educator since 1998
  • Preceptor for the ATM Midwifery Training Program
  • Preceptor for the Midwifery College of Utah
  • Preceptor for North American Registry of Midwives
  • Board Member of the Association of Texas Midwives
  • Lifetime member of San Antonio Area Midwives Association
  • Member of Texas Coalition of Birth Centers
  • Member of American Association of Birth Centers

Jordan Brown, LM, CPM


Growing up, I knew I wanted to help others. I wasn’t sure how, but going to nursing school was somewhere I knew I could start. I absolutely loved it and have worked in several areas, each field giving me new inspiration and passion for educating families and their support systems. In 2017 my husband and I welcomed our daughter into the world.when we began our family, I knew we were going to want an out-of-hospital experience, so we sought out the midwives here at Birth Center Stone Oak.

In my 41 weeks of pregnancy, I was more educated about my body and the process of pregnancy than I ever was during my entire nursing education. In 2017 my husband and I welcomed our daughter into the world and then 14 months later we said hello to our son. Each of the pregnancies and births were so different, yet there was consistency in the quality of wisdom and care provided to me and my family.

To say I was inspired is an understatement! I began my apprenticeship here at the birth center in 2019. Since then I am state licensed, nationally certified. I have attended countless births and supported families , attended breech trainings, become a member of the Association of Texas Midwives, and fallen absolutely in love with this “job”.

I believe that birth is a powerful moment, not only in a woman’s life, but for the whole family, and should be given the respect as such. When a woman looks back on this amazing work of birth she has done, it should be filled with memories of empowerment, respect and growth. It is my mission as a midwife to educate, empower, and encourage families as they walk their journey of bringing a new baby into their lives.

Erika headshot

Erika Brown, LM, CPM

Clinical Director

After becoming a direct entry midwife in 2006, Erika founded and ran a home birth practice in Ohio for 8 years.  In 2013, she sat for the NARM CPM exam, receiving the credential of Certified Professional Midwife. Her license to practice midwifery from the state of Texas was awarded in 2014 when the decision was made to relocate to San Antonio. Erika’s involvement with Birth Center Stone Oak began in 2017 as a staff midwife and has evolved into being the owner and Clinical Director.

As a midwife, Erika has special interests in VBACs. breech birth, and water birth. She has attended nearly 1000 births. Every midwifery situation is approached with a foundational belief that birth works. Erika works to help parents become strong in knowledge and choice so they can in turn create strong families.  Because Erika believes that each family is unique, she can help you create a custom birth experience you will always remember.

Erika has 6 children ranging in age from 11 to 24 as well as two step children. Five of her children were born at home in water. When not practicing midwifery, Erika likes to spend her free time homeschooling children, attending Taekwondo tournaments, and cooking.

  • 2006 – Graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Michigan School of Traditional Midwifery
  • 2011 – Received breech birth and VBAC training at The Farm Midwifery Center in Summertown, Tennessee
  • 2015 – Sat on the Ad hoc Water Birth Committee for the state of Texas
  • 2019 – Breech Without Borders breech training
  • 2020 – Reteach Breech and Gold Learning Breech Birth
  • 2022 – Certified Lactation Counselor
  • Maintains membership in the Association of Texas Midwives and San Antonio Area Midwives Association