Alternate birthing options expand in West Michigan

Posted at 7:04 PM, Aug 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-18 14:22:00-04

WEST MICHIGAN. --The choice of alternate birthing options for mothers in West Michigan is expanding with two birthing centers recently popping up in the greater Grand Rapids area.

Local midwives say the need is there and it’s why they are working to bring choices to women in the area.

Midwives have always been around and according to the CDC; out-of-hospital births have been increasing since 2004 and only continue to rise. Its a need local midwives say they are seeing first hand, with their calendars already filling up.

From the outside it looks like just a house but at 915 Cherry St. in the East Hills neighborhood, it’s the first of its kind for the area, a birthing center.

Sara Badger who has been a midwife for years started Cedar Tree Birth and Wellness Center, equipped with a full apartment and a natural feel.

“There were very limited options, we had some really great hospitals but had an underground home birth community and didn’t really have any birth centers at all,” she said.

Located only miles away from the hospital Badger said its just what some are looking for. "Some people are too far away and not really good candidates for home birth because they live so far away that if we had emergency this gives them a middle place."

They just officially opened up this month and Badger says they already have one birth a month scheduled and a lot more interest.

Just about 30 miles north in Greenville, Certified Nurse Midwife Leslie Cornwell is putting the final touches on Midwifery Matters. “Just that happy balance between the medical and the natural mindset,” she said.

Her birthing center again just a few blocks away from the local hospital but equipped with custom made birthing Jacuzzi tubs. “I always felt in west Michigan home birth midwives were always busy, busy and the demand is there so many woman would say I want a home like environment that’s not quite home.”

Of course discussions of midwives and out-of-hospital birthing doesn’t come without controversy, as regulation and oversight is scarce. In the past there has been proposed legislation to license certified professional midwives.

“I'm the first one to say all right you’ve stepped outside of our abilities we need to go somewhere else,” said Badger.

“Most women are normal and healthy they need to know they have choices and these are their options. I am not trying to push somebody that’s high risk to choose this option,” said Cornwell.

'Midwifery Matters' will be holding a grand opening on Saturday as they get ready to officially open their doors.

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