ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A local advocacy group is raising to money to open a midwife-led birth center in Rochester. Advocates say there aren’t any licensed birth centers in the nine-county region and it’s an important option for women to have.
Bridget Strub gave birth 10 years ago. She wished for an option between a hospital and home birth. Now she’s a doula and the co-founder of the developing Radiant Wellness and Birth Center.
“A birth center fills the need between home birth and hospital birth. There’s quite a few people considered low risk in birth, they wouldn’t necessarily need the type of care that’s in the hospital but they might not feel comfortable being at home,” Strub said.
Radiant’s founders are raising money to pay for the $75,000-100,000 Certificate of Need cost. This is the same process hospitals have to go through and in 2020 the state department of health just released licensure procedures for midwives to also apply.
Strub said women giving birth in the hospital often get swept up in the system.
“I see so many times people who are low risk having a normal birth it just can get derailed,” said Strub. “The system was not designed for supporting physiologic process of birth and it’s not designed to support people as individuals.”
Radiant’s founders also hopes to achieve better accessibility to low intervention birth. LaKeisha Washington is also a doula advocating for the center. She said black women are three to four times more likely to die from childbirth than white women.
“As far as the disparities, it’s really based off the systemic racism, so we want to be able to have a birth center that accepts women from all communities. It’s as simple as them not being heard,” Washington said.
Washington and Strub said they want all women to have the choice as to how they experience birth.
“When people feel empowered in their care and they feel heard and validated they carry themselves differently in their families and their own individual lives and that radiates into the community,” Strub said.
They’ve raised $30,000 dollars for the certificate so far.
The group met with the governor’s office this week to advocate for a bill that would change the law in relation to accreditation of midwifery birth centers. The bill is currently in the Senate health committee.