Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Press Release: Mothers Seek to Protect PeaceHealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center’s Future at RiverBend


Eugene, OR – January 21, 2009 – Moms, dads, grandparents and supporters are concerned over the behind-schedule plans to relocate the PeaceHealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center adjacent to RiverBend Hospital in Spring 2009. Having submitted more than two-dozen letters to the PeaceHealth Board of Directors, they have asked that the 2009 relocation be prioritized. More than 270 supporters have signed Lane County Friends of the Birth Center’s recently launched online petition supporting the move.

Located in a two-story Arts and Crafts house in downtown Eugene, the Birth Center’s long-planned relocation will situate it within an updated, one-story Northwest-inspired facility adjacent to the RiverBend Hospital. Features include tubs for water birth services, a garden walking path for laboring women, space for a well-baby drop-in clinic and educational programs. Additionally, office space and an in-house lab are included. Right now, office work, lab work and lunch breaks occur in the current site's kitchen with moms and babies streaming in and out. PeaceHealth initiated a capital campaign a year and a half ago. Land has been designated, architectural plans drawn and site plans approved by the City of Springfield. Boding well for the new facility, the number of clients using the Birth Center increased 75% in the past year.

Lane County’s only accredited and Master’s prepared midwifery group, the Birth Center is also Oregon’s only midwifery practice to earn the prestigious “Baby Friendly” designation from UNICEF and the World Health Organization in recognition of its superior breastfeeding support. Women using its services may birth there or at the hospital. Of his child’s birth at the Birth Center, Josh Laughlin, wrote “having an option in our community to have a child outside of a hospital, but also not at home, is critical. It filled the niche that we were looking for” (Petition, 235). Failure to relocate the Birth Center means Lane County women will loose the option of birthing in a freestanding, intimate and homelike setting in proximity to the hospital, an option they have had for more than twenty years.

Women and families choose the Birth Center for its low-tech, high-touch prenatal, birthing, and postnatal care, including the weekly drop-in well-baby clinic. Practicing holistic, family-focused care, midwives and lactation consultants build meaningful relationships with women preparing them to meet labor and newborn care prepared, calm and confident. Embodying PeaceHealth’s mission to treat all people with compassion, the Birth Center, alone among local providers, offers care to expecting mothers regardless of ability to pay.

Lane County Friends of the Birth Center is a volunteer-led group connecting Birth Center families, new and old, as well as community members in support of the unique services provided at the PeaceHealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center.


Katharine Gallagher
Communications Officer
Lane County Friends of the Birth Center


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