Birth Centers Are Crucial for Communities of Color, Especially in a Pandemic
We must act quickly to fortify established birth centers, and make birth centers a real option for birthing people in every city.
“Is your birth center open?” the worried voice said on the phone.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have received a growing number of calls like this. These callers, often people far along in their pregnancy, want a safe place to give birth, somewhere that is not a hospital overwhelmed with COVID-19. What they seek is the safety of a freestanding birth center, a homelike facility where prenatal, labor, birth, and postpartum care is provided in the midwifery and wellness model. But right now, our heartbreaking answer to each caller in Detroit and Boston, where we are raising funds to open birth centers, is “No, not yet.”
In the coming six weeks, roughly 400,000 babies are expected to be born in the United States, based on 2018 numbers. But in communities across the country, people—especially Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC)—have little to no access to birth center care. As a result, they are being subjected to a health-care environment that pits their human right to birth in a trauma-free setting against a flailing system’s response to a global crisis. We, the leaders of Neighborhood Birth Center (Boston) and Birth Detroit, have been working to ensure that birth centers are a real option for pregnant people in our communities, and to develop a birthing infrastructure that transforms the culture of birth for generations to come.
COVID-19 BIRTH CENTER UPDATE
As a valued member of our North Houston Birth Center patient community, we appreciate the trust you place in us and want to inform you about how we are addressing the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
We are closely monitoring events in our local community and continuously updating our policies and protocols as a result of new information.
Please know that our office is following all recommended guidance from public health authorities, including best practices for hygiene, infection control and medical professional team health. We feel confident in our ability to continue seeing patients and providing prenatal care according to the personalized and private care that you have come to expect and deserve.
Our highest priority is to keep all of our patients and staff as safe as possible.
Therefore, at the recommendation of CDC, we will be taking patients’ temperatures and asking these screening questions prior to allowing them to enter the reception area. Notably, all patients need to consider these questions prior to going to our office:
Should you arrive at the office and meet these criteria, you will be asked to return to your vehicle and to call our office for a telephone assessment so that we do not expose other patients and staff. This effort will help determine whether you should be seen in a treatment setting that is better equipped for this situation.
If you have any questions about this notification or your upcoming appointment, call your physician’s office.
Thank you for your continued trust and loyalty as we work together to fight this virus.
North Houston Birth Center
NH Birth Center BLOG
This blog has contributions from Doula's and Midwifes from the North Houston Birth Center, along with articles from other medical personnel from different websites with their credit and link at the bottom of each article.