Email OurCommunityBirthCenter@gmail.com or send us a Facebook message to request details on how to sign up for an in-depth online interactive class with one of our International Board Certified Lactation Consultants.
All class fees support Our Community Birth Center’s plan to restore birth center services to Lane County!
PANDEMIC HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR LOCAL FREESTANDING BIRTH CENTER
Our Community Birth Center continues planning and fundraising
Eugene, OR – March 23, 2020 – Pregnant people in Lane County are looking for options and finding their choices limited. Amid an urgent need to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and conserve hospital resources for those in critical condition, freestanding birth center options in Lane County are non-existent.
In order to improve health outcomes in our community and support and empower families from preconception through parenting, Our Community Birth Center is working hard to start a community-based nurse midwifery birth center and health clinic in the Eugene-Springfield Area. Our Community Birth Center is a new local nonprofit that launched a capital campaign in November 2019 to raise $775,000 to develop a birth center and restore the 40-plus year tradition of safe and highly sought after birth center services in Lane County.
We are grateful for our local hospitals and health care providers and the life saving care they provide when health problems arise. However, healthy pregnant people are concerned about COVID-19 and are looking for ways to reduce exposure risk for themselves and for their newborn babies. “Birth Centers can provide a safe haven for families during this pandemic,” said AlexAnn Westlake, Executive Director and Certified Nurse Midwife. “Exposure risk reduction occurs naturally with birth center care due to smaller numbers of staff, medical standard cleaning and disinfecting procedures, easy 24-7 phone access to midwives and staff, and the option for postpartum home visits for both mom and baby so that parents do not have to leave home with their newborn.”
When PeaceHealth closed the community’s longtime freestanding Nurse Midwifery Birth Center last summer, the narrowing of services left many families longing for a freestanding birth center. Today, with hospital beds at a premium and the risk of COVID-19 exposure at the forefront of many people’s minds, expecting parents are looking for options that don’t tie up precious and costly hospital resources. Cecilia Woods is a mother of two (ages 2 and 5), both born at the former Nurse Midwifery Birth Center. She is currently pregnant with her third child and is due to give birth in the next few weeks. “The hospital is taking precautions, but it’s scary to go somewhere where they are taking care of sick people,” said Woods. “There is still a huge lack of information known about COVID-19 in pregnancy and babies.”
Further, Woods’ parents were planning to help with child care upon delivery, but concerns over the virus and exposure to older adults have put those plans in jeopardy. She said the birth center is needed now more than ever. “The fact that it’s only pregnant and laboring mothers, they’re healthy, it’s already isolated, there’s not a lot of exposure… We really wish we had that right now.”
While birth centers can play an integral role in providing excellent care during a pandemic, research shows that birth centers improve health outcomes and lower health care costs every day. The Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns Initiative (2018), a national study funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, found that Medicaid recipients receiving birth center care had better outcomes and lower costs relative to Medicaid recipients with similar characteristics who did not receive birth center care. Key findings include:
Lower costs for each mother-infant pair of $2,010
Fewer infant emergency department visits and hospitalizations
Fewer low birth weight babies
Lower preterm birth rate
Fewer cesarean births
Dr. Vern Katz, retired obstetrician/perinatologist from Eugene, strongly believes that communities should have birth centers that provide a safe alternative for childbirth. “Any type of emergency or strain on the healthcare system highlights the importance of a birth center,” he said, noting that resources tighten as hospitals fill up. “The birth center is not for everybody, but it is a safe, reliable, and effective place to give birth for many, many women, especially in a strapped health care system, especially during a pandemic.”
While Lane County currently lacks the freestanding birth center that so many pregnant people in our community demand, progress is being made. Our Community Birth Center has already raised nearly $80,000 toward the capital campaign goal and continues to fundraise. “Our society is going to keep going and we’re still going to need a birth center after this pandemic,” said Dr. Katz.
What can we all do right now to help support families in our community?
Call your health insurance providers, your elected officials, the Oregon Health Authority, and local Oregon Health Plan providers (Trillium and Pacific Source) and urge them to expand and simplify coverage of out-of-hospital birth.
Hilary Prager, CNM MPH and Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist is donating 100% of proceeds for all placenta encapsulations, including gift certificates, to Our Community Birth Center. Hilary uses the Traditional Chinese Medicine method to create capsules. Benefits may include increased milk supply and decreased depression. Hilary can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have been repeatedly amazed and inspired by the outpouring of support for Our Community Birth Center since we launched our Capital Campaign in November. Just this week we surpassed $70,000 raised toward our fundraising goal. The recent Matching Gift Opportunity from Chris Heritage CNM exceeded our goal and raised over $3,500. Thank you to Chris for continuing to match all of the donations even after it passed the goal!
Our Community Birth Center was featured on KLCC this week, with a very appropriate title, “People Want A Birth Center in Lane County”.
“There’s a study called Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns and the results were published in 2018,” says Westlake. “It showed lower rates of C-sections, fewer pre-term births, fewer low-birth weight babies and a lower cost to the health care system when families used birth centers.”
Annie Hoag RN IBCLC is donating 100% of proceeds from her private lactation services to Our Community Birth Center from January 20 – March 31, 2020. Annie offers initial and follow up lactation visits, baby weight checks, baby feeding plans, craniosacral therapy for babies with feeding difficulties, and more! Annie can be reached at email@example.com or 541-513-5267.
At our recent Track Town Pizza fundraiser, a supporter introduced himself and told us that his wife sent him to the event because they haven’t had kids yet BUT when the do have kids in a couple years she knows she wants to use the birth center! We need a birth center for families like this!
We also talked with a supporter who gave birth to her daughter at the old birth center when it was in downtown Eugene and then when her daughter had a baby she gave birth at the birth center in Springfield ON THE SAME BED that she was born on! The birth center has meant so much to generations of families here in Lane County and our community will not allow this gap in services to continue.
Our Community Birth Center has those same beloved birth center beds in storage and ready to go for a new facility. All donations to the Capital Campaign at this time go toward leasing and remodeling a new birth center facility and other start up costs.
Thank you to Wild Light Yoga Center and Jess Eldridge for hosting Our Community Birth Center’s first Yoga Benefit Class on January 12, 2020. This was a fun way to fundraise and felt so good! We had such a great response that we’re turning it into a series. Next up, come join us at CrossFit Evviva for a class led by Michelle Baumann on Sunday February 16th at 10 AM.
Help us meet our Matching Gift Challenge! Donate on our website by Dec 31, 2019! Michele Peters-Carr and Dennis Carr will match $3,000 of donations (that means we have potential to raise $6,000 by Dec 31!) in honor of Michele’s 3,000+ births attended through her work at the birth center. Was Michele your midwife? Make a donation online and send us a note if you want to donate in honor of your baby or in honor of Michele!
Our Capital Fundraising Campaign Launch Party at Capitello Wines on December 11, 2019 was a great success! We had over 100 birth center supporters in attendance and raised $3,000 for Our Community Birth Center! Thank you to everyone who attended, volunteered and donated to make this event a success! Special thanks to those who made donations that helped us to put on this fun and family-friendly event: Capitello Wines, Dennis Carr and Michele Peters-Carr, Poppinfrizzle Face Painting, Whole Foods, Sundance Natural Foods, Sweet Life Patisserie, and Ann Hughes Photography.
Annie Hoag and Ruth Ezeonwuka at the Capital Fundraising Campaign Launch Party.
Capitello Wines’ event room was a great space for our event. And we have our own stickers!
Poppinfrizzle Face Painting was a big hit for kids and adults too! Photo: Mary Carpenter, President of our Board of Directors and Sarah Bast, local artist.
Thank you local midwives for supporting Our Community Birth Center! Photo: Cindy Hunter CNM, Mary Carpenter CNM and Sue Trezona CNM.
We love these shirts! Shirts from Lane County Friends of the Birth Center will continue to be available for sale at Our Community Birth Center events while supplies lasts.
Thank you to Ann Hughes, annhughesphotography.com, for taking these great photos at our event!
Introducing Our Community Birth Center’s new logo! Thank you to the most amazing graphic designer and birth center mama Abby Park (abbydee.com) for donating her time and skill to make Our Community Birth Center shine! We are actively seeking donations of funds and professional services and volunteer time. You can donate, contact us, and sign up to volunteer here on our website!