Building Birth Centers and Community Support

Building Birth Centers and Community Support

Recently, we launched an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds to support expansion to Tucson – a city of more than 500,000 people left without a freestanding birth center after the closure of the beloved El Rio Birth Center earlier this year. We heard and felt the heartbreak from the Tucson community upon suffering this loss and decided, after almost 10 years as a singular location in Phoenix, to expand to Tucson and fulfill the need for a freestanding birth center.

Anyone who has ever set foot in a birth center knows they are an integral part of communities. And they often rely on community support to be born and subsequently thrive. We see building a birth center as the modern-day equivalent of a barn-raising, where people come together to create something that is vital to their community. It truly takes a village, and we are grateful for the support in many forms that we have received thus far!

A few things to understand about birth centers and why we are asking for community support through a fundraising campaign to get Babymoon Inn of Tucson off the ground:

Birth center profits are lower than most healthcare organizations, including not-for-profit organizations. Most birth centers earn no profit for the first couple of years, and when a profit margin shows up, it almost always goes toward program development. In 2018, eight accredited birth centers in the United States closed. So far in 2019, eight more accredited birth centers have closed, with a ninth announcing their closure after 13 years in operation literally as we were writing this post.

Obtaining funding for birth centers is difficult. We are not attractive to private investors for start-up money because we are too small, don’t have rapid growth opportunities, are not quickly scalable, and are not a well-understood service or industry. (How many of you struggled to get your friends or family to understand why you chose a birth center? Now try explaining it to them and asking them to invest money on top it! 😂)

Birth centers provide extensive community support and services, much of which is provided at no charge to the clients and solely at the expense of the birth center.  At Babymoon, we frequently discount, extend payment plans, and provide pro bono services for families with financial hardship.  These services are not subsidized by grants or foundations who support our organization. They come directly out of our bottom line.  This philosophy is shared by every member of our team, who frequently volunteer their time and talents to serve our community – offering free classes, providing pro bono doula services, speaking in high school and college classes, making meals for new or bereaved parents, and donating their time in countless other ways.

While some birth centers have chosen to be not-for-profit entities, Babymoon has not. This was a well-researched and thoughtfully made choice upon our opening in 2010. Non-profit organizations are governed by a Board of Directors who retain ultimate decision-making power. If profit margins are too low or consistently in the negative, the board may choose to shut the business down. This has happened to many, many not-for-profit birth centers. Babymoon’s founders didn’t and don’t want to put control of so many people’s care into someone else’s hands. Deciding against being a non-profit was a purposeful choice that doesn’t prevent or stop our desire to help underserved populations and make birth center and midwifery care attainable for all.

We wish people were lining up in droves to open birth centers all over the country. And we wish investors were pounding on our doors wanting to help fund them! The reality is that freestanding birth centers are usually created and staffed by people who are simply passionate about the model of care and willing to work twice as hard for a lesser profit margin.

We hope you will join us in our “barn-raising” and help bring a freestanding birth center back to Tucson! If you would like to contribute, please find our Indiegogo link here. To join our mailing list, please click here.

Thank you for your support!

Kangaroo Care Helps Preemies And Full Term Babies, Too

Kangaroo Care Helps Preemies And Full Term Babies, Too

Kangaroo care has long been used for premature babies but has become popular for full-term babies as well.  Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center regularly practices kangaroo care, and UCLA OB-GYN Dr. Lydia Kyung-Min Lee and pediatrician Dr. Larry Gray discuss is many benefits in this NPR article.

Story by Patti Neighmond, January 23, 2017, NPR

Photo by Morgan Walker

The benefits are many, according to Dr. Lydia Kyung-Min Lee, an ob-gyn at UCLA. Not only is the baby happier, she says, but his or her vitals are more stable. Body temperature, heart and breathing rate normalize more quickly. The close contact also allows the baby to be exposed to the same bacteria as the mother, which can protect against allergies and infection in the future. Infants who receive kangaroo care breast feed more easily, Lee says, and their mothers tend to breast feed for longer periods of time, which is “all good.”

Babies also seem to suffer less pain. Almost 20 years ago, Gray studied how babies respond to a heel prick to draw blood, a procedure that screens newborns for genetic disorders. He found that when healthy newborns had kangaroo care, there was less facial grimacing and crying suggesting pain, compared to babies who had been swaddled and had the procedure in their bassinets, “sort of alone.”

 

Read more here.

Get your craft on

Get your craft on

IMG_0109Every month, members of the Nest at Babymoon Inn gather for Crafty Mamas.  Coffee, crafting, cuddly babies, and chatting with other mamas…  What more could you ask for?

A month ago, “Tree of Life” breastfeeding selfies went viral, and our Babymoon community quickly jumped on the trend, sharing their own gorgeous photos in our Facebook group.  One Babymoon mama suggested getting together to create painted versions, and thus our January Crafty Mamas was born!

It was an overcast, chilly day today – perfect weather to meet up with friends for some painting.  More than 15 mamas (and their babies) arrived at The Nest.  Some chose to use graphite paper to transfer their photo to canvas and paint with acryclics.  Others opted for water colors, gel pens, or sharpies on cardstock, and others used acrylic paint on a color version of the photo to add depth and texture.  As usual, the array of creativity an artistic ability was quite impressive.IMG_4646

As with any Inn Mommies meet-up, there were babies nursing, babies sleeping, babies in slings and wraps and car seats.  Some mamas painted while simultaneously wearing or feeding babies, and others painted in between tending to their little ones.  The room was full of laughter and talking – a staple of any Babymoon gathering.  The beauty of Crafty Mamas is that there isn’t any need to finish anything or meet an expectation.  It’s about the process, not the product!

Thank you to all of the mamas who attended today!  We are looking forward to next month’s Crafty Mamas.  Have an idea for Crafty Mamas?  Be sure to share it with us!

 

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