NWA Birth Center a Labor of Love

by Serenah McKay  on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 8:30 am  

Osborne’s friend Genet (pronounced GEN it) Jones of Bella Vista said she’s thrilled the region will have a birth center.

Jones, the owner of Ganesha Editorial Services, is training to be a Lamaze childbirth instructor. She’s also a co-leader of the BirthNetwork of Northwest Arkansas, a chapter of the Michigan-based national nonprofit focused on helping women make informed choices about maternity care.

“I hear so many women say they wish there was an option between hospital birth and home birth,” said Jones, who had both her sons at home. “For a lot of women, home birth is a really powerful, great option, but there are women who aren’t ready for that.

“But if they’re low risk and healthy, there’s no reason for them to have a bunch of interventions. And a birth center is really a good way for them to be close to the technology if they need it without having it pushed on them for no reason.”


Expecting Change

Amid a political landscape of national- and state-level policy changes in the works, Osborne said, “there’s this sort of soup of things happening around new health care models in general.”

Borrowing an analogy from New Yorker magazine’s Aug. 13 article on health care by Atul Gawande, Osborne says she and Bedore want their year-old Birth Centers of America LLC to be “like the Cheesecake Factory of birth centers.”

“Whatever town you land in, if you’re traveling for business, you can know that when you go to the Cheesecake Factory, you’re going to have this wide range of options, and it’s going to be good, and you’re going to have a nice dinner, and you’re not going to pay a ton for it,” Osborne said.

They envision growing a chain of birth centers across the country, with each modified to suit the needs and demographics of its region. Between skyrocketing medical costs and a high C-section rate nationally, demand for lower-cost, higher-quality maternity care is coming from consumers, businesses and government entities.

CDC statistics show that about 33 percent of babies born in the U.S. are delivered by C-section. The World Health Organization recommends a rate of 10 percent to 16 percent, Osborne said.

In Arkansas, the C-section rate was 35.1 percent in 2010, according to CDC records, tying with Texas for the ninth-highest rate in the nation.



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