When Dr. Stephaine Mitchell
moved to Alabama earlier this year, her dream of starting the first birth center in the state was already hatched and growing. She envisions a cozy space that feels like home, has birthing spaces, a classroom, soaking tubs and a kitchen where birthers and their supporters can nourish themselves throughout the birthing process. A place where all the midwives in Alabama can connect in community.
The biggest difference between a birth center and a traditional maternity ward is fundamental but simple. “As a midwife, I believe in the ability of our bodies to be able to labor and birth without interference,” says Mitchell. Midwifery specializes in a non-medicalized, low intervention approach. This kind of care is nearly impossible in a space that has industrialized the birth process. “If you’re in a hospital for normal healthy labor and birth, the default is some form of care that increases your risk,” she observed.