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Rose Medical Center opens low-intervention birth center

Queen size bed in hospital room

When it opened the Rose Babies Birth Center earlier this year, Rose Medical Center in Denver gave expectant mothers the two things many say they want: the most natural birth experience possible, and a fully staffed medical team at hand should the need arise.

The three-room, in-unit birth center allows mothers to deliver with minimal medical intervention. There’s no monitoring other than checking the baby’s heartbeat, and the mother eventually gives birth in a queen-size bed in a room that looks and feels like a hotel, allowing birth partners to be as involved as desired. At the same time, she and her family are just down the hall from Rose’s 12-room delivery and prenatal care unit, so if she and her physician or midwife deem it necessary, help is literally seconds away. Rose is the only hospital in Denver that allow both midwives and OBs to deliver babies in the low-intervention experience.

“Our patients were telling us they wanted a more homelike environment, like what they were seeing in freestanding birth centers (which are popular in Denver!), but they also wanted that safety net,” says Missy Griffin, director of women’s and infants’ services. “They wanted that confidence that if medical attention was needed, they’d be taken care of by the same team of people they already knew.”

“We make sure we meet their needs as best we can, which includes an unmedicated birth, and I also work with them and we have an orientation class that explains how the center works, but also what kind of health conditions would preclude a woman from using the center,” adds Christi King, Rose’s dedicated childbirth navigator. “There are some complications or preexisting health conditions that would make using the center unsafe, and so we encourage those mothers to deliver in our regular rooms, where we can monitor them more closely.”

From the very first birth center mom, who delivered at dawn by electronic candlelight and with her favorite music playing, to others who have enjoyed Jacuzzi baths strewn with rose petals, the reviews have been stellar.

“We have gotten fabulous feedback, both directly to us and on social media,” says Karen Biffinger, director of risk and safety. “It’s really helping those who are on the fence, but are really leaning toward taking that step toward a natural birth. They are afraid something could go wrong, and now know that they can have the best of both worlds.”

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