Colorado midwifery & birth centers busy during pandemic

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DENVER (KDVR) — It’s been a growing trend throughout the pandemic that appears to only be picking up more steam: women deciding to give birth at home or at a birthing center, rather than a hospital.

Metro-area midwives say they’ve been inundated with calls and new clients in ways they’ve never experienced before.

Some have doubled, even tripled their call volumes.

“Birth centers in particular are growing pretty significantly and they’re popping up all over, which I think is really good. I think families are starting to really question where is the best place for them to be when they’re healthy? And birth centers are a great option,” said Aubre Tompkins, Director of Midwifery at Seasons Midwifery & Birth Center in Thornton.

Seasons Midwifery & Birth Center in Thornton would typically assist 13-15 women per month, but these days, it’s helping about 20 soon-to-be moms.

Prior to the pandemic in 2019, about 1.6% of births happened outside of hospitals, mostly at a person’s home or at a free-standing birth center.

Updated data isn’t in just yet, but local midwives say based off what they’re witnessing, they wouldn’t be surprised if that number jumps up to 3%.

The trend really started last summer and has only continued to grow.

According to Tompkins, the average cost to have a child at a hospital in the United States is roughly $12,000-$15,000.

The average cost of a midwifery or birth center is about a third of that.

“When you talk about birth center care you’re talking about the entire 9-10 months of pregnancy, the birth, the post par-tom period and through your 6 weeks recovery as well. So the cost savings are pretty high and significant,” Tompkins said.

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