Magnolia Birth House Could Offer Miami Moms an Alternative to Hospital Births

These days, with a growing interest in home births, water births and other non-traditional baby arrival scenarios, Miami is coming up short for women looking for an alternative to old-school methodology. Not to mention the city's shockingly high hospital C-section rate.

To fill the gap, a local therapist and doula have launched an Indiegogo campaign to support their labor of love, Magnolia Birth House. The campaign, dubbed "One Big Push!" is looking to raise $100,000 by May 31, and so far they're almost quarter of the way there.

The women behind the campaign, therapist Tamara Taitt and doula Michelle Fonte, currently run The Gathering Place, a community resource center to assist parents, children and families by providing classes, workshops and peer support.

A birth center was always their original plan, but there were some issues with the city when it came to approval of their current locale. This time they've got a spot pre-approved and their due date is fall 2014.

"Birth centers offer a quality of care that's really missing in obstetric care, specifically in South Florida, but maybe in our country in general," says Fonte. "Midwifery care is almost exactly like obstetric care in terms of visits for prenatals and access to labs. I don't think people appreciate that. People think you're going to go out in the backyard to have a baby," she laughs. "We intend to open a really professionally operated, medically backed facility because I think that's really what a lot of women in South Florida or Miami in particular are looking for."

One major issue at traditional hospitals is the high c-section rate. It hovers around 50% in Miami-Dade, Fonte says, when it should probably be around 15 to 18%.

"Midwives have awesome outcomes -- midwives have a fraction of the c-sections," she says. Fonte admits that standard hospitals see more high risk women, while midwives see lower risk women, so that accounts for some degree of variation. But certainly not all, she insists.

There have been birth centers in Miami in the past, Fonte says, and currently there's the Miami Maternity Center. But they alone can't service the rising number of women looking for care, she adds.

Magnolia will also offer an open model, which means even midwives who don't practice within the facility would have access to the center for births. "It opens up options and opens up this kind of care to more women," she adds.

So far, the campaign has raised $21,520 of $100,000, from 185 different funders.

"We want to create a space where women have a real opportunity to birth the way they want; for a natural birth to be a real possibility -- not something that happens on accident," Fonte says. "It's a safe and really awesome option for most women who are having uncomplicated pregnancies."

Check out their Indiegogo campaign page to donate or learn more. The campaign ends May 31, so they need funds ASAP.

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