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Detroit's first stand-alone birth center bringing more options to expecting mothers

Birth Detroit
Posted at 4:25 PM, Sep 12, 2022

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A community on Detroit’s west side will soon welcome the city’s very first stand-alone birth center, a historic project aiming to provide new resources and education.

On Monday, the founder shared how the initiative is working to combat disparities in mortality for pregnant mothers and babies in the African American community.

Birth Detroit just closed on the first phase of a land purchase that’s intended for a new facility to be built. It’s literally bringing new life to this community.

“We have been searching for the right location for a while,” Clinical Director Char’ly Snow said.

As a mother, she recalls her own experience of being pregnant becoming life changing. As a midwife, she’s joined CEO and founder Leseliey Welch to start something new at Grand River Avenue and Heritage Place. They say it serves a critical need many are unaware of.

“Infant mortality is 2 to 3 times the rate of white women and that doesn’t account for having a bad experience,” Welch said.

Welsh says their mission is to help combat troubling statistics that include fewer birth care choices and data, which shows Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women.

“Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t always reimburse for midwifery services not within hospitals. That’s a part of our mission to change that narrative,” Snow said.

With a goal of serving 500 families a year, Birth Detroit is expanding their current program that offers a wide range of help without performing deliveries. Soon midwife nurses, and when needed, a partnering physician and transfer hospitals will all become part of the effort.

“The greatest goal we hope to achieve is to ensure all families have access to all safe birth options. No matter race, religion, income, language — all these things,” Welch said.

Similar to 400 centers around the country, Birth Detroit offers services to women with insurance as well as those who cannot pay.

When it opens, the center will provide a comfortable, home-like environment to welcome babies into the world. The Birth Center is set to open in late fall 2023, with groundbreaking in the next couple months.

For more information or to donate, visit the organization’s website birthdetroit.com.