Triad’s only birthing center announces closure

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Triad’s only birthing center announced this week that it will close this summer.

Tanya Bailey, co-owner of Magnolia Birthing Center, said Tuesday that the facility’s contract with a supervising physician was set to expire.

She explained that under state guidelines, birthing centers are required to have a supervising physician or hospital.

“Physician supervision is an additional layer on top of what’s already there, which is why most states have already eliminated it. It’s not necessary, certification is what gives professionals that mark of approval that they have achieved their education requirements and they’re competent professionals,” Bailey said.

New parents were disheartened to learn about the closure and planned to rally in support of the facility.

“I think a big part of the loss that we feel is because we’re losing the choice, and it’s not just with our birth, it’s the entire scope of care for our bodies,” Hayley Hudgins said.

Hudgins gave birth to her second child at MBC six months ago.

“Having children changed me and I want to be able to bring them into the world in a place where I feel safe and I want to be with care providers that I trust,” she said.

Patients planned to call local hospitals to push for partnerships and state lawmakers to advocate for the lessened restrictions.

“I hope that there is some legislator who will hear what all of these people who care about Magnolia are saying to them, and takes that cause and says, ‘Our policy doesn’t make sense here,’” Carlee Henry said.

Bailey and Hudgins both underscored the importance of having options outside a hospital during a pandemic.

“During this specific sort of issue with COVID, it’s access to care, a lot of people can’t go into the hospital, don’t want to go to the hospital, we’re looking for new ways to do health care. This is an innovative health care model,” Bailey said. “We are able to do community health care, and we can do it in their homes and do it outside the hospital and save those resources for the hospital for sick women and high-risk pregnancies that need to be there.”

The center will complete all births with due dates in June, then close its doors by the end of July.

In a statement, Cone Health’s senior vice president said the network is open to the possibility of offering a birthing center.

The full statement reads:

“It is unfortunate when any area business is forced to close — even a competitor. Cone Health has long understood the importance of birthing options. During normal times at Cone Health Women’s & Children’s Center at Moses Cone Hospital, we encourage the use of midwives and doulas. We support women who want water births or the use of nitrous oxide. Cone Health is open to the possibility of offering a birthing center and fulfilling this need for our community. We can evaluate this more when our community has recovered from the COVID-19 crisis.”

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