Despite years of evidence about the incredible outcomes, safety, and cost-effectiveness of midwives, midwifery care is still not the standard in the US, and access to birthing centers remains limited. Yet, studies show they are associated with reduction in cesareans, preterm births, increased breastfeeding success and overall positive experience of birth. This is why we need birthing centers and why the work of my guests, visionaries Nashira Baril and Katherine Rushfirth, is critical for creating a sea change in how people birth in this country.
Nashira, Katherine, and I discuss:
- Nashira's and Katherine’s origin stories into birth work
- What a birthing center is and how does it differ from home or hospital options
- The advantages of birthing centers and working with a midwife
- The fact that the birthing center model remains majority white-led and why this needs to change
- The huge financial savings birth centers put back into the healthcare system
- How birthing center are important not just for individuals, but also for building community
- Advice for people interested in this experience but who don’t have access to one
- Ways you can support the Neighborhood Birth Center as well as other birthing centers
Learn more about the Neighborhood Birth Center and find their video “You Were Welcomed with Love” HERE.
Nashira Baril, MPH, is the daughter and great-granddaughter of midwives, who midwifed her children at home. Nashira is the founder and executive director of Boston’s Neighborhood Birth Center, the city’s first community birth center, poised to open in 2023. She has a master’s degree in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University School of Public Health and nearly 20 years of experience designing and implementing public health strategies. She has worked at the Boston Public Health Commission, Harvard School of Public Health, and most recently, Human Impact Partners.
Katherine Rushfirth is a Certified Nurse Midwife and the Policy Director for the forthcoming Neighborhood Birth Center. Katherine was the Associate Chief of Midwifery at Massachusetts General Hospital and among the first midwives to be named faculty at Harvard Medical School. Katherine is a past-president of the MA Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) and currently serves as the Legislative Co-Chair for MA ACNM. Katherine completed her midwifery education at Yale University and her BA in Women’s Studies/Anthropology at Barnard College.