More pregnant women choosing natural births over hospital births during COVID-19 pandemic

Reserved parking for new mothers and mothers to be.
Reserved parking for new mothers and mothers to be.(WHSV)
Updated: Jul. 30, 2020 at 3:34 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - For women that are pregnant these days, the last thing they want on their mind is the coronavirus. That is why many women have decided to not give birth in the hospital, but rather seek help from a midwife for a natural birth.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Harrisonburg’s Brookhaven Women’s Health and Natural Birth Center has seen an increase of about 50% of interested mothers to be.

“Hospitals are for sick people,” Misty Ward, the owner, clinical director, and midwife at Brookhaven Women’s Health and Natural Birth Center, said. “And 85% of women can use a midwife and can have a natural labor and birth and do not need the expertise of a surgeon.”

Natural birthing centers can really focus on COVID-19 safety through constant thorough cleaning, and social distancing made easier by a smaller staff and fewer patients than a hospital.

Something midwives have believed for years, is that hospitals are not for pregnant women in good health. Ward hopes that the coronavirus pandemic has brought more attention to the positives of natural birthing, and that it becomes more normalized.

“There’s a lot of fear that has brought people into this model of care,” Ward said, “but then they have their baby and they have this experience and they’re like ‘why didn’t I think of this before?‘”

Giving birth with a midwife, outside of the hospital, also known as community births, has recorded overall more successful outcomes in comparison to hospital births. Natural birthing centers see a 96% success rate in vaginal births, whereas hospitals tend to see about a 60% success rate, with a high rate of cesarean sections. Natural birthing centers also see a lower rate of premature births and a higher satisfaction rate from the mother.

While following strict guidelines, the center still sees patients in person, whether at their home or in the office, and also allows the mother more family support while in labor, compared to hospitals that have been strictly limiting visitors in with mothers in labor.

For more information on midwifery and the option of natural birthing, you can visit

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