Praise for birth center

It has been my privilege to be associated with the Juneau Family Health and Birth Center for the past month. I have been an RN since 1976, and a Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nurse Midwife since 1989 and have practiced around the United States in hospitals — rural and inner-city, birth centers and homes. This was my first visit and stay in this awe-inspiring landscape and my soul has been refreshed with the views, sights, sounds and kindly people.


Juneau is very lucky to have such fine birth center, in fact, I feel it is one of the best in the country — and I have visited many over the decades. All the quality research has shown, and continues to show, the benefits to mother, baby and family of a free-standing birth center and midwifery lead care. Alaska is showing fiscal responsibility by providing independent license to all trained midwives and ensuring they get paid for their services. Washington State Department of Health research just published that states benefit, including fiscally, with the full utilization and payment to their licensed and out of hospital midwives.

A national birth center study has just been completed and published (find at or and this is one legislator’s comment:

“This study of midwife-led birth center births is precisely the kind of research that should be informing our maternity care spending decisions,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), “The potential cost savings to our health care system are impressive, but paramount for me, however, is the study’s findings on the quality of care and optimal outcomes women experience at midwife-led birth centers. We must work to ensure that all women have access to high quality midwifery care in all settings.”

It is very refreshing to experience a state that has embraced the quality of care that midwives provide to women and their families. Midwives are the experts at keeping women, hence babies, healthy and safe.

Oh, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and looking at the photos in the Empire.

Karen Beesley Licensed Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Alaska and Oregon, Certified Nurse Midwife

Roseburg, Oregon


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