SOUTHFIELD, Michigan (WXYZ) – Ascension Providence Hospital in Southfield is ending midwifery services at the end of this month.
Women often choose midwives to improve delivery outcomes and avoid surgical births.
According to Celeste Craft, a doula with Gentle Spirit Doulas who works closely with midwives and patients, more than 100 women are likely to be affected by the impeachment decision.
Midwifery Services in Ascension Providence have been in existence for over 40 years. There are women who are four weeks out from their due dates who were blindsided by this decision.
The hospital is still offering obstetric care, but there are important differences.
Leah Hitinga said, “I’ve been dreaming of this day for a very long time.”
Hitinga had plans to give birth to baby Jack at Ascension Providence Hospital.
She adopted and fostered children, but never had her own.
“I actually switched from another OBGYN practice because I wanted to be able to hire midwives for deliveries and at the previous location, I was not able to hire midwives for deliveries,” Hitinga said. “She was already able to do all the checking.”
Knowing she would have a midwife in the delivery room brought her comfort. Then, on 2 February, she got a call from the hospital that midwives would stop working from 1 March.
Ascension already terminated midwifery services at its locations in Rochester, Ascension Borges in Kalamazoo and the Ascension River District in East China Township.
“I was really shocked. It caused some contractions for me, which made my husband really nervous,” Hitinga said.
Women who want a more natural birth and less intervention often choose a midwife.
In low-risk pregnancies, this care was associated with fewer interventions in labor, fewer cesarean and operative vaginal births, according to the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Kraft said, “Midwives save lives, that’s a fact.”
Kraft does not have obstetrics training, but provides support and guidance to her clients throughout their pregnancies. Her service is like that of a midwife.
Top of her mind is the maternal mortality rate, which is 3 to 4 times worse for black women.
Kraft said, “More than 50% of the citizens in Southfield are black. It doesn’t make sense to eliminate something that has been proven to improve maternal and child outcomes.”
In a statement, Ascension Providence said:
“Ascension Providence Hospital continues to offer obstetric services to expectant parents to ensure a high-quality, safe experience during their pregnancy and the birth of their child. Mothers and infants are provided with the highest level of infant and Access to obstetrical care will continue. -Fetal medicine and neonatal specialized care, a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, 24/7 obstetrical emergency care, and more. Deliveries are performed by our highly qualified obstetricians, who perform minimally invasive procedures. There are also experts of births.
Families who wish to use a private practice certified nurse midwife are welcome to include her in their birthing experience, provided they have the necessary privileges to provide such services at Ascension Providence Hospital. Private practice certified nurse midwives with appropriate privileges are welcome at any Ascension Michigan hospital that provides labor and delivery services.”
craft started a petition on change.org, In it he wrote:
“The midwifery model of care has a proven track record of improving outcomes. Just a few of the benefits include a reduction in preterm births, a lower risk of needing a cesarean, and a reduction in infant mortality—all at a lower cost to families and insurance companies. “
She says obstetrics is still associated with more interventions.
“It’s a specialty we need, but most women don’t need the specialized services of an obstetrician,” Kraft said.
Hitinga felt it was too late to try to go anywhere else, so she was throwing punches.
“I don’t know where I’m going and what’s going to happen with the birth of my son, so that takes a lot of the joy and turns it into anxiety.”
Kraft is playing a rally in front of Ascension Providence on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. She’s hoping to turn out well.