Midwives React To PeaceHealth Decision To Close Birth Center

May 11, 2019

PeaceHealth Oregon announced last week it will close the Nurse Midwifery Birth Center in Springfield at the end of August. Some midwives say this will have a significant impact on the Lane County midwifery community and options for expectant mothers.

PeaceHealth currently employs 11 midwives at the Birth Center. They have “back up” physician support through an independent group called Women’s Care. This has allowed the midwives to deliver babies in the Center as well as in Riverbend Medical Center. According to Birth Center records, over 450 babies were delivered this way last year.

Midwife Sue Trezona holds a newborn she had just helped a mother deliver.
Credit Sue Trezona

Sue Trezona is a retired midwife in Lane County. She started practicing in the 1970’s after watching generations of women be sedated and detached from their own birth process.

“I don’t’ want to go back to that,” says Trezona. “I want us to keep moving forward and keep trying to empower women. We all know the less medication you get, the less interference and the less risk of a C-section and other complications. So we’re gonna start from a natural point of view which is how a midwife works.”

PeaceHealth says the decision to close the Birth Center is certain. A transition of midwifery services to Women’s Care remains under consideration.