South Louisville to get ‘The Birthing Place.’ Why it matters.
The Birthing Place will employ doctors, certified nurse midwives, licensed clinical social workers, health coaches, health educators and care navigators. Each room will have a “spa-inspired labor tub area” and a shower room. (Photo provided).
LOUISVILLE – Kentucky’s most populous city is set to get new birthing options thanks to a $20 million investment from UofL Health.
The hospital system plans to start demolition of a 21,000-square foot space in South Louisville’s Mary & Elizabeth Hospital in December. It then plans to open The Birthing Place in the spring of 2025, staff announced Wednesday. Of the $20 million, $8.25 million came from Louisville Metro Government.
The center will include a C-section suite, a well-baby Level 1 nursery and a labor lounge. It will be on Bluegrass Avenue.
It will employ doctors, certified nurse midwives, licensed clinical social workers, health coaches, health educators and care navigators. Each room will have a “spa-inspired labor tub area” and a shower room.
The center, UofL said, should reflect “a home environment where families can be together.”
The location and timing are key, said Dr. Sean Francis, an associate professor and Department of OB/GYN & Women’s Health chairman.
“Maternal mortality rates are rising in the United States and this disproportionately affects Black women and women of lower income,” he said at a press conference.
South Louisville is home to a larger percentage of Black residents than Kentucky overall, according to a 2021 Data USA profile.
“We … expect (the center) to positively affect Kentucky’s maternal mortality by offering increased access and alternative options to traditional hospital labor and deliveries,” said Francis. It will do this midwifery care and more, he said.
The center will serve areas that Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said “have been overlooked for far too long.”
Greenberg was joined by Democratic Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman; Melisa Adkins, CEO of Mary & Elizabeth Hospital; Tom Miller, CEO of UofL Health, and others.
Councilwoman Cindi Fowler said the news marks a “day of celebration for all women” in West and South Louisville.
“For the first time in almost 50 years, we’re going to be able to birth babies west of (Interstate 65),” said Fowler, who worked on this project. The last baby born at Mary & Elizabeth was in 1974.
Now, community members will get the option to give birth without being forced to leave their community.
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