GREAT FALLS – Family Birth Center has been in Great Falls more than 14 years, and was recently purchased by Melissa McDunn, who bought it from previous owner Elaine Becker.
The birthing center will be merged with Melissa’s already established home birth practice. Melissa has changed the name to Gentle Beginnings Family Birth Center.
Melissa has been doing home births in Great Falls and the surrounding communities for the past three and a half years. During those years, Melissa has delivered about 130 babies.
Melissa plans to add water births to the center. She is the only certified nurse midwife out-of-hospital in the region that does out-of-hospital water births.
Being out-of-hospital, the birthing center specializes in natural birthing options, or in other words: high-touch, low-tech birthing options where women can move about, eat, and in general labor freely.
Melissa says they use intermittent Doppler for fetal monitoring, which evidence says is just as safe as being continuously strapped to the bed.
Melissa said her goals for the center include getting the word out about the different options available to expecting mothers. She said, “I would really like to see more women being able to understand what out-of-hospital birth means and understand that it is safe for low-risk mothers expecting a low-risk pregnancy. So that they know that they different birthing options available to them.”
About 75% of the women that come to the center have water births, which is said to cut your pain by up to 50%. Women like the water births because they are buoyant, can move positions easily, and the warm water is soothing. They keep the lights down low and have soothing music on during the water births.
Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News