Since it’s inception, Womencare has been an advocate for Philadelphia parents and the birth community. Our organization has arranged and been part of numerous events. In fact, Womencare grew out of the 2007 Town Meeting, held in Northeast Philadelphia, in response to hospital maternity unit closures. Approximately 125 community members, nonprofit directors, elected officials, midwives, nurses, obstetricians, and doulas, attended this momentous Town Meeting. It drew attention to the “childbirth crisis” among the media and legislators and sparked activism in the community.
Womencare has hosted visits to three different birth provider locations: 2 birth centers and 1 maternity center. These visits enabled attendees to see the inner workings of an out-of-hospital maternity care center, to tour the facilities, and to ask question of staff.
Knowing the importance of staying connected to the interests of the community, Womencare also developed and distributed a survey to assess local demand for an out-of-hospital birth facility, such as a birth center. Nearly 350 surveys were ultimately collected and results have guided Womencare’s goals. Findings have also been shared with city health officials.
Womencare hosted a workshop titled, “How to Start a Birth Center” presented by the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC). This two-day workshop was open to all interested community members and health care practitioners and provided a thorough education on the steps needed to open a birth center in the United States.
Midwife, author and birth activist Ina May Gaskin headlined a full day event organized by Womencare. This exciting event involved a presentation by Ina May, and book signing for her most recent publication: Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta, and an open forum for a question and answer session.
Womencare continues to plan events that reflect the interests and needs of parents and the birth community in the greater Philadelphia area. By improving knowledge and access to information, we remain committed advocates for families and birth providers.