Birth center to open in Milaca

birth centerBy summer’s end, area mothers and pregnant women will have a host of new, local resources if all goes by Deb Sahlstrom’s plans.

Following a green light from the Mille Lacs County Board of Commissioners at a recent meeting, Sahlstrom’s proposal to open a birth center in Milaca Township is gaining momentum.

“I’m so excited,” Sahlstrom said shortly after the meeting that granted her the permit and the go ahead to start construction. “It will be a big adventure.”

The registered nurse and midwife already has a floor plan drawn up for the center, which will be converted from an outbuilding on the Gorecke farm. The next step will be to hire an architectural firm to put on the finishing touches. She also needs to obtain her national accreditation, a process that could take months.

Despite the legal red tape and other obstacles, Salhstrom’s hopeful the center will be fully operational in the near future.

“I hope to open by late summer,” she said.

Sahlstrom has been performing as a midwife in home births for the past year and a half and her passion for encouraging collaborative prenatal care for women inspired her idea for the center.

With just three accredited birth centers in Minnesota, and all located in the metro area, Salhstrom saw a lack of services in the area and jumped at the chance to provide them. The center will also relieve a bit of the financial pressures women who choose to give birth outside of a hospital may experience. While private insurance often won’t cover an at-home birth, many plans do include coverage for birth center services.

The popularity of such centers has grown significantly in recent years, spurred by research indicating women and babies can have safer outcomes, a lower incidence of cesarean sections and cost savings at a birth center versus a traditional hospital setting.

For the full story, see the Thursday, March 14 print edition of the Times.