NEW YORK — Mount Sinai West will close its in-hospital birthing center, leaving New Yorkers with just one other local hospital as an option for pregnant women who want a natural birth experience at a hospital.
The announcement was an upsetting one for Monique Laron, who gave birth to little Jhet just this past May. Laron described the experience at Mount Sinai West as one as close to a home birth as possible. She said it was a beautiful birth and she would recommend it to everyone, but now it will be more difficult for her to suggest it.
“I was shocked,” she said about the announcement. “I didn’t see it coming and I was a little outraged. Women in New York City already have so few options.”
The birthing center opened in 1996 and is one of two in all of New York City. Its three rooms offer women a more natural and holistic experience during childbirth.
In a statement to PIX11. hospital officials said the following:
Natural child birth will always be welcomed on our maternity floors at Mount Sinai, as it has in the past. While the three rooms that comprise the Birthing Center at Mount Sinai West will no longer exist in its current capacity after December 2018, the opportunity to experience natural, low-invention delivery will continue to be available to all expectant mothers on our obstetrics units. We are renovating the space to meet the needs for of a larger Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and to enhance post-partum services. Women will still have the choice of a natural childbirth experience, regardless of the room they deliver in. We believe that natural childbirth is not bound within four walls and to reiterate, the choice of a natural childbirth experience will continue to be available to expectant mothers who deliver at Mount Sinai West. Our commitment to women who choose a natural child birth experience is undeterred.
For many advocates of natural birth, that is simply not enough. An online petition is asking hospital officials to reconsider. Risa Klein a certified nurse midwife who has delivered many babies at the birthing center for years, said at a time the nationwide trend appears to indicate more women exploring more natural birth choices, this move was an upsetting one.
“I was disappointed, but not necessarily surprised,” Klein said. “That’s a history. That’s a legacy. We have so much to be proud of regarding this birth center.”