Since 2000, nine hospitals in New Hampshire have closed labor and delivery units. Four of those have been in the Upper Valley. But as NHPR's Daniela Allee reports, in response to these closures, two Upper Valley midwives plan on opening a birthing center next spring.
The Gentle Landing Midwifery and Birth Center already has patients booked into next spring.
Meghan Sperry is one of the midwives and owners of Gentle Landing. She says it was heartbreaking to see maternity wards close around the region.
"These families can come and have another choice now,” Sperry said. “And they don't have to say, my choices are limited. We get to say hey, our door is opening, we have a place to see you. We can show you the different options that are available again."
Katie Bramhall is a certified midwife and the co-owner of Gentle Landing.
"We are free standing and we are mid-wife led, but we're also only five minutes from Dartmouth at this moment," Bramhall said.
Bramhall and Sperry are working closely with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on a plan to transport patients to the hospital if needed.
Gentle Landing would have two birthing rooms, offer pre-natal care as well as gynecological care.
The two midwives are already seeing patients for pre-natal visits and wellness checks.
Bramhall says they still need to raise $250,000 to finish the center.