Celebrating New Life: 40 Years and 11,000 Births
Forty years ago a Gifford nurse gave birth in a newly created “birthing room,” a space where she could be supported by family during both labor and delivery and could stay with her newborn after birth. That 1977 baby was the first to be born in Gifford’s Birthing Center, the first family-centered, hospital birthing center in Vermont.
A pioneering alternative to traditional delivery rooms, the Birthing Center was soon known across the state (and beyond) for offering a warm, personal environment where women’s preferences and families’ needs came first and childbirth could unfold naturally.
Family-centered focus through 40 years of growth
Soon Gifford’s delivery room was replaced with four birthing rooms, each with space for families to be together after the birth. Women travelled from all over New England to have their babies in this supportive environment. In 1999 a separate Birthing Center was created, transforming hospital rooms into a home-like unit for individualized family-centered care. We opened a new, larger center in 2016.
Team centered OB/Gyn care and low-intervention midwifery
Today expectant parents receive 24-hour care from our team of certified nurse-midwives, experienced nurses, and board-certified obstetricians/gynecologists. Gifford still believes that childbirth is a natural process, but offers a number of pain management options, including water therapy, pain medicine, and epidurals for women who need or want them.
Professional expertise and facility updates have been added over the years, but our Birthing Center still has handmade quilts, rocking chairs, and ample space for family, providing a relaxed atmosphere and personalized support for moms and their newborns.
The “heart and soul” of Birthing Center care
For many the Birthing Center nurses—some who have been here 30 years—represent the “heart and soul” of our center. Famous for their compassionate, personalized labor support and care, they go out of their way to make this life-changing event as special as possible for families. Many couples bond with the nurses during the birth of their first child, and then bring the entire family back to visit at the birth of subsequent siblings. And today, some of these nurses are helping to deliver a new generation of babies, some the grandchildren of mothers who came to the Birthing Center years ago.