One Big Push! Magnolia Birth House


The Difference that makes a DIFFERENCE!

When we opened The Gathering Place four years ago, our mission was to improve the experience of birth for all women and families in Miami by establishing a dynamic, independent center for childbirth education, breastfeeding, parenting, and women's health care. We wanted to be a catalyst for change in our community by creating an environment where women and families could learn how to be full participants in their care and ensure they would approach pregnancy and parenting with information and confidence. The successes we have had along the way are due to the support and encouragement of our community - our moms and dads and babies, our staff, our mentors and our families. Our vision is a work in progress, the next phase is opening a birth center in Miami-Dade County.

Thanks to your generous support, Magnolia Birth House can be a reality in 2016!! But we are not there yet. We need your help now.

We officially completed PHASE ONE of fundraising: financing the lease. We raised enough funds through our 2014 Indiegogo Campaign to sign the lease ($26,000) and begin construction. Your efforts so far have had a powerful impact. We've spent the last year looking for the perfect space and weathered three different lease negotiations before achieving success in late May. The lease has been executed and we have keys in hand. The funds you have contributed to date have made it possible for us to successfully negotiate and secure our lease to move forward.

PHASE TWO is happening now. Your donations will make it possible to open the doors of our community birth center. We are raising funds for construction and build out as well as equipment, supplies, furnishings and licensing and will make it possible for the birth center to be operational this fall, including capacity for 2 birth rooms, allowing us to support 20-30 birthing families per month by 2016.

PHASE THREE celebrate. This December, with your help we will open our doors and welcome families into our one of a kind space. We can do it!

To expand birth options in our community, we are asking for your donations today.

Women in South Florida need a community birthing center! #OneBigPush

South Florida is a challenging place to have a baby. Options are disappearing. Interventions are rising. Disparities are growing.

Here are some ways a birth center will improve outcomes, including:

REDUCING FINANCIAL & CULTURAL BARRIERS. Miami-Dade County has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country due to the high rates of poverty and immigration. More than 700,000 residents (29.2%) have no health insurance, and prenatal care is rarely offered regardless of ability to pay. Magnolia will open its doors to many populations who may typically feel unwelcome in standard healthcare facilities, including the working poor, recent immigrants and adolescents.

LOWERING HIGH C-SECTION RATES. Miami has the frightening distinction of having one of highest rates of cesarean section in the nation - 1 in 2 women in Miami-Dade County gives birth by surgery. Of the ten facilities statewide with the highest cesarean rate, six are located in our county. Women in the care of midwives have lower than the national average rate for primary cesarean (4.4% to 9.9%, compared to 32%). The cesarean section rate for women receiving care in birth centers averages 6.1%, approximately one-half that in studies of low risk, in-hospital births.

CLOSING THE HEALTH DISPARITY GAP. The black infant mortality rate in Miami-Dade is almost three times higher than the infant mortality rate for white infants. Midwife-led care of low-risk women in birth center settings has yielded promising results, including reduction of poor birth outcomes like low birth weight, pre-term labor and infant mortality.

ELEVATING NORMAL BIRTH. Birth typically takes place in a hospital room, where women are confined to their beds by continuous fetal monitors and offered little one-to-one labor support. At birth centers, women are encouraged to eat if they are hungry, move about, spend time in a tub as they wish, and push in whatever positions they find most comfortable.

LOWERING COSTS BY REDUCING INTERVENTIONS. Nationwide 8-11% of babies are delivered by midwives, yet only a handful certified nurse midwives have privileges to deliver at area hospitals. Women who receive care from midwives have a significantly higher chance for a normal vaginal birth, fewer interventions, and successful initiation of breastfeeding.

IMPROVING BREASTFEEDING OUTCOMES. In the majority of area hospitals, mothers and babies are still routinely separated after birth. Breastfeeding support postpartum is often little more than lip-service, with formula feeding suggested at the first sign of difficulty. More than 75% of women in Miami-Dade County initiate breastfeeding immediately following delivery but only 9.9% continue to 6 months. None of Miami's hospitals meet the requirements for being Baby-Friendly. Magnolia will pursue Baby-Friendly designation.

INCREASED OPTIONS FOR MIDWIVES. Currently none of South Florida's existing birthing centers operate under an "open model" with a documented process which allows community midwives to apply for privileges and utilize the facility for their private clients.

Our mission is to improve the quality of health care for all women in Miami Dade County by establishing a dynamic, independent center for birth and women's health care. Families in our community need a birth center that provides access for all midwives and all women and their families.

Here's how your money will help open the birth center’s doors:

Our goal is that, starting in early Fall 2015, families in the Miami area will be able to birth at Magnolia Birth House. Our funding target for this campaign is $75,000. Here is where your money goes:

FURNISHINGS, EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES. Initial start-up expenses include legal expenses, accreditation/designation application, licenses, permits, office space, medical equipment, office equipment, and furniture.

BUILD OUT. Our proposed commercial space has already been renovated to meet current Miami-Dade County zoning requirements and meets birth center specifications including ADA compliance as required by Florida’s birth center law and adequate parking. The property will need to be built out additionally to create two additional birthing suites, practitioner offices and a large classroom space.

IMPLEMENTATION OF MARKETING PLAN. In 2014, more than 36,000 women gave birth in Miami-Dade County. With an aggressive marketing campaign, Magnolia could capture less than 1% of births in the County and operate at or above capacity.

All women and their newborn babies deserve the best, and we are creating a beautiful, personalized, state-of-the-art facility specifically designed to meet their needs.

Our fundraising goal is large but achievable. Every donation - even a few dollars - will help us reach our goal and open our doors.

Other Ways You Can Help
Maybe you can’t contribute, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help:

Spread the word!! The more people who hear about this campaign, the better chance we have of meeting our goal! (Gofundme provides tools to share this campaign through Facebook, Twitter and Google+) Please help spread the word by using #OneBigPush in your tweets and posts.

Educate yourself and your friends about the kind of services birthing centers offer! Know someone who's expecting? Ask them where they're planning on giving birth and encourage them to learn more about the benefits of birth centers and midwifery care.

By providing education and support we can foster confidence and respectfully guide women and their families through the process of pregnancy, labor and birth. Thank you for considering making a donation to help fund our work!

  • Delfina Alvarez Menendez 
    • $85 
    • 66 mos
  • Denise Delgado 
    • $40 
    • 67 mos
  • Esther Liberman 
    • $50 
    • 67 mos
  • Jody Smith 
    • $65 
    • 67 mos
  • Brittany Hernandez  
    • $25 
    • 67 mos
See all


Michelle Fonte Birth Doula 
Miami, FL
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