If you’re pregnant in Pueblo, the options on where you can give birth are limited. Late last year, St. Mary Corwin Hospital closed its birth center leaving Parkview Hospital as the only choice outside of a home birth with a midwife.But a pair of successful women in the community are teaming up in hopes of giving expecting moms another choice.
They’re calling it an alternative birthing center. It started with a conversation at a support meeting for nursing moms. Family medicine Doctor Leslie Dempsey said knew the need exists but was terrified of starting a business herself.
"The business aspect of it scares me to death," she said.
Meanwhile yoga studio owner Christina McCann, who has won several Best of Pueblo awards, understands business but doesn’t necessarily have the medical expertise the project would need.
Their vision is to create a space where pregnant women can come for prenatal care, and later, deliver their babies with both the assurance of a trained medical staff and the comfort of a home environment. The two had their first formal business meeting just two weeks ago. Five days later, McCann pitched the idea to a panel of venture capitalists at the 2018 SOCO Entrepreneurial Competition.
"I haven’t slept a lot, haven’t had an opportunity to sleep, I really haven’t had a lot of time to catch my breath," McCann said.
Her lack of sleep paid off. The judges awarded the duo a lease on a property near Parkview Hospital along with start up money for an ultrasound machine.
"We have the comfort of a doctor, comfort of a midwife, comfort of nurses, comfort of being at home as well. So you just are finding the in-between for everything that’s going on."
For Dr. Dempsey, this venture is a chance to improve prenatal care in Pueblo where issues such as preterm births, maternal drug and tobacco use and low birth weights are all serious concerns. She strongly believes those health issues can be directly attributed to a lack of proper prenatal care.
"Just the fact that we can catch a population of women that may have not been getting prenatal care because they didn’t agree with the type offered or maybe they didn’t have access or the offices were too busy because we’re kind of short on providers."
The women hope to open the new birth center in about six months.
NOTE: This reporter hosted the 2018 SOCO Entrepreneurship Competition held Saturday April 7 at Pueblo Community College.