Whether you grew up here or are a recent transplant, if you are expecting a baby in the Treasure Valley, you've picked a great place to procreate. Here's a list of reasons why:
1. Midwives Abound
Choosing a midwife as the primary care provider in pregnancy is a choice more and more people are making for their low-risk pregnancies. Midwives view birth as a normal life event, and tend to minimize interventions. Their care is more holistic, incorporating factors like nutrition and the social and psychological health of their patients alongside physical care. Midwives attend home births, births at freestanding birth centers, and in some hospitals.
In Idaho, all midwives are licensed by the state. They can be Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM), registered nurses with graduate education in midwifery, or Certified Professional Midwives (CPM), who are trained through a formal education program or through an apprenticeship. CPM's must pass a national certification exam. In the Treasure Valley, both types of midwives can be found practicing in a variety of venues. There are independent, traveling midwives who primarily focus on home births. There are those who see patients at birth centers, and either attend births there or at patients' homes. And within both major hospitals systems in the Valley, St. Luke's and St. Alphonsus, there are teams of Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM's) who work alongside obstetricians in the labor and delivery wards.
Midwifery and/or home birth is illegal in several states. In other states, poorly-defined or restrictive laws discourage midwives from practicing for fear of prosecution. Even in states where midwifery is legal and regulated, midwives are few in number, or not an option in local hospitals. The abundance of midwives in the Treasure Valley, and the variety of venues and patients they service, is impressive for a population of just under 700,000.
2. A Choice in Birth Centers
The Treasure Valley has four freestanding birth centers. FOUR! To put this number into perspective, the South Bay region of Los Angeles, which has roughly the same population as the Treasure Valley, has ZERO freestanding birth centers. You would have to travel in LA traffic for at least 30 minutes (double that in rush hour traffic) to get to the nearest birth center.
Not in the Treasure Valley! From Nampa to Meridian to Boise, you can opt for that middle ground between home birth and hospital birth and have plenty of options to choose from:
3. The Valley's Hospitals are Growing and Innovating
Maternity services are offered at several locations in the Valley. Family-centered care and patient choice is a focus at the major hospitals.
St. Luke's offers maternity care in Downtown Boise, Meridian, and Nampa. The Nampa hospital is brand new, and offers specially designed family suites, with large labor tubs, refrigerators, and plenty of room for family. Especially innovative is the fact that several of these suites are NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) rooms, the first of their kind in the Northwest.
St. Alphonsus offers maternity care in Boise and Nampa. The Boise campus boasts a level III NICU, the highest level of neonatal care in Idaho. Its Nampa hospital is also brand new, growing to meet the demands of the Valley's expanding population.
In Caldwell, West Valley Medical Center offers family suites with king sized beds. There is no minimum age for visitors, so younger members of the family can get the opportunity to meet and bond with new babies before they get home. West Valley opened a brand new NICU last fall as well.
4. A Doula for Everyone
The community of doulas in the Valley is growing and thriving. As more people discover doulas, and the important role they play in supporting birth, there has been an increase in their demand. Different doulas service different segments of the population; depending on your specific needs, you can find a doula that aligns with your personality, values, and budget.
Doula associations and partnerships foster cooperation within the doula community, and strengthen and elevate the profession. I am a proud member of the following local doula organizations:
4. Finding your People
When illness reaches your family, whether you reach for the elderberry syrup or the Sudafed, there is a group for you. The Treasure Valley offers many different online forums and in-person meet-up groups to help you navigate the world of pregnancy and parenting in a way that speaks to you.
New to the area is Building Villages https://www.buildingvillages.org, an organization focused on early childhood development and parent support. Their pilot program for parents of newborns is launching next month. Meeting in Meridian or Boise, the Newborn Groups will meet for 10 weeks and will focus on the practicalities of raising a newborn and parent self-care, and will provide its participants with an opportunity to meet other new parents and build community. For more information, visit https://www.buildingvillages.org/newborn-groups/
5. Just Look Around You
In so many parts of the country, kids just don't play outside anymore. In the Treasure Valley, it's hard NOT to get outside. From the river, to the foothills, to the plentiful parks, this is an easy place to expose your baby to sunshine and fresh air. Getting out in nature is good for your own health and wellness, too.
Birth (and life) is better here!
I am a certified labor doula (birth doula) and postpartum doula serving clients in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, Nampa, and the greater Treasure Valley.
How can I help you have a better birth? Let's talk!
I've worked in the forest, in the lab, and in an office cubicle. My favorite and most passionate work has been alongside clients as they reach inside to find their innermost strength, and give birth to their babies. Each birth is an honor to witness.