Since Apple Tree Midwifery and Birth Center opened in Rapid City last year, it has facilitated the births of 36 babies and has provided a hospital-free option for low-risk mothers.
Cassie Applegate, co-owner of Apple Tree Midwifery and Birth Center, is a certified nurse and midwife who is passionate about serving women in her community.
“We provide all of our prenatal care through Black Hills, O.B., which we share a wall with, where you can see all three of the nurse midwives. We do have a lovely collaborating O.B. over there as well,” Applegate said.
While Applegate aims to provide care for women outside of the hospital, the birth center also provides care for women who choose a traditional hospital birth.
“We serve all populations of women. Some women do plan for a hospital birth, and we can support them in the hospital, we do have privileges there. But if they’re choosing birth center birth, then we do all of their prenatal care still through Black Hills, O.B. and then we prepare them for natural, normal birth at the birth center.”
Applegate explained the unique role of a midwife, whose primary responsibility is to support the mother through the labor process and to check in on the wellbeing of the mother and child, as well as the rest of the family, following the birth. To become a midwife, a registered nurse must earn a master’s degree in midwifery and can then work as an advanced nurse practitioner who specializes in woman care, pregnancy, birth and newborns.
“We do call a nurse in as we’re getting close to birthing so that there are two people in the room for mom and baby,” Applegate said. “and then the midwives just support them through however they want to give birth, in whatever, you know, position they want to give birth. So we kind of follow them around, listen to the baby and just support them through normal, natural birth. We’re trained in neonatal resuscitation life support for mom if needed.”
Applegate said the birth center can support mothers through whichever natural birthing method they choose, but that water births are most popular at the center.
“I think 80% of all of our births were water births. So we do a ton of water births. And even if they don’t give birth in the tub, most women will labor in the tub,” said Applegate.
The center is also equipped with a variety of resources such as squatting bars, birth slings, birth stools and birthing balls.
“I think a lot of families just want that hands on support,” Applegate said. “More education during their pregnancy, labor and birth. They want to feel listened to, cared for and have time for that outside of the traditional obstetric care. I love being able to provide an option for families in this community that has not been around, because I believe people should have the choice of choosing a midwife, either for the hospital birth or birth center birth in our community.”
At Apple Tree Midwifery and Birth Center, mothers are provided the care necessary for a personal, natural birth without the stress of a hospital.
For more information, visit their Facebook page here.