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The Cesarean Epidemic
Read the latest information on the rapidly rising cesarean rate, and what every pregnant woman needs to know.


Babies are welcomed gently at The Birth Place,
and are with their mothers continuously. 
Any needed care can be done at mother's side.

About The Birth Place Practice

The Birth Place, formerly BirthWise Alternative Birthing Service, was founded by Gretchen Brauer-Rieke, CNM, in 1996 in order to offer women of the Walla Walla Valley a safe alternative to hospital birth.  The midwives providing homebirth services to the Walla Walla area lived an hour or more away, and there was a clear need for a local practitioner who could interface effectively with the local health care community.Working only out of client homes until late 1998, Gretchen then bought and opened the practice as BirthWise. 


After offering the women of the Walla Walla Valley childbirth alternatives for nearly 10 years, Gretchen moved to Newport, Oregon.  The practice was purchased by Janelle Wahlman, CNM, who is committed to continuing the Birthwise philosophy, though the name has been changed to The Birth Place. 


Janelle has hospital privileges at both Walla Walla General Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center, and can offer hospital birth as well as out-of-hospital birth.  If problems or complications arise, access into the medical system can be made prenatally, during labor, or postpartum.  If you choose an out-of-hospital birth, and tests or transfer to the hospital becomes necessary, your care will continue seamlessly. In many cases, Janelle will be able to continue to provide your care during delivery.  If complications require the skills of an obstetrician,  24-hour obstetric consultation is available immediately.


Clients choosing maternity services through The Birth Place are healthy, low-risk women who anticipate having a normal pregnancy and birth.  They are looking for a non-interventive, natural childbirth experience in which they are respected for their ability to make appropriate decisions for themselves and their babies.


Many clients are expecting their first baby, and even more have had one or more children in a hospital setting and are looking for a less-routinized, more personalized experience with their current pregnancy.  Some women have been medicated during previous labors against their will, some have been forced to remain on their backs in bed through labor, many have received unnecessary episiotomies, and most have been separated from their babies after birth for no apparent reason.


They come to The Birth Place in order to have their unique style of childbearing validated and supported, to have the support that they need for an unmedicated, non-surgical birth, and for the ability to maintain uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with their babies for as long as they desire after the birth.


Many Birth Place clients choose to labor and/or birth in water – others choose squatting, birth stool, hands and knees, or side-lying for their births.  To learn more about our services or to contact us, click on any of the links at the top of the page.

"Births to healthy mothers, who are not considered at medical risk after comprehensive screening by trained professionals, can occur safely in various settings, including out-of-hospital birth centers and home births."
--American Public Health Association, October 24, 2001