Beaumont reveals $6 million Karmanos Center for Natural Birth

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published November 5, 2014

 Clinton Township resident Alvita Wright will be one of the first mothers to deliver naturally at the center.

Clinton Township resident Alvita Wright will be one of the first mothers to deliver naturally at the center.

Photos by Sean Work


ROYAL OAK — Beaumont Hospital and the Peter Karmanos Jr. family revealed the $6 million natural birthing center Oct. 30.

The 4,500-square-foot Karmanos Center for Natural Birth opened Nov. 3 for expectant mothers looking for an alternative to traditional hospital birthing options.

“This is the new-millennium way to have a baby,” said Peter Karmanos Jr.

The luxurious, holistic birthing center was created through a gift from Danialle and Peter Karmanos Jr. in honor of their four sons, two of whom were born naturally at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. Natural childbirth is a mind-body approach to labor and childbirth with no anesthesia or routine medical interventions.

Clinton Township resident Alvita Wright, 27, will be one of the first mothers to deliver in one of the six private birthing suites in the hospital’s south tower.

“This is exactly what we were looking for,” Wright said. “We really wanted a homelike setting.”

After a negative experience recovering from an epidural during the birth of her first son, Wright knew she wanted to have a natural birth, but she didn’t want to have the baby at home.

The Center’s suites resemble five-star hotel guestrooms. The center’s philosophy puts the mothers in control while keeping them comfortable with holistic approaches to pain management and healing.

“This is not your average birthing suite,” said Beaumont Hospital registered nurse Patricia Knudsen.

The rooms feature queen-size beds, hydrotherapy tubs, home furnishings and spacious areas so family members may be involved in the birth.

Knudsen said everything about the room is designed for safety and meets all hospital-grade equipment and sanitation requirements. The suites cost the same as a traditional Beaumont labor and delivery room.

“We are trying to create a healing environment and help create a sense of calm,” Knudsen said. “I’m not aware of anything like this in the country.”

All obstetric registered nurses working in the center underwent holistic training through the BirchTree Center Integrative Healing Arts Academy to learn about the impact the mind, body and spirit play in a positive birthing experience. Nurses underwent training in aromatherapy, massage therapy, hydrotherapy, reflexology, breathing techniques and music therapy. The Center also features a walkable, all-seasons green roof for expectant mothers and their family members. 

Registered nurse Anica Bellestri has been a labor and delivery nurse at Beaumont Hospital for 24 years.


“This is giving me a whole new aspect,” Bellestri said. “I’m changing how my nursing care is.”

Women admitted to the Karmanos Center for Natural Birth are prescreened, evaluated throughout their pregnancies and deemed low-risk deliveries. The Center’s care team works with an expectant mother to create a natural, customized birth plan.

“Natural birth is not for everyone,” Knudsen said. Beaumont doctors said that 30 percent of women are interested in natural birth.

The Center also has active partnerships between medical doctors and midwives.

“We’ve had midwives working here for a while now, but mainly in the triage area,” said physician Mark Redmond, medical director of the Karmanos Birth Center. “So having them go back to doing full-scope is something that we’re rolling out within the natural birthing center, so we will have both midwives and physicians doing deliveries here.”

Mothers delivering at the center have the choice of delivering with a midwife, doctor or both. 

“The outcomes are optimal, providing women with the compassion and support they need,” said certified nurse midwife Tracie Achrem.

All women giving birth in the center have access to preferred obstetricians and an experienced team of newborn specialists as a safety net at the main campus in case of an emergency.

“I think that it will have a substantial effect, hopefully, and profound effect in the course of time on our philosophy of childbirth,” said physician Ray Bahado-Singh, OB-GYN chairman, Beaumont Health System. “There are so many elements tied up in this grand enterprise.

“Very, very ambitious in terms of scope. And, hopefully, this will serve as a standard regionally and perhaps even nationally for birthing care.”