Since 1994, Bloomington Area Birth Services (BABS) has been committed to helping women have their babies in an atmosphere of love and support.
BABS started when a small group of women (some of whom were pregnant) were interested in maternal and infant health and how these things are affected by pregnancy and the birth process. They started by teaching childbirth education classes and helping expectant mothers to find doulas (professional labor support providers). A few years after starting, we expanded our services to include: prenatal yoga, breastfeeding support, and parenting classes. Shortly after this, we added parent-baby playtime to our list of services, giving new parents a place to come with their babies and toddlers. After ten years, BABS incorporated in July 2004 as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.
Since then, BABS has become a one-stop community resource! In addition to our programming, we maintain a lending and reference collection of medical and midwifery texts and audio-visual materials. We also run the BABS Boutique which provides eco-friendly and socially responsible items for mom and baby to encourage nursing and baby care. All profits from the BABS Boutique got to support the work of BABS.
BABS is also committed to helping provide the Bloomington community and Southern Indiana with knowledgeable birth leaders through our workshops and education partnerships. Our Executive Director leads birth doula training workshops twice a year and BABS supports our colleagues in the birth community by offering or co-sponsoring professional trainings on topics of interest to those who work with families in the perinatal period. BABS also provides service learning and internship opportunities for IU students and regularly welcome Ivy Tech and IU nursing students as observers in our childbirth classes. Our executive director also speaks frequently to IU classes and to the nursing students at Ivy Tech.
Additionally, BABS has become a resource for the communities beyond Bloomington, as we field calls about birth and postpartum doulas as well as other childbirth related resources for all of southern Indiana. Our involvement in perinatal issues continues to grow reaching beyond Bloomington, to include involvement on the regional, state, and even national level.
Our motivation in all of our work has always been a desire to promote maternal and infant health, with a continued commitment to direct service to women in Bloomington and surrounding communities. We have seen tremendous growth over the years, both in terms of the services we offer and in the numbers of people who use our services. BABS is currently working towards opening Bloomington’s first birth center in the next five years.