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Our Story

The History of Lifecycle

In 1978, The Birth Center (TBC) became the first licensed free-standing birth center in Pennsylvania. It was incorporated as a 501c3 charitable organization in response to a community need for family-centered care during the childbearing years.

 

Visionary midwives and their physician and community allies joined together to open a center staffed by certified nurse-midwives and registered nurses, a core staff that would later grow to include nurse practitioners, lactation consultants, and childbirth educators.

Starting at County Line Road

Our founder, Sherley Young, first Medical Director, Steve Ellen, MD, and first midwife, Edie Wonnell, CNM exemplified creative courage. They imagined a different paradigm of care for childbearing families in this region and planted the seed for the thriving, out-of-hospital model of care that has deep roots in our community today.

The Birth Center was housed in a cozy brick Victorian home on County Line Road in Bryn Mawr, across the street from Bryn Mawr Hospital. After seven years of serving childbearing people, TBC successfully financed and purchased the building in 1985, supported in large part by donated funds from the community. This also allowed TBC to renovate their facility to include two full birthing suites, two exam rooms, an office, a kitchen, and a meeting space.

Interest in out-of-hospital birth continued to grow, reflected by a steady increase in clientele. By the turn of the century, it became clear that TBC leadership would have to consider expansion into a larger and more modern facility.

2005

In 2005, TBC moved into its current home, a brand new three-story building next door to the original site on County Line Road. The building originally included three birthing suites, a living room (that can be converted to a birthing suite), two kitchens, a classroom, a lactation suite, five exam rooms, and a floor for administrative offices.

Moving into a modern, spacious building enabled us to expand education as an integral focus of our care. We host free seminars introducing physiologic childbirth to families, as well as childbirth, parenting, and lactation education. We also offer multiple lactation support groups and a new parent support group that are open to the community and offered free of charge. Additionally, Lifecycle offers professional development opportunities for members of the birthworker community.

10,000 babies

In 2014, TBC celebrated the milestone of welcoming 10,000 babies! One year later, TBC changed its name to Lifecycle WomanCare (LWC) to better reflect the full scope of care provided to clients across the lifespan. In 2017, we opened a satellite office in South Philadelphia in order to expand our care in the region.

Expansion

In 2021, after rising to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and meeting the increased demand for out-of-hospital birth, we were offered another chance to expand. Lifecycle purchased the building next door and have plans to expand our clinical services and educational offerings.

Not only have we significantly increased the number of clients that receive care at Lifecycle, but our efforts to become more inclusive have resulted in a more socioeconomically diverse client population that includes families of all kinds. We are proud to have built a center that offers exceptional gynecological, perinatal, and postpartum care that is empowering, compassionate, evidence-based, and cost-effective. We remain proudly independent and non-profit.