Morgan Miller with a family after a home birth. Soft Corner Midwifery delivers an average of 40-50 babies per year, according to Miller. Contributed / Wild Tea Cup Photography

For over two decades, 94 Richardson St. in Bath was home to Betsy’s Salon and Spa, where Midcoast residents could treat themselves to an afternoon of comfort and pampering. Now, the building’s new owner hopes to bring the same relaxed vibe to a process that can inspire anxiety or dread — childbirth.

Last week, Bath’s Soft Corner Midwifery purchased the former salon, which it plans to convert into a birth center by this winter, according to owner and midwife Morgan Miller. She hopes the new space will give more Mainers the opportunity to experience birth outside of a hospital setting.

“It takes a creative lens to look at it now for what it will be,” Miller said of 94 Richardson St. “It’s going to be more like walking into a spa than walking into a medical space.” Contributed / Soft Corner Midwifery

“People birth best where they feel best,” said Miller, who moved to Maine and started her business in early 2020. “Having more options is really what we’re after.”

The pandemic brought a nationwide spike in midwife-led births, according to CDC data released in February. In 2020, 2.32% of births in Maine took place in homes, up from 1.88% the prior year.

Topsham’s Amy Marchessault, who had her first child in a hospital, chose a home birth in October 2020 to avoid restrictions on the number of visitors that could accompany her during and after labor. She was surprised by how much she enjoyed giving birth in a comfortable space and by the personalized care she received from Miller.

“I didn’t even know I needed the calm environment but it ended up being just so great,” she said. “I was really blown away at how amazing that experience was.”


While working with midwives, who train for three to six years before obtaining licenses to practice in Maine, can be a safe and viable option for many women with low-risk pregnancies, it’s important to have access to a hospital in case complications arise, Mid Coast-Parkview Chief Medical Officer Chris Bowe told The Forecaster in February.

Morgan Miller practiced at a birth center on the west coast for several years before moving to Maine in 2020. Contributed / Joshua Langlais

That could rule out home births for parents who live in rural parts of the state, Miller said. But birth centers, which often trade the sterility of a hospital for the natural finishes and soft lighting of a spa, can provide the same type of comfort.

“Often there’s kind of dry spots where there aren’t midwives offering home births,” Miller said. “(Birth centers) fill the gap to give them more of that care that they’re after.”

Once complete, Soft Corner’s birth center will be just one of four in Maine, said Heidi Fillmore, owner of The Birth House in Bridgton.

“Options are always a good thing when it comes to the birth, and birth centers offer a good one,” she said. “Having only three in the state doesn’t seem like enough.”

The Soft Corner center, which will open in late fall or early winter, will include one birth suite and two examination rooms, where specialists will provide pre- and post-natal care, nutritional support and other services, Miller said.

An open privilege model will allow other independent midwives to use the space and expand their practice area, she added. Eventually, she hopes to see more birth centers around Maine.

For now, Marchessault said, Midcoast residents are fortunate to have Miller and her new birth “spa” on the way.

“Maine is so lucky to have this type of care,” she said. “It’s going to be a beautiful space for people to be able to have their children.”

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