Fletcher Allen Health Care has proposed to cut back its midwife service because of a decline in the number of women using the practice.
Under the proposal, Claire Lintilhac Nurse-midwifery Service would merge with an obstetrical practice, reducing the number of midwives from five to two full time positions and four doctors.
That means there would be no guarantee that a pregnant woman would have the service of a midwife.
Fletcher Allen says it was forced to make the change because deliveries by the midwife practice have dropped from 365 in 2001 to 275 in 2006.
On Friday, a dozen women protested the cutbacks.
A union representing the nurse-midwives says it’s negotiating with the hospital and will offer a counter proposal.