In an apparent move to avoid any controversy with a potentially controversial marketing campaign, the Lincoln Center on Friday announced it would be using the phrase “baby center” to refer only to its baby-friendly baby-focused care centers, and not to refer at all to its maternity centers.
The announcement was made by the organization’s senior vice president for communications, Amy K. Williams, and comes after years of controversy surrounding its use of the word “baby.”
The move is in line with a broader trend of baby-centric marketing, with the Lincoln and the Washington-based Lincoln Children’s Hospital Group (LCG) using the word to refer primarily to their baby-oriented maternity centers, while the Lincoln Childrens Hospital Group and Lincoln Health Care have both opted to keep the word only for their baby centers.
In a statement to Mashable, the organizations said that the decision was made after careful consideration of a wide range of factors.
“The word ‘baby’ has become synonymous with ‘care,’ and our community has grown to support the use of baby and baby-centered care,” the statement read.
“To help us continue to create a safe and welcoming environment for our community, we have chosen to use the word ‘pregnancy’ to describe the care we offer to our newborns and their families.
We are also taking this step to ensure that we are not associated with the use or misappropriation of the term in any way.”
In a separate statement to The Washington Post, Lincoln Children and its parent company, LCG, said that they have “never been aware of a case of any of our affiliates using a word to describe maternity care in a marketing context.”
The statement added that the word pregnancy has been used in the past to refer exclusively to newborns’ care and that the company “has never taken the position that we should be associated with any other type of marketing.”
While this news comes as no surprise, the use by Lincoln Centers and LCG is another indication that the term has not always been so synonymous with baby-specific care.
Earlier this year, a New York Times report revealed that the Lincoln Group, a private hospital chain, was using the same term in marketing materials for its prenatal care centers.
Earlier in 2016, a BuzzFeed News investigation revealed that several brands of baby wipes had used the term “baby” in promotional materials for their products, and that some companies were using the slogan to market their products to pregnant women.
In response to the BuzzFeed News report, the parent company of the Lincoln Centers told BuzzFeed News that the phrase was used in marketing for baby care and was never intended to imply that the care was maternity-oriented.
“As with all marketing, it’s important to note that the words used in this way are not intended to suggest that the baby center is maternity-focused,” the company said in a statement.
“It is the parent organization’s position that the language used in advertising does not suggest that we or any of the affiliates are or will be affiliated with any specific provider, and therefore, the phrase ‘pregnant care’ is not a marketing term.”
The Lincoln Center, which is the oldest and largest maternity facility in the United States, has been in the news for years.
It has a history of being criticized for its maternity-centric care, and in 2014, the New York Post revealed that some of its facilities were not even able to treat pregnant women for preterm birth.
The Lincoln Centers, however, has maintained that it was not doing anything wrong, and said that it would continue to use its term “pregregnancy” to describe its pregnancy-focused baby-centers.
“We have always been committed to the health and well-being of our employees, and we are proud of our work to be a safe, nurturing place for babies and families,” the Lincoln Health Group said in an emailed statement to BuzzFeed News.
“Our commitment to a safe environment for all of our newborn babies is reflected in our use of pregnancy and baby as part of our mission statement.”