Birth Centers

by Pregnancy.org Staff

Giving birth is one of the most unforgettable and intimate experiences you will ever experience. That is why choosing where you'll give birth is such an important decision.

Birth centers offer a personalized and comfortable place for childbirth. They are a homelike facility with a program of care designed in the wellness model of pregnancy and birth -- pregnancy and birth are normal situations, not an illness. They are guided by principles of prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention, and cost effectiveness.

Birth centers provide family-centered care for healthy women before, during and after normal pregnancy, labor and birth. Usually a midwife and a nurse will provide your care, with a backup hospital nearby and a doctor on call in case of an emergency.

Birth centers aren't hospitals. C-sections are never done at birth centers but they are equipped with IVs, oxygen, medication, and infant resuscitation equipment, so if the unexpected happens, emergency care can be started while awaiting transport to the hospital. A birth center is:

  • A caring, warm and homelike setting where you are supported and respected as well as safe and secure
  • Welcomes your children, your parents, and friends so you can decide who will be with you or near you as you give birth
  • Attended by your midwife and doula working together to respond to your needs during pregnancy, birth, and early parenting
  • Confident in your ability to give birth
  • Free from routine or unnecessary procedures that carry some risks for healthy women
  • Free from infectious disease
  • Less expensive -- especially important for those whose insurance requires a co-pay
  • A place that gives you continuing support and information on infant care, breastfeeding, parenting, and family planning.
  • A place where birth is celebrated as a major life transition rather than a medical event

If personalized care, a comfortable atmosphere, relaxing facilities and birth without unnecessary medical procedures is important to you, a birthing center is a great alternative to a hospital setting.

A special thanks to ghostess for furnishing the picture of a peaceful Alex, minutes after his birthing center birth.

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