What Is A Birthing Center?

Why It Is A Great Alternative To Hospital Birth and Home Birth

Birth centers, as indicated in the name, are places where healthy, low risk mothers can birth their babies naturally in very relaxed, peaceful and intimate atmospheres. When you give birth in a birthing center, you will be admitted to a nice comfy room which which will remind you of a nice English cottage. Warm, homey and inviting.

The room also has a private bathroom with shower and bath, as well as a birthing tub for women to relax. In addition, some rooms may have their own private kitchenette so that the client’s families can make their own coffee, toast bread, or do a very simple cooking. Some birthing centers even offer family meal for their clients. In short, a birth center strives to make the the birth a rejoiced family event.

Hospital Birth vs Birth At Birthing Center

You may argue that sure the atmosphere at birth centers are inviting. But some hospitals do start to make their L&D; rooms more ‘homey’ and look less ‘sterile’.

So why choosing to give birth at a birth center instead of a hospital ?

What are the differences between hospitals and free-standing birthing centers ?

Aside from the appearance, the fundamental differences between a birthing center and a hospital lie in the birthing philosophy, postpartum treatment and other things as follows:

1. Birthing philosophy. The caregivers in the birth center (midwives) view birth as a normal, family event, whereas hospital generally views birth as a medical event. As a result, intervention and routine are rampant at the hospital. In contrast, midwives at the birthing center supports natural births and minimize intervention such as episiotomies (perineal cutting) by using alternative techniques to get the baby out without tearing the mother’s perineum.

Birth centers also have no ‘routine’, such as routine IV and monitoring the moms and babies with electronic fetal monitoring machine. Therefore, at a birth center, you don’t have to ‘fight’ to have a natural birth and to have your wishes accomodated. You are pretty much free to do whatever you want during the labor and birth. In a birthing center, natural birth is encouraged through personal support during labor and birth. Mother’s wishes are respected and families are encouraged to participate in the birthing process.

2. The caregivers. If you birth at a birth center , you will be cared by a midwife . Midwife birthing philosophies and approaches are different from that of obstetrician. First, midwives view birth as a normal and family event, and strive to support natural births while minimizing unnecessary intervention. In addition, midwives provide a lot of one on one time with the mother during pregnancy (prenatal check-up), labor and delivery, and postpartum. It is very common that there is a strong bond and trust between a midwife and her client long before the due date as a result of the personal attention that a midwife gives. This trust, indirectly, helps during the labor and delivery process.

3. Private. Birthing center, being just like a home, has only a couple of rooms. You will not find yourself birthing at the same time with tens of women at a birth center and therefore you can expect a lot of privacy if you birth there.

4. Education. In addition of providing excellent services in the area of prenatal, labor and delivery and postpartum, a birth center also has a great educational program. You may even be required to attend the childbirth classes the minute you are accepted as one of their clients. In these classes, you will be taught on how to prepare yourself in order to achieve a natural birth, as well as on what to expect and how to prepare yourself to be a mother. In addition, birth centers usually have a great library where you can borrow childbirth books and videos.

5. Familiarity to the client. One of the factors why a labor can go into a halt when women arrive at hospitals is that because they no longer feel they are in a familiar environment. By the time you give birth in a birth center you will be so familiar with the center because by that time, you will have visited the center numerous time for both prenatal care and childbirth classes. You know where everything is, you know the staff and caregiver well and you’ve seen the birth rooms a lot of time too. The familiar environment, coupled with a homey atmosphere at a free-standing birth center makes your labor proceed more smoothly.

6. Post-partum treatment: no mother-baby separation and commitment to breastfeeding. When you give birth at a birthing center, you will not be separated from the baby right after birth. Treatment or baby exam, is done in the parent’s presence. In addition, birthing center is a committed breastfeeding’s advocate. After birth, the baby is put on to the mother’s breast to encourage bonding and to give the breastfeeding a headstart. Subsequently, the mother will get an advocacy and help to start and maintain breastfeeding.

Homebirth vs Birth At A Birthing Center

Many women who want natural birth are not comfortable with the idea of homebirth for many reason. It could be that their home are not comfortable enough for a birth, or they are not happy with the prospect of cleaning up the house after birth, or they are afraid to give birth without the availability of pain medication, and of course it is possible that they are afraid in case of the emergency.

In this case, birthing centers are the best options for them. When you deliver your baby at a birth center, it’s like you’re taking a vacation. Comfy room, and the luxury of being served a meal after birth. In contrast to homebirth, you don’t need to clean up anything at the birth center.

You also don’t have to worry about the emergency transfer to the hospital. Birth center is part of the medical care system and has a back up obstetrician. In addition, it has a system set up to get you as soon as possible to the hospital to get the care you or your baby need if such emergency arises. Even if you don’t have an emergency, birth center has a team of nurse, midwife, and physician (obstetrician and pediatrician) in place to give you the best care as possible.

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