5 Reasons to Have a Birth Center Birth
By Sarah Do, guest blogger for The Birth Center
When it comes to the birth of your baby, it often feels like there are limited options available aside from which hospital is closest to your home. For a woman wanting a safe, natural experience without the potential hospital interventions, it can feel like they can only achieve this by opting out of a hospital birth entirely and having a home birth. While both options have their merits, the pure polarity of them can leave an expectant mother feeling like they have to make concessions to have the birth they want.
With my first child, I so desperately craved a midwife centered birth, but ended up having a natural birth in a local hospital. When it came to my second child, I switched from traditional OB/GYN to midwife centered prenatal care and eventually, a birth center birth. The differences were staggering and really changed my ideas about pregnant women’s healthcare options. For a woman craving a midwife lead approach, while still maintaining the safety net of medical expertise and options, a birth center birth may be right for you.
1. A birth center is truly a happy medium.
Want a home birth, but don’t want to freak out your friends and family? A birth center provides the individualized experience of the home birth and many of the benefits of a hospital birth rolled into one. While I still received a look of horror from some about my decision to not go to a hospital, it lessened the blow when people realized that I would still be at a facility with the option to transfer quickly to a hospital if needed.
2. You are all in with the idea of a natural birth.
While a natural birth is possible in a hospital setting, many women – myself included, end up feeling pressured to succumb to the epidural. In my case, I didn’t accept it the many times it was offered and received patronizing comments about my choosing to forgo assistance from the almighty anesthesiologist. While I didn’t give in, I can imagine how many women crack under the pressure of the pain combined with the pressure of hospital staff.
In a birth center, typical drugs aren’t an option to begin with, instead offering alternatives like water therapy, positional changes, acupressure, and massage to assist in the comfort of the laboring woman.
3. You prefer to have some medical equipment available if needed.
For women who are uncomfortable with continuous fetal monitoring during labor, but still want the option to check in periodically, a birth center birth provides that. Additionally, birth centers are equipped with oxygen, pulse oximeters, and other devices that can monitor the vitals of mom and baby.
In case of a true emergency, birth centers will immediately transfer to the nearest hospital, although midwives are specially trained to decipher a potential issue and handle it or transfer long before it becomes serious.
4. You want to forgo the typical newborn procedures.
At a birth center, delayed cord clamping is standard, so your newborn receives all of his precious cord blood. Likewise, you can forgo eye ointment, hepatitis B vaccine, and bath when your newborn is moments after leaving the womb. Vitamin K is typically offered to the parents that request it, but isn’t a requirement.
5. You want to be able to rest and maximize the time with your newborn.
This was a big one for me. After my first birth at the hospital, I was given very little time to rest or bond with my baby. It was one continuous interruption after another. The worst part was that I was stuck there for two days while I “recuperated” from the perils of labor and they ensured that I was competent enough to handle taking care of another human.
With my second, I was horrified at the thought of leaving my firstborn for several days and subjecting my newborn to the chaos of a hospital. The birth center allowed us to go home hours after delivery which meant that there was very little interruption in my toddler’s life and plenty of rest for my newborn and I.
While a birth center birth certainly isn't for everyone, it was absolutely the right choice for me and our family. I am appreciative that it was an option in our community as it gave us the ability to have a birth that was a happy medium between hospital and home birth.