For many pregnant couples, a sterile hospital environment is the last place you want to experience the miracle of childbirth. Coupled with horror stories about nurses and doctors that push unwanted medical intervention, it is no surprise that more and more couples are choosing birth centers over traditional hospitals for childbirth.
Birth centers offer a comfortable, low-tech environment for childbirth that is much safer than home deliveries. You won’t have to worry about your labor being induced or a forced c-section, and you’ll receive encouragement to have a drug-free birth. But you will also feel comfortable knowing that these centers are equipped with oxygen, medication, and infant resuscitation equipment if they become medically necessary. Many women choose birthing centers because they allow a sense of control and involvement that traditional hospitals don’t offer. But before selecting a birth center, there are several questions you and your partner should consider.
How close is the birth center to a hospital?
While most birth centers are independently owned and operated, some birth centers are affiliated with hospitals and may even be located inside of one. The benefits of choosing a birth center affiliated or close to a hospital are important. If your labor doesn’t progress the way it should, or if your baby shows any signs of distress, proximity to a hospital can be a literal life-saver.
Is the birth center staffed by licensed health care providers?
When talking to birth centers, be sure to confirm that the birth attendants are licensed physicians, nurse-midwives, or midwives. The birth center should also be accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers. According to the American Association of Birth Centers, “Licensing and accreditation give the public and parents a way to decide whether this is a quality center or not. Professional licensing and accrediting agencies provide oversight of the outcomes of care in the center as well as the physical facility.”
How much does it cost and what does it cover?
If you have insurance, check with both the birth center and your insurance company to determine how much will be covered for a childbirth. Typically, birth centers cost less than traditional hospitals because women tend to stay for a shorter amount of time and receive less medical interventions. Some birth centers offer a package of care that includes prenatal consultations as well as birthing and breastfeeding classes. Determine what your birth center offers and take advantage of what you and your partner can afford.
About Monet Moutrie
Monet Moutrie is a writer and baker, who lives in Austin, Texas with her three cats and husband. Between government work, graduate school and her own blog, Anecdotes and Apple Cores, nothing sounds better to Monet than an evening of yoga, a cup of Earl Grey tea and a novel. Knock on her front door and you'll find her pulling out a loaf of bread from the oven while brainstorming ideas for her own work of fiction.Web | Twitter | More Posts (47)