If you’re experiencing an uncomplicated pregnancy then a birth center may be the perfect place for you to give birth. A birth center is a free-standing facility that offers prenatal care, labor and birth services and postnatal care for women and families. Most birth centers are not part of a hospital, but some do have hospital associations or relationships. They are licensed by the state the center resides in and must meet specific guidelines for birth center facilities in the state. Birth centers are designed for healthy and low-risk mamas-to-be and offer many benefits over the traditional hospital setting. Read on to learn more about why a birth center may be right for you.
Birth Centers Offer the Midwife Difference
Overwhelmingly, midwives are the primary care attendants at birth centers, an important benefit in itself. A major study of 800,000 low-risk pregnant women by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the late 90s, showed that women cared for by midwives experience far more positive birth outcomes than do women cared for by other types of obstetrical staff. In this study, women cared for by midwives experienced a 19% lower infant mortality rate, a 33% lower neonatal mortality rate, a 31% lower rate of low birth-weight babies and tons of other benefits as well. Researchers estimated that midwifery care meant more time spent with patients and fewer labor interventions, both of which lead to more positive birth outcomes for mama and baby. Midwives aren’t the only benefit of birth centers though.
Birth Center Benefits
- A relaxed and home-like, not clinical atmosphere.
- Maximum privacy and personal space.
- A safe birthing environment.
- You can wear your own clothes.
- A compromise between home birth and hospital birth for families who feel nervous about home birth.
- Extras like birthing tubs and labor tools such as music and birthing balls.
- You’ll be encouraged to walk, eat and rest as needed which encourages an easier labor.
- Most have a kitchen area so your family can cook.
- Birth centers have an episiotomy rate of 12%. Hospitals have a typical episiotomy rate of 90%.
- You’ll be encouraged to labor in positions that are comfortable for you.
- No forced and constant monitoring.
- Cesarean rates at birth centers are 1/2 the rates of cesareans in low-risk hospital births.
- Breastfeeding is encouraged immediately at birth centers.
- Routine enemas, IVs and other invasive birth interventions are rare.
- Rooming in is the norm, meaning babies and mamas are not separated after the birth.
- It’s estimated that if 100,00 births were attended in birth centers, annual savings may be up to $314 million.
The real proof of a successful business is in the return business, which birth centers get. The American Association of Birth Centers notes that 98.8% percent of women who use a birth center would recommend it to friends and/or return to the center for their next birth.