6 Reasons to Give Birth at a Birth Center

Cheyenne, birth center, baby chick, newborn, out of hospital birth, natural birth, postpartum

6 Reasons to Give Birth at a Birth Center

While pregnant with my first baby I did a lot of research into a hospital birth vs. a home birth. I already knew I wasn’t that comfortable with the hospital option (just watch The Business of Being Born and you’ll see why), but I also had some hesitation about having a baby at home (and my husband was vehemently opposed to that idea). We didn’t realize until we started doing our homework that a third option was available to us: the Birth Center.

Cheyenne, baby chick, newborn, water birth, birth center, out of hospital birth

All images taken by Fresh Light Photography

What is a birth center?

A birth center is a “home-like facility existing within a healthcare system with a program of care designed in the wellness model of pregnancy and birth” staffed by midwives, nurse-midwives and/or obstetricians. Birth centers provide “family-centered care for healthy women before, during, and after normal pregnancy, labor, and birth.”

For my husband and me, the birth center was the middle ground we were seeking when it came to where I was going to have our baby. Since I was 100% against the hospital (unless necessary, of course) and he was 100% against our home, when we discovered the birth center, we knew we’d found our solution for a natural, comfortable (as possible . . .I mean, it is labor after all!), and intervention-free labor and delivery experience. Here are some of the main reasons why I chose to have a birth center birth for each of my babies.

cheyenne, baby chick, midwife, doppler, fetal heart tones, birth center, out of hospital birth, water birth

1. Midwives vs. Doctors

In my experience, there is a stark difference in the level of care provided by a midwife versus that of an OB/GYN. In most cases, the OB/GYN is rushed and brief during most of the pre-natal visits. He does the necessary check-up items of each pre-natal visit while answering any questions you may have. The entirety of the visit lasts for maybe 10-15 minutes (after you waited around for your appointment to start for at least 30). At the main event, the OB/GYN often doesn’t even enter the room until you are crowning, so most of the hard work of coaching and supporting you is done by one or two nurses you’ve likely never met in your life. On the other hand, midwives take far more time during your appointment to discuss any and every thing you have questions or concerns about. They also take the time to help you familiarize yourself with your baby and your body as it grows (my midwives helped me feel my baby through my belly to determine whether I was feeling a head or a bottom). During labor, the midwife is by your side the entire time. She is a coach and a mentor and a friend. She guides you through the process and recognizes cues such as changes in breathing and/or moaning to help you understand what is happening to your body when it is happening. The midwife experience is a truly personalized, intimate experience that often turns in to a friendship.

2. Cost

There’s also a big difference in the cost of having a baby when you choose a birth center over a hospital. In most cases (and it always depends on whether your insurance will cover a birth center), having a baby at a birth center costs about a third of what it would cost to have a baby in a hospital. I had the unfortunate experience of having to pay for both with my first child since I spent 40 hours laboring at the birth center before I transferred to the hospital where I ended up delivering her. Seeing the difference between the bills from the birth center and those from the hospital was astounding.

3. More Autonomy

At a birth center, there is also less pressure to consent to treatments you do not want for you or your soon-to-be-born child (more on this later). During the last weeks of your pregnancy, the midwife will sit down and talk to you about all of the treatments or procedures that are available to you and she will tell you why each treatment is offered and answer any questions you may have about it. With a doctor, it is rare that he would sit down and discuss the pros and cons of these treatments; rather, they tell you what is typically done, all the good reasons for having it done, and encourage you sign the papers for consent. I am the kind of person that needs to know ALL THE THINGS about a subject before I consent to it. I can’t just trust that it’s okay because it’s “the norm.” So being able to go over all the treatment options and have an educated discussion about each of them with my midwife was important to me.

READ MORE
Birth Hypnosis - Does it Really Lessen the Pain?

birth center, baby chick, cheyenne, doppler, midwife, out of hospital birth

4. Fewer (Unnecessary) Medical Interventions

Giving birth at a hospital means that you are more likely than not to be subject to numerous interventions, most of which are usually completely unnecessary for a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. According to the National Birth Center Study II, “[a]lmost all women (87%) who labor in hospitals undergo continuous electronic fetal monitoring, 80% receive intravenous fluids, 47% have labor artificially accelerated with medications, and 43% of first-time moms have labor artificially induced.” Moreover, women who have their babies in a hospital have a four times greater chance of having a c-section. As stated in the study, “[t]here is strong evidence that routine use of these practices, when carried out without medical indications, has few benefits and many potential harms for healthy mothers and babies.”

At a birth center, none of these interventions are used. Fetal monitoring is done by way of a handheld fetal doppler and is checked at regular intervals. There are no intravenous fluids, no medications, and no induction. Women are allowed to labor on their own time and in their own way. One major benefit of laboring in a birth center is the ability of the mom to eat and drink during labor and to labor in any position she deems necessary (whereas in the hospital 60% of women are not allowed to eat or drink, 76% are restricted to bed, and 92% give birth lying on their backs). Additionally, many birth centers offer laboring mothers the option of laboring and/or delivering their baby in water, which many women have called the “natural epidural.”

Finally, for those moms who have chosen not to vaccinate their children, or those who are still doing their research and haven’t made a firm decision, having a baby in a birth center allows the new family to choose whether or not to allow such interventions such as eye ointment, the vitamin K shot, vaccinations, and the heel prick test to their newborn. In a hospital, certain of these interventions are required by law and the others are very strongly encouraged, whether the parents have had the chance to educate themselves on them or not.

Cheyenne, birth center, labor, natural birth, out of hospital birth, contraction, baby chick

5. All the Comforts of Home

Anyone who has ever visited or been admitted to the hospital knows how uncomfortable they can be. The beds are small and lumpy, there are nurses going in and out of the room constantly, you usually end up with needles in your hands and arms, the lighting is anything but soft and the atmosphere is less than homey.

In a birth center, your room is very much like a bedroom. The bed is large and soft, usually with real sheets and fluffy pillows, the lighting is soft and low, music is playing if you want it to be, and your midwife is the only one poking and prodding you and it’s usually not very often. You are allowed to walk when you need to, eat when you need to, and labor in any position you need to. If you want to get in the shower, feel free. If you want to labor in the warm tub, sink in. The entire goal of a birth center is to make you feel as comfortable as if you were in your own home.

READ MORE
When to Go to the Hospital in Labor as a First Time Mom - Podcast Ep 1

One concern I hear often when discussing having a baby in a birth center is that the soon-to-be mom (and dad too) are worried that if something were to happen, they wouldn’t be at a hospital with doctors and equipment and medicine. I understand this concern as my husband and I, too, had it. Fortunately, most birth centers are very close to, if not already in, a hospital. For those birth centers that are not already in a hospital, a woman can be transferred to a hospital very quickly if she chooses to or if it is medically necessary. However, needing to be transferred to a hospital is a rare occurrence. According to the National Birth Center Study II, 84% of women who choose to have their baby in a birth center indeed had them there. Those women who did transfer from a birth center to a hospital did so for non-emergency reasons (such as prolonged labor). Less than 1% of the women in the study were transferred for emergency reasons.

I personally have experience with a transfer from a birth center to a hospital. As I mentioned before, I labored for 40 hours at a birth center with my first baby. I had gotten stuck at 7cm and my baby was acynclitic (she was trying to come out with her head cocked to one side). Despite all of our best efforts to get her back in the right position, she, being stubborn like her mama, declined. After so many hours of no sleep, little to eat, and a LOT of physical exertion and pain on my part, I made the choice to be transferred to the hospital simply so that I could get an epidural in an effort to achieve my goal of having my baby vaginally. By the time we got to the hospital, my sweet, stubborn girl had shifted her position and I was at 9cm. A few hours later, she was indeed delivered vaginally and she was healthy, fat, and happy. It was not the birth scenario I wanted for her or I, but it was what I needed to do at the time and I am thankful that I was able to easily transfer to the hospital.

Cheyenne, baby chick, delayed cord clamping, out of hospital birth, birth center, water birth

6. The Postpartum Experience

The minutes and hours after a baby is born is a crucial time for mama and baby to begin to form their incredible bond. There are many things done in the hospital within those first crucial minutes that can interrupt that important bonding time as well as physically impact the health and well-being of the child. In my experience (and I’ve experience both settings), the postpartum experience in a birth center is light-years better than that of the hospital.

In most hospitals (although many hospitals are moving toward being more baby friendly these days), in the minutes after a baby is born, he or she immediately has its umbilical cord clamped and cut, he/she is vigorously rubbed down with clean cloths and wrapped in a tight coil of blankets with his/her head covered in a knit hat. While this pretty common practice doesn’t seem so bad at first glance, there are a number of ways it either disrupts the mother-child bonding experience or potentially negatively impacts the optimal health of the baby.

First, delayed cord clamping is fast becoming the recommended standard over the more traditional method of clamping and cutting right away. Delayed cord cutting offers a great many benefits to the baby, including higher birth weight, better early hemoglobin concentration, and increased iron reserves. While the general consensus among most professionals is to let the cord pulsate for one to three minutes post-delivery, many midwives subscribe to the rule of cutting the cord only after it has stopped pulsing entirely, which could take much longer than 3 minutes.

READ MORE
5 Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping

Delaying the rub-down or the bath of a newly born baby is also a better for the health of the baby than an immediate clean up. The sticky white coating of vernix that covers a newborn is excellent at protecting newborn skin and helping it to adapt to the outside world. It also helps stop water loss through the skin, it aides in temperature regulation, and it helps boost the immunity of the child. Vernix continues to protect the new baby for as long as it stays on the skin. By rubbing the vernix off the baby’s skin as soon as he is born, the baby loses many of its incredible benefits. Delaying the cleaning and/or washing of the baby’s skin for as long as possible will do the child a world of good.

Also, wrapping the baby tightly in blankets before handing baby to mom interrupts the very important act of “kangaroo care,” or skin-to-skin time. Kangaroo care is a method of holding a baby, naked or with only a diaper, against the bare chest of a parent, usually the mother, for an extended period of time. The benefits of kangaroo care to a baby include stabilized heart rate, stabilized breathing, improved oxygen saturation, more rapid weight gain, more restful periods of sleep and decreased crying, among other things. Done right after the birth, kangaroo care offers the added benefit of encouraging immediate breastfeeding.

Finally, one benefit of using a birth center over a hospital that many people don’t think about is the postpartum support that the midwife offers to new mothers that an OB/GYN does not or cannot offer. After the birth of my first child, as I started experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, I mentioned my symptoms to the doctor who delivered my daughter at my 6-week check up. He readily admitted to me that he was not as well educated or equipped to diagnose and treat postpartum depression and suggested I go to my general doctor or a psychiatrist for further diagnosis. As disappointed as I was to hear this, I appreciated his candor and I went to my midwife to ask for her advice. She was able to offer me the resources I needed to find a solution to my postpartum depression (we tried many natural methods that often work for many women, but in the end we agreed that I needed to see my general practitioner for a prescription for anti-depressants). My midwife was also able to offer invaluable insight and advice when I had issues breastfeeding and was able to connect me with an amazing lactation consultant who could further help me.

While hospital birth is still the norm for women in the U.S., that does not always make it the best choice. Alternative options, such as home birth or birth centers, are steadily becoming more widely known and available choices. It is so important for moms and their significant others to research the pros and cons of each available option so that they may make an educated and informed decision. The birth of a baby is such an exciting, but also a stressful, time. Being comfortable in your decision on where to have your birth experience helps to take some of that stress away so that you can better enjoy the crazy, wonderful journey.

About the Author /

Cheyenne is an attorney, writer, speaker and blogger with a slight obsession for home decor, red wine, and good coffee. Cheyenne’s blog, Sense & Serendipity, focuses on inspiring others to create a home well loved and a life well lived. Cheyenne lives in San Marcos, Texas with her two children, Aislin and Hawkins.

#FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM
Instagram post 18074272528164523 @debiandbebi wrote these words when she was a new mom and struggled with #postpartumdepression. She hopes to remind everyone that it is okay to struggle with being a new mom and that does not mean you don't love your baby. ❤️⁠
(quote by @debiandbebi)⁠
.⁠
#postpartum #mentalhealth #ppd #motherhood #selfcare #kindnessmatters #postpartumprogress #postpartumlife #newmom #newmotherhood #mommychick #babychick #depression #mentalhealthmatters
Instagram post 17863413055589017 When they wake up in the morning and give you that big grin . . . 😍 There is nothing sweeter.⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #goodmorning #happybaby #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17848203934772065 Her comes Amazon, here comes Amazon, right down my driveway! 🎶📦🤣⁠
📷: @cmon.mama⁠
.⁠
#christmas #christmasshopping #amazonmom #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17862171103601373 All of these things make me happy. What would you add to your self care toolbox?⁠
I'm seriously needing some of these things tonight to start a new week. Hoping you mamas get some self care time too! 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #selfcare #selfcaretoolbox #mumlife #mommylife #metime #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17974795027288980 Was he dreaming he was riding a bike last night escaping from wild animals?! OUCH! 🤕🚲⁠
📷: @themommyconfessions⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 18081610903134401 Praying that your toddler let's you get to sleep this weekend. 🙏💤⁠
📷: unknown⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17866776847554303 Above all else, let us teach them to be kind. 💗⁠
(quote: @mommywinetime)⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #mommychick #carpool #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17853200368708392 SURPRISE! A little shocked, a little tired, and a LOT BLESSED. Congrats, @sarah_lit! ❤️⁠
📷: @sarah_lit⁠
.⁠
#babyannouncement #pregnancyannouncement #pregnancy #pregnant #momtobe #pregnancylife #mamatobe #babybump #pregnancyjourney #bumpie #preggo #maternity #motherhood #momlife #expecting #mumlife #mommytobe #pregnantlife #babyontheway #inspirepregnancy #mommychick #babychick #babyonboard #mumtobe
Instagram post 17864808397574241 Pregnant and hungry all the time? Here are some great ideas to keep in the fridge when the hunger pains kick in! 🤰👍⁠
📷: @juna.moms⁠
.⁠
#pregnancy #pregnant #pregnancytip #momtobe #pregnancylife #healthypregnancy #mamatobe #fitpregnancy #babybump #pregnancyjourney #bumpie #preggo #pregnancybasics #pregnancyhelp #maternity #motherhood #momlife #expecting #mumlife #mommytobe #pregnantlife #babyontheway #inspirepregnancy #mommychick #babychick
Instagram post 18073051357163780 When it comes to clamping the cord, our mottos is "what's the rush?" The blood volume in the placenta and cord at the time of birth is BABY'S blood. It's simply mid-circulation in the placenta at the time of birth. It just makes sense to leave it be and let it finish its job.⁠
No, the blood won't drain out of baby and go backwards into the placenta.⁠
No, your baby is not more likely to get sick from jaundice.⁠
Yes, your baby will still be getting oxygen while they figure out breathing, especially important if they need resuscitation.⁠
Yes, your baby will have better iron levels for the first year of their life.⁠
Look at how thick and engorged this cord still is at 4 and 18 minutes after baby was born. Just imagine how much blood baby would have lost if the cord had been clamped immediately, or at 60 seconds, 90 seconds, or 3 minutes! The placenta was expelled immediately before the 18 minute photo was taken. The pulse in the cord could still be felt even AFTER THE PLACENTA HAD BEEN DELIVERED! The cord was finally clamped and cut more than an hour after birth at 73 minutes. ❤️⁠
📷: @lawrenrosephotography⁠
Informative post and words by @bundleborn⁠
.⁠
#placenta #lotusbirth #homebirth #midwife #midwifery #phsiologicThirdStage #delayedcordclamping #optimalcordclamping #waitforwhite #whatstherush #postpartum #birth #laboranddelivery #babychick #mommychick
Instagram post 17866964371538725 Stacks on stacks . . . of diapers. 😂 Can you relate?⁠
📷: @krayons.n.tequila⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17852665306696124 With the holiday season upon us and moms trying to make everything magical for their families, remember to stop and take a moment to take care of you. ❤️ Have a hot cup of coffee, a long warm shower and some alone time. Communicate this with your partner not as a wish but as a necessity. We must take the time to take care of ourselves to better take care of them. 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 18095239591099259 After holiday feasting . . . this baby gets me.⁠ 🤣
📷: unknown (DM for credit)
.
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #newborn #pantsoptional #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17844162355818683 I think I had a little too much turkey . . . and pie. 😬🍗🥧 #leggingsforlife⁠
📷: @hallmarkbaby⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17990835490280335 I totally felt this way when I was pregnant. And kinda feel this way after all that turkey. 🤣🦃 Happy turkey day to all you expecting mamas!!⁠
📷: @madiford2 via Twitter⁠
.⁠
#pregnancy #pregnant #funnypregnancy #momtobe #pregnancylife #thanksgiving #mamatobe #turkeymama #babybump #pregnancyjourney #bumpie #thirdtrimester #preggo #pregnancyhelp #maternity #motherhood #momlife #expecting #mumlife #mommytobe #pregnantlife #babyontheway #inspirepregnancy #mommychick #babychick
Instagram post 18094211479105476 I spy with my little eye the cutest turkey ever. 😍 Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Hope it's filled with love, laughter, and cuteness like this. ❤️⁠
📷: @emilyshapaka⁠
.⁠
#thanksgiving #happythanksgiving #family #grateful #thankful #babychick⁣ #mommychick #blessed #gratitude #happy #thankyou #happiness #givethanks #turkey #holiday #love #turkeyday #holidays #baby #babyturkey
Instagram post 17852562805720320 Loneliness is a real thing in new motherhood and I want to be sure we talk about this. It's okay to say, "I feel lonely." We normalize one another's experiences when we share the reality of our journey. It can be so isolating when we bring our small human home and our lives revolve around his/her care. We feel detached from the outside world. The monotony of new motherhood can be heavy.⁠
.⁠
Here are some tips to combat isolation:⁠
.⁠
1️⃣ Get outside when possible.⁠
2️⃣ Video chat with friends/family.⁠
3️⃣ Join a virtual group.⁠
4️⃣ Invite someone to come over.⁠
5️⃣ Find a local mom's group.⁠
6️⃣ Listen to the radio or a podcast (it's interesting how this can make us feel connected with others)⁠
7️⃣ Run an errand--even grabbing a coffee via drive-thru can feel good.⁠
8️⃣ Get to know your neighbors.⁠
What would you add to the list?⁠
.⁠
Repost: words and 📷 by @psychedmommy⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #newmom #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17862516742586656 Pass the rolls. Baby rolls, bread rolls, all the rolls.⁠ 😍🍞👶 #thanksgivingjokes 😜⁠
📷: @divasunrisekiss⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #thanksgiving #toddler #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #toddlerlife #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommchick #rolls #babiesofig
Instagram post 17867282176536875 ⁠For the week of Thanksgiving (and longer if you can!) let's focus on what we DO have instead of what we lack. The more we express gratitude and appreciate our blessings the more we recognize all of our blessings and everything we should be thankful for. 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #gratitude #thankful #mumlife #mommylife #mommychick #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #thanksgiving #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17855722339639264 ✈️ Tips to Survive a Plane Ride with Kids ✈️⁠
.⁠
Flying on a plane with your little one for the first time can be terrifying. Are they going to cry the whole time? How will they handle the airport, the turbulence and the landing? Well we have some tips that will help prepare you for your flight with your kids. Here's what to do to have a more enjoyable experience 😊 {Link in bio!}⁠
📷: unknown⁠
.⁠
#flyingwithkids #travelwithkids #familytravel #travelingwithkids #kidsonplanes #travelpic #airplane #familyholiday #parenting #parenthood #firstflight #babytravels #motherhood #momlife #mumlife #mommychick #babychick #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣
Instagram post 17895768721417819 Who you gonna call?⁠ 🤣🤣🤣
📷: Martiza Elizabeth on FB
.
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
  • Sort by:

  • Category:

  • Tag:

  • Type: