There are many misconceptions about birth centers in the U.S. Here, we unravel a few common ones to help you make the best decision for delivering your bundle of joy.
Doesn’t everyone give birth in a hospital? This isn’t the 1800s, after all, and we aren’t sending for a midwife to come quickly in a horse and buggy. If the idea of a birth outside of the hospital scares you to pieces, a birth center birth might not be for you. But if you’re open to the possibility of a healthy, natural labor and delivery without unnecessary medical interventions, let us help you get past some of those misconceptions. Still, a birth center might not be for you if…
1. Your plan for your birth is, “Wait, what’s a birth plan?”
There are a lot of things in life that you can tackle unprepared. A pop quiz? An impromptu speech? Go ahead and wing it! But when it comes to the labor and delivery of your child, you may want to do a little preparation first. Sure, whatever happens is going to happen, and you’ll get through it one way or another, but a birth plan can turn what could be a painful (and even scary) ordeal into a thrilling, empowering experience.
If you don’t know what to expect, you can’t prepare for it. When you’re in labor, your hormones – including adrenaline – are raging. Contractions will be intense and you’ll be better able to get through them if you have pain relief techniques planned out ahead of time. Seek out a reputable childbirth education class in your area and try to bring your birth partner with you. Practice breathing, visualization and meditation, and pack your birth center bag with items to create an environment that will support you in laboring well – essential oils, comfort food (for you and your support person!) and inspiring music. If you’re giving birth at a hospital, ask about permissible items, as many can be strict about what they allow.
2. You think a midwife is someone who rubs your back and wears Birkenstocks.
OK, this isn’t entirely untrue. Your midwife will rub your back (and some of them do wear Birkenstocks – it’s a comfortable shoe and the trend tide has turned in their favor!). But there’s much more to midwifery than yoga and granola.
Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) are licensed nurses with graduate degrees and specialized training in low-risk maternity care and women’s health. They are devoted to helping each woman have a healthy pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. Decades of research show that in coordination with physician care, midwifery care can lead to better health outcomes than physician care alone.
Midwives are trained to manage common problems arising in low-risk pregnancies. (More than 90% of all pregnancies are low risk.) They provide one-on-one care during labor and delivery, and collaborate with other providers to ensure women receive personalized, holistic health care during this exciting time.
Maternity care systems across the world are built on the idea that all women need a midwife, and some need a doctor, too. That’s perfectly aligned with our philosophy at Baby+Company, which is why we work closely with physicians and hospitals to ensure that every family gets the care that suits them.
3. You think babies have been born in hospitals since the dawn of time, and if it worked for Grandma then it will work for you.
Birth centers are increasing in popularity, which totally makes sense to us! Research has shown that childbirth is safer and easier when women have continuous support and can labor in a private environment that’s especially designed to allow them to move around and get comfortable. That’s exactly what a birth center like Baby+Company offers.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that hospitals are obsolete. These advanced technical facilities offer specialized care for women who are at high risk for complications. That’s why we maintain close ties with our nearby partner hospitals. Pregnancy isn’t an illness or a disease; healthy women can benefit from continuous midwifery care in our comfortable, safe environment without sacrificing access to hospital and physician care if it’s necessary.
This is truly the best of both worlds. Low-risk women who receive care in midwife-led birth centers are much less likely to have Cesarean sections than women who are cared for in the hospital. Studies around the world have found similar results, and national guidelines in the United Kingdom note that midwife-led care is actually safer than hospital care for straightforward, low-risk pregnancies.
Research points to the benefits of less intervention. Natural childbirth has a long and enduring legacy, and many women are choosing to return to those roots. The human race stands as evidence! Does a birth center birth make sense now?