Benefits of Birth Centers

Myths Dispelled About Pregnancy, Labor and Birth

When it comes to pregnancy, labor and birth there is a lot of information out there; some true and some not so true. Between books, Google, family, friends and even many providers there are a lot of myths. For healthy, low-risk women midwifery care is very appropriate as well as out of hospital birth. Statistics show that it is the safest option for low-risk women due to low interventions.

IMG_4821.jpg

There are 6 myths that I am going to dispel about pregnancy, labor and birth. These are the most commonly asked questions when a potential mom is inquiring about midwifery care, specifically in an out of hospital birth center. Please note that a hospital that calls their Labor and Delivery Unit a birth center is not in fact a birth center. A true birth center is out of hospital. You will find that in a hospital setting with an Obstetrician many of these topics are looked at quite differently. Midwives and birth centers go by evidence based care.

1st Baby: Many times I hear mamas say '“this is my first baby, I should give birth in a hospital.” The biggest risk factor for having a c-section is the facility you walk into. The same healthy, pregnant woman could have a very different birth experience at three different hospitals with her condition being the same.

Maternal Age: In the world of obstetrics, a woman is considered advanced maternal age after 35 years old. Her pregnancy is referred to as geriatric. As a woman ages, certain risks go up but very slightly. This is no reason to classify a woman over the age of 35 as high-risk. It is natural and normal to get pregnant and give birth to a healthy baby at any age.

GBS Status: At around 36 weeks of pregnancy a test is done with a swab that determines if the mom is GBS+ or GBS-. GBS stands for Group B Strep. This bacteria lives on our body naturally and many times is found in the vagina. If it is, that would classify a mom as GBS+. If you are GBS+ you can still give birth at an out of hospital birth center; it just means extra precautions are taken during labor and postpartum.

Gestational Diabetes: At 28 weeks in pregnancy a test is done to check how the mom is processing sugars. Sometimes women develop gestational diabetes which typically resolves after birth. If the blood sugar comes back from the lab to high, there needs to be changes in diet. Most times through a special diet, blood sugars can be regulated. If this is the case, the mother can give birth at an out of hospital birth center.

Pregnancy Loss: Sadly, many women suffer from pregnancy loss at some point. Most times it is early in pregnancy but sometimes it is not. Whatever your journey is with loss, we are here to support you in your next pregnancy. you can give birth at an out of hospital birth center. Some women take comfort in more monitoring which can be accommodated.

Assisted Reproduction: There are many different ways to help with infertility today. Achieving pregnancy through IVF, IVF-ET, etc. does not mean the pregnancy is high-risk. It is still perfectly acceptable to be seen by a midwife and have an out of hospital birth. Another type of assisted reproduction is insemination or IUI.

This is a brief overview about typical myths. These opinions represent Health Foundations Birth Center practice and may vary from other freestanding birth centers. I will be speaking more on this topic Sunday, September 16th at 10:00am on the MomShow, MyTalk 107.1. Tune in!

If you are interested in having your baby at a birth center, please give us a call and set up a time to come in for a free consultation.

10 Reasons a Birth Center Might Be For You

Photo Credit: Rochelle Matos -  withlove.mn

Photo Credit: Rochelle Matos - withlove.mn

If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you may be considering your options for birth. While the majority of babies in the US are born in hospitals, there’s another option available for women who wish to birth in a homelike setting but desire many of the resources and safeguards of a hospital. This option is called a birth center. Birth centers are designed for healthy women seeking a natural birth experience under the care of midwives instead of obstetricians. Midwives embrace the idea that birth is a natural and normal process and should be approached under the wellness model of pregnancy and birth. Birth centers are able to provide routine, woman-centered care that focuses on the natural, physiological process of birth and seeks to minimize unnecessary interventions. While birth centers are not equipped for emergency medical procedures like C-sections or other serious complications, they are typically located in close proximity to a partnering hospital for quick transfers when necessary. If you are hoping for a natural birth experience in a non-medical environment yet under the care of licensed midwifery professionals, a birth center may be for you. Here are 10 reasons you should consider delivering at a birth center.

  1. You’re hoping for a natural, intervention free birth: At birth centers, pregnancy and childbirth are seen as natural and normal events. Midwives seek to empower and support women in doing what their bodies were created to do without unnecessary intervention. According to the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, the rate of C-sections for low risk births is only 6 percent at birth centers in comparison with 27 percent of low risk births in a hospital setting.
  2. You want to have a midwife instead of a doctor: Midwives are uniquely positioned to provide personalized care to mothers during pregnancy and birth that not only focuses on physical health, but also emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing. Midwives are trained professionals that support women in having optimal pregnancies and birth experiences with minimal medical intervention. Births that are attended by midwives tend to have lower rates of C-sections, episiotomies and perineal trauma.
  3. You believe hospitals are for sick people: If you are hoping to bring your baby into the world in a more homelike environment but you want the expertise and resources of skilled professionals, a birth center may be for you. In many countries around the world birth is not seen as a medical event at all but a natural, normal experience in life. Birth centers offer many of the safeguards and equipment of a hospital without the medical environment.
  4. You want to have a water birth: Though some hospitals do offer the option of a birthing tub, it is more commonly available at birth centers. Laboring and delivering in water has many benefits from pain relief, improved cervical dilation and a soothing transition for baby from womb to world.
  5. You want to be able to eat and drink during labor: While most hospitals will restrict your intake during labor due to the risk of needing general anesthesia for a C-section, most birth centers encourage you to nourish yourself as needed to keep up your energy and stamina.
  6. You want to save money: While you should check your insurance policy to confirm benefits and birth center coverage, delivering at a birth center is typically less expensive than delivering at a hospital. Reasons for the difference in cost include a shorter length of stay and fewer interventions among other variables. Typically, your out-of-pocket cost at a birth center will be about a third less than that of a hospital birth. 
  7. You do not want to have continuous fetal monitoring: While your midwife will likely intermittently monitor your baby, you will not be hooked up to a fetal monitor for the entirety of your labor like you may be at a hospital. This enables you to move about freely throughout your labor to the positions that offer the most relief and comfort. You also will not have to worry about any invasive internal monitoring or unnecessary cervical checks. 
  8. You don’t want to deliver on your back: Midwives are typically more flexible in encouraging the mother to birth and labor in whatever position her body tells her she should. Laboring and delivering on your back has been found to be one of the least conducive positions to helping baby move naturally through the birth canal. 
  9. You don’t want to feel rushed: In a birth center you will be encouraged and supported in laboring as long as your body needs. Rather than hastening the labor process with interventions, midwives embrace the natural normal process of childbirth in which you place trust in your body to know what it needs to do and at what pace.
  10. You want your family (or friends) involved: While a hospital may limit the number of individuals allowed in the room for your birth, at a birth center you will be welcome to have whomever you feel you need to support you in your birth experience. Birth centers will often involve the family during prenatal appointments and during labor realizing that the birth of a new baby is a family experience to be shared.

If you are a healthy woman experiencing a normal pregnancy and feel that a birth center may be more in line with your hopes and plans for natural birth, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center. We are here to support and empower you from pregnancy to postpartum and beyond.