What is a birth center?
A birthing center is a healthcare facility for birthing people in labor, staffed by nurse-midwives or licensed midwives, and/or obstetricians. The birthing person may also choose to be assisted by doulas or various birth attendants. At a freestanding birth center, you'll get prenatal care throughout your pregnancy, give birth there, and may go there for your postpartum checkups. Birth centers often offer childbirth education and breast/chestfeeding classes. In-hospital birth centers operate a little differently. They're usually available to any midwife or doctor who has admitting privileges at the hospital, but your prenatal visits will probably be at your caregiver's office.
Why choose or would I want a birth center?
- If you are looking for an out of hospital birth, but don't want to birth at home, a birth center may be the perfect answer.
- Birth centers offer a low-tech and comfortable environment to have a natural birth experience with less interventions, more personal involvement, and with choices of birthing positions.
- Birth centers are birthing person-centered birth facilities giving you more control and partnership with staff, while still receiving care and encouragement.
- Birth centers aren't mini hospitals, but are often connected to laboratories, which makes testing and screening easy. In many cases, birth centers are located close to hospitals in the event of needing to be transferred during labor, birth, or postpartum.
- Birth centers offer a home away from home by providing comfortable (and often more soothing) private rooms, rocking chairs & bathtubs, and the freedom to move around during your birth.
- The best part? If you and or baby are doing well, you'll likely head home faster as well, usually within 12-24 hours. Some birth centers also offer a home visit 1-2 days postpartum.