Birth Centers are an option for the labor of a low-risk pregnant mother and delivery of a baby. These centers are focused on a safe delivery within a home-like and comfortable setting. Deliveries at a birth center are usually attended by a mid-wife rather than a doctor. There are many reasons why a birth center is chosen over a hospital or home birth. Here are a few of the many benefits of delivering at a birth center:
Birth centers provide a completely different feel than a hospital. Rooms are created for the comfort and convenience of the pregnant mother and her family. Birth centers often include kitchens to provide access to food and the ability to cook. Rooms are decorated to feel homey and comfortable. Bathrooms with showers and Jacuzzis are often available to provide pain control and additional options for a laboring mother. Needed technology and support is combined with an at-home atmosphere to bring together the benefits of both.
Free of Hospital Restrictions
Birth centers are free of the strict rules often applied at hospitals. Labor and delivery is allowed to progress naturally with little outside interference. IVs, enemas, and other common hospital routines are not practiced in birth centers. Laboring mothers are allowed to eat. A woman has much more control in her labor and delivery when compared to hospital procedures. Babies are not separated from their mothers following birth and breastfeeding is supported and encouraged.
Quick Access to Additional Care
Most birth centers have procedures in place to transport a woman to a hospital if additional or emergency care is needed. Birth centers are also equipped to handle many labor and delivery problems and complications that may arise on their own. Delivering at a birth center can be much safer than a home birth, with technology and intervention available if necessary, and quick and easy hospital transportation if the need arises.
According to Babycenter, the cost of delivering at a birth center is often 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of delivering in a hospital. Many insurance carriers have agreements in place to cover costs as well. The lower cost makes delivering in a birth center very attractive for many pregnant women and provides another added benefit.
If a pregnant mother decides a birth center is the right delivery option for her, a tour of the building should be conducted early in pregnancy. Records of the birth centers deliveries, hospital transfers, and other statistics should be analyzed. The birth center should also be nationally accredited with licensed caregivers.
American Association of Birth Centers
Babycenter Birth Centers: Alternatives to Hospitals
American Pregnancy Association Birth Center