The majority of births are attended by OBGYN’s and take place in the more traditional setting of a hospital; however, nearly 10% of all US births are now being attended by certified nurse midwives in a birth center setting, and that percentage is growing.
There are many reasons for the appeal of giving birth in a birth center: you get a special level of care from a certified nurse midwife you don’t customarily get from a OBGYN, you largely determine how your labor will proceed, and you get to experience a more holistic, natural birth.
The growing demand for a more natural birthing experience attended by a midwife, and the growing popularity of birth centers, has prompted hospitals across the country to build birth centers of their own, and to hire a staff of certified nurse midwives. However, the services rendered by the hospital-based birth centers and the free-standing birth centers can be vastly different.
If a natural birth experience with a certified nurse wife is the direction you wish to take with your pregnancy, you can still expect a high level of care in both hospital-based birth centers and free-standing birth centers. There is also Level 1 L&D room emergency equipment & supplies on site, and if needed, access to emergency C-Section in less than 30 minutes (accordingly to ACOG guidelines). You are free to eat and drink what you want, and also have freedom to move around and give birth in the position you wish. There is even access to nitrous oxide to help in the labor process.
However, freestanding birth centers like South Coast Midwifery offer an abundance of services and options, that just aren’t available in a hospital birth center setting. Free-standing birth centers are accredited by the CABC (Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers), you aren’t constrained by hospital restrictions, and can invite as many visitors as you wish. Hospitals are also not flexible in offering alternative treatments and therapies.
The amount of care and involvement by your certified nurse midwife in a freestanding birth center is leaps and bounds above that of the hospital staffed midwives. In a free-standing birth center, you are assessed and admitted by your midwife, you attend your prenatal visits, which tend to be more thorough, and personal, inside the birth center with your midwife. Prenatal visits at your home are also available. There is same day discharge as an option; furthermore, once you have your baby, postpartum care is also provided by your midwife.
The focus of free-standing birth centers like South Coast Midwifery is to make your birthing experience as comfortable and positive as possible. As such, free-standing birth centers, like ours, offer amenities that aren’t available at hospital-based birth centers. Things like a spa-like setting, with accessories including: birth swings, rebozo and birth stools. In some birth centers like ours, you also have kitchen amenities onsite.
Two of the bigger reasons free-standing birth centers set themselves apart from hospital-based birth centers is the ability to have a water birth, and you may even have the option of a VBAC delivery.
Choosing where you will give birth to your baby is an important step in your journey through pregnancy. There are many things to take into consideration including whether you will give birth in a hospital attended by an OBGYN, or a natural birth center attended by a certified midwife. If you choose to utilize a birth center and the services of a certified midwife, it is important to take stock of what is most important to you, and what services each birth center has available, because not all birth centers are created equal.
Take a look at what sets us apart by clicking here