Giving birth is life’s most awe inspiring experience. As you prepare for the magical moment when your baby enters the world, you face many important decisions. Many of them will hinge on your personal philosophy and the things you’ve come to believe about childbirth. As you grow closer to your due date questions will arise: Who should be at the birth? Where- at home, birth center or hospital? Should I take the childbirth education classes- what kind? Will my birth be natural or do I want pain relief? Will I breast feed? And the questions go on and on…
Conventional obstetrical care treats pregnancy as an illness which must be managed. This often results in routine interventions in the birth process- everything from constant fetal monitoring and epidurals to labor induction to episiotomies and routine non-emergency Cesareans. Nearly all OBs deliver babies only at hospitals where interventions are easily available and commonly used. In contrast, CNMs view birth as a natural process. As more and more families realize there are alternatives to a conventional hospital birth, they are presented with the two main alternatives, which are home birth or birth center birth. Ultimately, where you feel the safest and most comfortable, should be where you decide to give birth, but this may be different for everyone. Your comfort is a key component in birthing success.
We often are asked the question of whether a home birth or birth center birth is best. There is no perfect answer. This can vary person to person, depending on your comfort level and living arrangements. The same safety professionals and medical equipment/supplies are available at home, as are in the birth center, so you and your baby’s safety are comparable at both locations.
As most birth centers are within minutes of a hospital (ours is less than 1 mile), a birth center can be a good option for people who would prefer a homebirth but live a long distance from a hospital should we need to transport in the rare case of an emergency. A birth center birth may also be a great option for you if you live with other people, have a lot of indoor animals, or live in an older apartment building with thin walls and limited elevator access. At your birth center birth, the birth team is responsible for set up and clean up that, at a home birth, may involve the family more, such as cleaning, laundry, trash service and placenta disposal. Our impressive and luxe birthing suites and oversized tubs are also often luxuries not all families are afforded in their own homes. Our birth center also comes equipped with what we call “birth accessories”, including birth swings, TENS units, breast pumps, and Nitroux Oxide. These supplies are not available in a home birth setting.