A freestanding birth center is a facility devoted solely to the care of pregnant and laboring women. It is not physically attached to a hospital, although some are hospital-owned.
Reasons To Choose A Freestanding Birth Center
- The National Association of Childbearing Centers reports birth centers to be as safe as hospital births-with the added benefit of a significantly lower rate of cesarean sections. Birth centers, which generally service low-risk pregnancies, average only 4.4 percent c-sections, less than half the rate for low-risk women in hospital settings. In one survey, there were no maternal deaths reported and a neonatal mortality rate of less than one per 1,000 births, if severe birth defects are excluded. These rates are almost identical to those of hospitals.
- A birthing center offers you a home-like setting in which to give birth. You will not see a lot of high-tech machinery around you. You may, instead, see a Jacuzzi, which can be extremely helpful during labor, a room for your family to sleep in, or even a kitchen your family can use to prepare meals during your stay. It is most likely to have been carefully decorated and arranged to make you and your family feel comfortable and welcome.
- Families are encouraged to take full part in the birth and postpartum care.
- You will not find a lot of people coming and going out of your room, the way you would in a hospital. The staff will probably be small and familiar to you. Your privacy will be respected.
- You will have just one area for your stay where you will labor, deliver the baby, and recover. Many hospitals move women from room to room for the different parts of labor.
- The center you choose may be where you will go for all your pre-natal checkups and your childbirth education classes. The same center may also offer parenting workshops or breastfeeding support groups for postpartum, or sibling classes if you have older children. By the time you arrive for your baby’s birth you are likely to feel quite comfortable and familiar with the environment.
- There are still rural settings in this country that are many miles away from the nearest maternity hospital. It may be that a midwife-operated birthing center is your closest option.
- Most major insurance carriers do cover the cost of using a birth center.
Reasons Not To Choose A Freestanding Birth Center
- You have a pre-existing medical condition, such as diabetes, epilepsy, anemia or high blood pressure that makes it advisable to be in a hospital setting right from the start.
- You have been defined as high-risk, which means that you have a medical condition that necessitates a hospital birth, such as diabetes, epilepsy, anemia, high blood pressure, a previous cesarean section, or twin birth. Most birth centers are geared towards low-risk pregnancies. Some birth centers are willing to deliver twins and previous c-sections, but not all, so you need to ask.
- You have already chosen a care provider with whom you wish to deliver the baby and they are not affiliated with a birth center.
- You want even more control over your environment than a birth center can provide. Homebirth may be most appropriate for you.