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Would you be concerned? Birth location question

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

So I'm currently planning to give birth at a free standing Birth Center in Brooklyn, I have liked the midwives and it seems pretty good.  I recently was looking at their yelp page and they had a new review (which is totally not something a pregnant mama should read!) but basically the woman is blaming the birth center for the death of her child due to a late transfer ect. there are a few other scary stories floating on there too, but they are more vague, there are also many positive stories, but the most recent one is the most upsetting and makes me the most concerned.  I'm not sure how I should proceed, if I should transfer to a local hospital which has midwives on staff or contact one of the midwives who just left the birth center (who I really liked) to see about a home birth or perhaps just have an open conversation and ask what happened, at my next appointment.


We had really wanted to have a birth center birth for our first child and didn't really feel comfortable with a home birth, but now I'm curious if there is a difference with a home birth vs freestanding birth center.


What do you ladies think, is this something that just happens, and you don't hear about it in a hospital setting, or should I be concerned.

post #2 of 6

Full disclosure, I've never had a birth at a birth center or at home, but have had natural childbirth several times in a hospital.


I think that the training of the people at the center/homebirth would be critical--lay midwife, vs. CNM... personally that would matter to me.  Other then that, there is bad stuff that can happen anywhere.  Sadly bad things can happen in hospitals, too.


I think I would have a very upfront conversation about it with the center, but also check out the local hospital.  What kind of relationship does the center have with the hospital? How long does it take to transfer, et?c


i have 2 run but have more, later...

post #3 of 6

Well, lay MWs can't deliver legally in NY.  IIRC, NY actually has it's own licensing procedure over and above the CPM used by many other states.  So they're either Licensed MWs or CNMs. 


A few things here come to mind. 


1- stop reading Yelp.  There are more reliable places to get reviews.  I know 2 business owners who Yelp has tried to extort money from, deleting positive reviews and keeping negative ones prominent unless they pay some monthly fee.  Even aside from that, you've made the choice to deliver here, you theoretically checked references and the like before making the choice, so why are you checking reviews now... to stress yourself out?  Or was there an actual reason you went looking (gut feeling/instinct maybe)? 


2- The death of a child is highly traumatizing.  The first instinct of any parent is to blame anyone possible, even if there's no one who realistically could have prevented the problem.  Take anything they have to say with a grain of salt. 


3- There are legitimate emergent reasons/times for a transfer to be made, but unfortunately transfer cannot resolve every problem.  Without knowing the exact medical reason for the death, and exactly what happened during the birth, leading up to the death, you cannot judge whether or not the MWs were culpable.  Even with all that knowledge, you may never know.  That's the thing about death, it's tricky.  Many stillbirths have no known reason, take a wander through the infant loss section here on MDC, and you'll find many mamas who will never have an answer why their baby was born still. 


If it would make you feel better, by all means ask.  Print out the review, take it into them and ask for some elaboration.  Be prepared that they may not be able to answer you though.  Between HIPPA and privacy concerns, and litigation concerns, they may not be able to tell you anything about the event.  But something worth asking at that point might be how their procedures/policies may have changed, how their practice may change following that death.  What changes did that death instigate in the way they practice?  That information could be very telling.  And at that point you're going to have to judge if you're comfortable with how it's being handled. 


I would not immediately run to the nearest hospital, because you have no idea what really happened, and unfortunately death is a part of life and sometimes birth.  You need more information before deciding.  And honestly, how many doctors at your nearest hospital have never lost a patient?  I'd be willing to bet very few, and all of them are new(er) to the practice of medicine.  There are no guarantees either way you go.  You have to decide where your comfort level is. 

post #4 of 6

Well said Cristeen.

post #5 of 6

cristeen responded perfectly so I won't add to that.  But I did want to let you know that birthing at a freestanding birth center and having a homebirth is basically the exact same thing, except you have to drive to and from the birth center and during homebirth it all just gets brought to you.  I wish more people realized that they are the same thing, same supplies, same midwives....  


Listen to your intuition for your birth, and I agree, stop reading yelp!

post #6 of 6

Echo what cristeen said. It's impossible to say what did or could have happened during that particular birth. I've talked to several people who delivered there, and the only real complaints I've heard have been about some insurance/billing issues and that the Birth Center is too quick to transfer women to Maimonides. Only you can really decide what you're comfortable with at this point. By all means, you should have a frank conversation with them about your concerns, even if they can't discuss the details of that particular case. And if it would make you feel better, perhaps talk to the midwife who left and is doing home births. I agree with lindsayjean...a home birth is not really different than using a birth center and if you did need to transfer to a hospital, you'd be able to have more say in which hospital you went ended up at. SUBMIT

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