Tell me about birth centers - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 01-23-2004, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
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I am hoping that some of you can help me with this decision. I had a hospital birth with my daughter assisted by a midwife. I was induced for lack of fetal movement, had an epidural and everything else that comes with being induced in the hospital.

We are starting to think about #2 and I know I don't want to go that route again but the practice I went to I like and it is comfortable. The nearest birth center is about an hour away. There are also some midwife practices closer that deliver in the hospital.

So, I guess my question is, tell me about your prenatal care at a birth center. Will the midwives really spend approx an hour at each prenatal appointment? What all did they do/discuss?

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#2 of 8 Old 01-23-2004, 03:37 AM
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My daughter was born in November and I choose to use a freestanding birth center (not affiliated w/a hospital), run by midwives. The same as a home birth as far as the midwife and any equipment, but obviously not in your own home (their birth tubs were very nice and huge!).

My first birth was your standard hospital birth (epidural, etc.). I would choose my midwives over the "standard" OB care and can't imagine ever going back to an OB, much less a hospital, for pregnancy/birth again. When interviewing hospital based midwives in my area, I found their standard of care to be virtually the same as an OB.

My midwfie appt.'s were about 1 hour, sometimes longer, sometimes a few minutes less, but not by much. We spent lots of time discussing anything I felt like talking about (baby movement, symptoms, birth issues, etc.). Palpated(sp?) my belly, did blood pressure, urine screen (for protien, etc.), listened to baby, etc.

Also, my birth center was about 45 min. away, no problem at all and made it in plenty of time for birth! Good luck in your decision
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#3 of 8 Old 01-23-2004, 11:46 AM
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It's going to vary greatly, depending on your care providers. You gotta just find the right one for you.
My OB always spent as much time as I needed explaining things and easing my fears. Usually this meant at least 30 minutes, sometimes much longer. Great doc, but my hospital experience was very traumatic.
Appointments with my midwife were the same or longer, as much time as I needed to discuss anything and everything. My second appointment, I spent three hours asking her questions!
I essentially had a homebirth with DD2, but not at my home. It was a four hour drive for me, but so worth it to not go back to the hospital!
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#4 of 8 Old 01-23-2004, 12:02 PM
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I had DS #1 in a freestanding birthing center. I switched into midwifery care at 28 weeks because my OB-GYN practice/hospital freaked me out. I had a wonderful experience. The midwifes always spent as long as we needed for each appointment. I think most of mine only took about 30 minutes but that was a far cry from the OB who only spent 10!

My birth was wonderful. You can read my birthstory at my website:

I will be delivering #2 there too. I feel so comfortable there and I can bring my whole family to the appointments. I just really can't say enough good things about it.

Hope this helps!

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#5 of 8 Old 01-23-2004, 07:39 PM
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I've never given birth in one but I went to one for prenatals through 24 weeks. It was staffed by CNMs and was part of the hospital. The hospital was a block away.

I did not think they were that different from the OBs I saw later. At the birth center, appointments were 10 minutes and all kinds of tests were pushed. They required ultrasounds and lectured about weight gain. It was very impersonal, too.

Like all institutions, a birth center will have rules and policies. This one would not let a woman labor there for more than 24 hours. After the birth you had to stay 6 hours - no more, no less - rather than staying for the amount of time that was right for you. They do push some interventions, although they do not give pain meds.

Perhaps in a freestanding center it would be different, but I would not go to a hospital affiliated center and expect it to be different from a hospital.

The center I was at did not provide any home birth services. I moved to another town and discovered that their center would not even see me for prenatals when I told them I was planning a home birth.
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#6 of 8 Old 01-23-2004, 08:04 PM
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We switched to a birth center with pregnancy #3 because I felt that the hospital my family md delivered at was not for me. The birth center was great- more time spent with the midwives, and they had a lending library, and was so beautiful inside... the birth was wonderful. They had a jacuzzi, didn't interfere with the process of labor, and we were home 4 hours later. To me, it's like a homebirth, only in someone else's home. That appealed to me. Also, it was covered 100% by our insurance, and a homebirth would have been out of pocket. I would do it again, if I was ever having more kids that is. They also had a lot more to offer in the way of pre-natal classes- hypnobirthing, prenatal yoga, hosted lll and bradley meetings, etc...

Sahm mom to three lovely girls, and happily married to a great, sweet guy
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#7 of 8 Old 01-24-2004, 10:11 AM
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A birth center birth can be a wonderful experience.

But, since "natural" : birth has become more popular there are more and more birthcenters springing up which are, IMO, hospitals in disguise.

With our first birth, we planned to deliver in a birth center but we ended up not doing so. I had warning signs, but didn't recognize them as such, that the midwives were more medical than I would have hoped. In addition, they were affiliated with a local hospital and did not support my individual options, alternate medications (they said castor oil was the ONLY option to get my labor going and it wouldn't work before I *needed* to go to the hospital), and were NOT adequate support for me at the hospital (once there they just sat back and watched the medical group take over, never ONCE suggesting different tactics I found out later were available). That said, I know people who went there and had marvelous births--- but they also conformed to the strict parameters of labor I did not realize were actually there, no matter how they attested otherwise.

With our second birth, we were in an HMO. They would not cover a birth center birth with the midwives we liked (LM not CNM) because the HMO had a birth center of their own. It was housed within their specialty wing, though, attached to the hospital and *all* their births were there. Now, I thought it was better than a tradiditonal hospital because they had jacuzzis AND said that DD could come and sleep over even (they suggested it, we did not bring it up) but it was still a hospital. They did epidurals, c-sections, the whole works.

The birth center my midwives practiced out of was a three bedroom PALACE. I would have loved to give birth there with my first! They had queen/king sized beds, jacuzzis, showers for two, you could be there as long as you wanted (come in early labor) but not stay for more than 6ish hours after (they recommend you get home before the wearies set in, 90% of problems occur w/in the first six hours and if you are haivng problems 6+ hours later they encourage a hospital transfer, but I assume aren't anal about it). There were only drugs available for after the birth (if stitches were needed, or the placenta wasn't delivered/you were having bleeding issues OR for reviving the baby).

We went with a home birth, though, which was perfect.



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#8 of 8 Old 01-24-2004, 06:14 PM
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Wow! I always knew I had a good birthcenter birth, but this thread cinches it.
My midwives still saw me even though I was 16 days "late". My midwife even gave me a magnent of a pg woman saying "I will have a baby when my body is ready." She once offered to break my H20, but I declined and nothing more was ever said.
My labor was 29 hours, nearly all of which was spent at 2 cm, and I never once heard the words "Failure to Progress."
All tests were optional.
I went home 4 hours after birth, but could stay as long as I needed.
The setting was beautiful esp. compared to my house which was still cluttered with boxes from a recent move.
THis bc has closed and I will have a hb next time though.

Evergreen- Loving my girls Dylan dust.gifage8, Ava energy.gifage 4 and baby Georgia baby.gif (6/3/11).

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