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What is a Birth Center?
What is a birth center?. For women with a low-risk pregnancy who want more relaxed and natural birth experience, a birth center may be an appealing option. Keep reading for information on birthing centers.
What is a Birth Center?
Babies born in birth centers are usually delivered by midwives, nurse midwives, or nurses, though sometimes an obstetrician may also be available. Birth centers may be part of or attached to a hospital, or they may be separate facilities. The presence of medical equipment in a birth center is kept to a minimum, and painkillers may not be available. Safe birth centers should have an affiliation with a nearby hospital in case something goes wrong during the delivery and the baby or mother needs emergency medical care.
Birth centers are usually small, so mothers may feel like they have more privacy and can get to know the staff helping with their delivery. Birth centers usually have a focus on having the baby room in with the mother after birth and encourage breastfeeding, which has important benefits for the baby and the mother. Though mothers usually have a shorter postpartum stay in the birth center than they would in a hospital, good birth centers focus on teaching mothers about parenting while they are there.
Choosing a birth center
To find a birth center in your area, you can talk to local hospitals and obstetricians, check your area phonebook, or search online. Before you commit to using a particular birth center, make sure it is covered by your insurance or payment plan, and that you are comfortable with the midwives or doctors who will be delivering your baby.
The following questions can help you decide if you feel comfortable with a birth center’s policies and procedures:
Birth centers are probably a bad choice if you have any health programs or a high risk pregnancy, and many birth centers won’t accept patients who have certain conditions:
Even if medical conditions or insurance constraints won’t allow you to use a birth center, you may be able to find hospitals that offer some of the same benefits as birth centers. Many hospital labor and delivery centers are trying to give mothers more control over their birth experiences and make their labors more comfortable. Decide what you want from your birth experience and what practical constraints you have, then do some research and talk to doctors and hospitals to find the best match for you.
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