What is The Birth Center?
We are an independent, freestanding center that provides healthy women holistic family-centered care with an emphasis on pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding support. Our birthrooms have large tubs for labor or water birth along with full sized beds and private bathrooms. Our entire staff is here to support you physically and emotionally on your journey to motherhood. The Birth Center is more than a place to have a baby — it is also great for women’s health needs, including annual exams, pap smears, and contraceptive management.
Why are birth centers a growing trend?
They aren’t just the newest fad. The American Association of Birth Centers states that there have been 248 centers established in 37 states, an increase of 27%, over the past 5 years. CDC Vital Statistics has indicated that births in birth centers were up by 21.7% from 2007-2010, while annual number of births actually decreased during that same period.
How do birth centers control costs?
The routine use of medical intervention and technology is minimized with the “high touch” model, as opposed to “high tech” care, and prenatal care that emphasizes education, wellness, prevention, self help, and self reliance actually reduces childbirth expenses. Because birth centers depend on the services of acute care hospitals to handle their high tech needs, they don’t compete with emergency services or hospital acute care. Staff are only in-house when a mother is in-house, which is an efficient use of staff.
Are birth centers safe?
Research has shown that birth centers have outcomes equal to or better than hospitals. In fact, there are over 30 countries with better Mother and Newborn Morbidity and Mortality statistics than the United States, and nearly all of them utilize midwives as primary health care providers to pregnant women. We only accept low-risk patients, and if the need for a higher level of medical care should arise, our patients can transfer seamlessly to OSF St. Joseph Medical Center or other hospital of their choice.
What is a certified nurse midwife?
A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is a registered nurse with advanced education and training in midwifery. Midwives are primary health care providers to women throughout their life. They perform physical exams, prescribe medications including contraceptives, order laboratory tests as needed, provide prenatal care, gynecological care, labor and birth care as well as health education and counseling to women of all ages.
Is it safe to deliver at the Birth Center?
Yes! Many studies have been done that prove the safety of having your baby at a birth center. For women experiencing a low-risk pregnancy outcomes are just as good, if not better, for births at a birth center with a Certified Nurse Midwife than for hospital deliveries. Birth centers are also associated with fewer interventions and a drastically lower likelihood of cesarean birth.
Do you offer waterbirth?
Yes! Where a mother chooses to give birth at The Birth Center is her choice and she has many options. Some of the benefits to laboring in the water include:
– Reduces sensory stimulus, thus producing less stress-related hormones
– Increases production of pain inhibitors, i.e., endorphins
– Decreases blood pressure
– Increases ability of the mother to focus
– Has an analgesic effect, reducing the sensations of pain
– Increases skin elasticity, reducing the amount of perineal tearing
– Gentler birth for baby
What are my options for pain control? Can I have an epidural?
Midwives are committed and experienced in supporting a laboring woman. The Birth Center offers a wide variety of non-pharmaceutical methods to encourage labor progress and enhance a mother’s ability to relax and find comfort. This low-intervention approach is one of the things that enable birth centers to delivery such great outcomes to their families including much lower c-section rates. Evidence shows that unnecessary interventions (such as epidurals, continuous fetal monitoring, and the restriction of the mother’s movements) increase risks and c-section rates. During labor, our clients utilize:
- physical and emotional support from trusted birth companions
- aromatherapy and other homeopathic pain-relief methods
- showers and birthing tubs of warm water to block pain receptors and are deeply relaxing for laboring woman
- massage and counter-pressure
- one-on-one care from their midwife and her assistant
- the ability to move around, walk, and get into any position that feels comfortable
- birth balls and peanut balls
- Privacy in a peaceful environment.
- Professional labor support, such as hiring a birth doula.
Do you provide doula services?
We believe doulas are a wonderful addition to the birth center model of care. They are welcome at the birth center if you choose to utilize their services. We do not have doulas on staff but would be happy to assist you in locating local doulas.
What are the reasons for which I would have to transfer to the hospital during labor?
At times, a laboring mother may need to transfer to the hospital to give birth under the care of one of our collaborating physicians. These physicians understand the desires and needs of mothers who have planned an out-of-hospital birth. Most transfers from birth centers are not for emergencies. The most common reason for transport during labor is slow progress and/or fatigue. If an emergency should present itself- our staff is highly qualified and well-trained in handling emergent-situations and have access to drugs, IV’s, oxygen and other supplies to assist with complications. If a medical emergency arises, you will be transferred to the hospital where more specialized care can be provided.
Who may I have with me at my birth?
Anyone you want! In addition to your midwife and her assistant, you can select anyone you wish to support you during your labor and birth. Our waiting area is also available for family and friends to relax outside of your birth suite. They are free to use the kitchen, watch tv, play games or use the birth center’s WiFi. Our goal is that every member of your family be as comfortable as possible during your birth experience.
How long is my stay after delivery (postpartum)?
After delivery, you and your baby will be monitored and cared for during those important first few hours after birth. This is a perfect time for skin-to-skin with baby, initiating breastfeeding, family bonding, and rest. A thorough exam of baby will be completed right by your side. Your midwife and her assistant will provide detailed instruction and support as you prepare for home. Before leaving with your newborn (typically four hours after delivery) they will ensure that you both are healthy, stable, and ready for the transition home.
What kind of follow-up care can I expect after going home?
A midwife or registered nurse will call and check on you within 12-24 hours following birth. A home visit will be completed 24 hours following delivery. We will then see you at the birth center for a 2-week postpartum visit and then again at your 6-week postpartum follow-up appointment.
Do you provide breastfeeding support?
We provide prenatal breastfeeding classes as well as one-on-one evaluation in the immediate postpartum period. Referral to outpatient lactation services and support groups can also be provided.
If I have had a previous cesarean birth, can I deliver at the Birth Center?
Although we are very supportive of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), we do not offer this service at the birth center at this time. We would be happy to help you find a VABC-supportive care provider.
What about cost?
Delivering at a birth center costs, on average, 30% less than a hospital delivery. We are still in the process of negotiating with the different insurance companies but other birth centers have been successful in negotiating contracts with their local insurance companies and we anticipate being able to do so as well. We also will work with medical cost-sharing groups, public and medical assistance programs, and self-paying patients. If you want to deliver here, you can. We will work with you.
How does the Birth Center keep my personal information secure?
The Birth Center complies with all privacy laws as outlined in the HIPAA security rule.