Birth centers are designed for healthy, low risk mamas and healthy babies - if you're having an uncomplicated pregnancy and...
Birth centers are designed for healthy, low risk mamas and healthy babies - if you're having an uncomplicated pregnancy and want a low-tech, relaxed birth then a birth center might be just the ticket. Benefits of birth centers over hospitals include:
  • A very relaxed, not rushed or hurried atmosphere.
  • Birth centers offer midwives and a safe birthing environment.
  • Feels (and looks like) a home, not a clinical setting.
  • Great for women who want a home birth-like experience, but who are a little nervous about being at their own home. Or for women who have partners who worry about home birth.
  • Most offer extras like Jacuzzis or big tubs for women to use to relax in during labor. There are also usually kitchens, so you can bring food and cook - nice for partners especially.
  • Maximum privacy because very few women are at a birth center at any given time.
  • You normally get your prenatal care at the same birth center, so you'll get to know the place and people who work there.
  • You can wear your own clothes, not some icky ol' hospital gown.
  • You're encouraged to eat, drink, walk around and do other things you're used to - which by the way, will encourage an easier labor and birth.
  • You can labor in any position that is comfortable for you and won't be forced into a bed for constant monitoring.
  • Birth centers promote doulas, movement, birthing balls and other healthy, normal birthing supports.
  • Breastfeeding is encouraged immediately at birth centers. Plus it's easy to get early support for breastfeeding success.
  • Routine preps or enemas or IVs are not birth center norms. Care providers stick to what's necessary, not what's common in today's hospitals. For example, instead of continuous electronic fetal monitoring your baby's heartbeat is monitored via a handheld doppler.
  • Birth interventions are rare, and only used when necessary or asked for by a mama.
  • The episiotomy rate in birth centers is about 12% vs. the over 90% that's typical in hospitals.
  • No separation of mother and baby.
  • In case of emergencies and transfers, birth centers are linked up with medical care systems, such as hospitals.
To find a birth center near you or to learn more about birth centers, visit the American Association of Birth Centers.

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