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What’s it like to give birth in a birth center?

By lindsay

Birth Centers are becoming more and more common in the Twin Cities, as more and more women are choosing to forgo the traditional “hospital birth.” While some don’t feel comfortable with a homebirth, the birthing center route seems to be a happy medium. Health Foundations, located in St. Paul, MN, shares with us what exactly a birth center birth looks like and how this may be the experience some expecting mothers are looking for……
A birth center offers women and their families an alternative to the hospital birth experience.  Birth centers are warm, nurturing, homelike facilities offering comprehensive, family-centered care for healthy women and their families throughout the childbearing experience.  Highly qualified midwives and nurses offer compassionate, holistic care in accredited freestanding birth centers across the United States.
Birth center care
Grounded in the wellness and holistic models of pregnancy and birth, birth centers believe that birth is a normal experience and seek to build relationships, offer education, and empower the families they serve.  At a birth center, you see the same faces at every prenatal appointment and really get to know your health care providers—the same providers who will be with you during labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period.  And, since prenatal appointments take place at the birth center, this environment becomes a familiar and safe place.
Birth center care providers—trained, professional, licensed midwives with expertise in pregnancy and birth—spend more time with the families they serve.  In fact, the average number of care hours at a birth center is 37.5, compared to 6.5 at a conventional hospital for prenatal, labor & delivery and postpartum care.  Birth centers offer all the same prenatal tests and screens as a hospital, educating families on the risks and benefits of each. Birth centers collaborate with doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers as needed in a team approach to maternity care that meets the unique, individual needs of each woman and her family.
The birth center atmosphere
Feeling much like a bed and breakfast, a birth center typically has a small number of beautiful birth rooms where women can labor and deliver their babies.  These rooms feel more like bedrooms than hospital rooms, often including big cozy beds, couches and chairs, beautiful art work, large birthing tubs (much like the tubs you’d find at a fancy resort but designed for birthing), large ensuite bathrooms with showers, and more.  And while birth center rooms are outfitted with all the essential medical supplies needed for normal birth, you don’t see and hear the same kinds of large machines and medical equipment you might find in a hospital room.  The atmosphere of a birth center is calm, peaceful, warm, welcoming, relaxed, and safe.
Labor and delivery at a birth center
Women at a birth center are encouraged to change positions frequently and eat and drink throughout labor. They have the option to labor in showers or birth tubs, and may deliver in various positions such as sitting on a birth stool, on hands and knees, in a birth tub, side-lying on a bed, or standing.  While pain medications are not available, numerous effective comfort measures are offered at birth centers.  Partners, family, friends, and doulas are invited to support a woman, as she so desires. If a condition develops that is outside the range of normal, the mother is transferred to a hospital and the midwife often remains with her for support.
Postpartum care at birth centers
In birth centers, women and their babies receive immediate postpartum care—including exams, all standard newborn procedures, continued monitoring and support with bonding and breastfeeding.  Families are usually able to return to the comforts of home the same or next day and birth center providers may call, make home visits, and/or offer center visits throughout the postpartum period.
Health Foundations Family Health & Birth Center
Health Foundations Family Health & Birth Center is the Twin Cities first freestanding birth center, located on historic Grand Avenue in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Clients receive personal attention and extraordinary care in an intimate, family-centered, home-like setting.
A full-service midwifery practice and integrative clinic offering:

  • Birth center and home birth delivery options
  • Well-woman care
  • Comprehensive midwifery care (including family planning, preconception counseling, maternity care, postpartum care, and breastfeeding support)
  • Full-service lactation center
  • Naturopathic medicine
  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture
  • Pediatrics
  • New mama and breastfeeding groups
  • Yoga
  • Special events
  • Educational classes

Their mission is to provide an unparalleled level of compassionate, holistic, patient-centered, affordable care to women and their families through one of the most transformative and miraculous experiences of their lives.
 Health Foundations is so much more than a place to give birth or receive quality health care—it is a place where people’s dreams are made possible, where families grow and where community is built.
While the core of their work is helping families have a healthy and empowering birth experience, they also strive to cultivate a vibrant birth and parenting community.
Health Foundations is about nourishing relationships and creating a supportive birth and parenting community in the Twin Cities.
To learn more visit www.health-foundations.com and follow their blog at www.healthfoundationsbirthcenter.com.

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