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21 Reasons to Have Your Baby at a Birth Center

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

21 Reasons to Have Your Baby at a Birth Center:

When I first found out I was pregnant with my first child, there was no question that I would give birth at the hospital. In all honesty, the thought of having my child outside a hospital environment never crossed my mind or was it even discussed with my husband. Being from a medical family with two MDs and a nurse in the immediate family sealed the deal. After informally polling a dozen or so women about their recent birth experience to determine which hospital was “best”, however I inadvertently discovered that literally every single woman I chatted with about her baby’s hospital birth had a terrible experience. The full reality of the situation was staring me clearly in the face. My chance of experiencing a dream birth at a hospital was basically slim to none. At that point, I didn’t know what I was looking for but I knew I didn’t want to have my baby at the hospital and I didn’t want a homebirth either. Birthing outside the hospital was rare even back in the late 1990’s and “googling” to find out info was not yet in vogue either, so I had to find information out the old fashioned way – by asking around! After a number of weeks, I finally found someone who suggested that I try to find a birth center.

Believe it or not, I had never heard of a freestanding birth center before but after visiting one, I realized that the idea really meshed well with the type of birth I was seeking. I ended up delivering all three of my children at a freestanding birth center. This type of birth center is not affiliated with any particular hospital and generally does not have any doctors on staff. It offers state of the art care with nurse and licensed midwives during delivery but without interference or restrictive policies that require you to deliver on your back or within a certain number of hours else they wheel you in for a C-section. Birth centers offer a much more individually tailored approach to birth with the benefits of hospital birth and the freedom of a homebirth all wrapped into one. Does this approach to birth appeal to you? If so, here are 21 reasons why you might consider having your baby at a birth center too! #1: You want to have a homebirth, but don’t want to freak out your family too much. Birth centers are a good choice if you don’t have a husband, parents, or in-laws on board with the whole out of the hospital birth thing. A birth center is a happy medium that everyone can agree to.

#2: You want to have a homebirth, but would prefer to have at least some medical equipment on hand as labor/delivery is usually quite unpredictable. This reason played a big factor for me in choosing a birth center. I wanted the freedom of a homebirth but felt more comfortable in a location where the equipment was ready to go or a quick transfer to the hospital could occur (freestanding birth centers are frequently located in close proximity to a hospital) in case something unpredictable happened. And, let’s face it. Birth is one of the most unpredictable experiences a woman can ever have!

#3: You want to avoid an epidural and have a natural birth. The truth is, hospitals give lip service to natural birth. They make a lot more money with a labor/delivery that involves an intervention of some sort. A favorite tactic I’ve heard used to encourage epidurals is for the nurse to sweetly say when the woman is at her most painful contractions, “Don’t you want some medication for that, honey? You’ll feel a whole lot better right away!” Asking you if you want medication at the height of labor and when you are emotionally at your most vulnerable is a low blow. Most women would say “YES, GIVE ME DRUGS!”. I know I would have! At a birthcenter, you don’t get those kind of tactics. The nurses work through the contractions with you and there are many pieces of equipment like a birthing ball or birthing tub to assist you and relieve pain. If you desire the amazing and empowering experience of a natural birth, your chances of success at a birth center are a lot more favorable!

#4: You do not want a continuous fetal monitoring device used on you during labor. Who wants an ultrasound device strapped to her belly during labor? Talk about uncomfortable. Not to mention that the safety of such a device is highly questionable. I never had an ultrasound with any of my pregnancies and I sure didn’t want one attached to my body during labor. When birthing at a hospital, you frequently don’t even have a choice about continuous electronic fetal monitoring. If you want to have a midwife check the baby’s vitals only between contractions as it should be, then go to a birth center.