Pregnancy and child birth are natural processes that have been growing our species since, well...the very beginning of our time. For most women, the power to birth a baby is a primal one that comes quite naturally. And for low-risk, healthy women who want to forgo the cold doctor's office and the potential risk of unnecessary intervention during a hospital birth, choosing to work with a midwife and have a natural, peaceful birth at a birth center is the right choice. It is a wonderful balance between a hospital birth and home birth.
In many other parts of the world, giving birth at home or in birth centers under the care of a midwife is the norm. In the US, however, that is not the case. The majority of births still happen in hospitals. The US also has one of the highest rates of maternal and neonatal mortality and one of the highest cesarean section rates in the world, which needs some serious consideration....
Even though women who birth at home or in birth centers is still a small percentage, the numbers have been rising in recent years. Many women want to have natural births without interventions. They desire more choices in how they will deliver their babies, and they want to have access to the natural pain relief that they can receive while laboring in warm water. These women opt out of the standard obstetrical care, and chose a midwife who specializes in woman centered pregnancy and childbirth instead. Most often, these women have very positive experiences.
Today, you may find some birth centers attached to hospitals, as well as many free standing birth centers like Pure Births. A birth center offers a laboring mama a more home-like environment to birth her baby, which is crucial in having a successful, natural birth. At a birth center, you will still find some necessary medical supplies including, monitoring equipment, oxygen, medication to minimize postpartum bleeding and IV supplies to run antibiotics if, in rare cases, a woman tested positive for GBS during pregnancy or has prolonged rupture (meaning her water has been broken for more than 24 hours without delivering).
At Pure Births, all prenatal visits are held in the comfort of the birth center, allowing women to get to know the space. After awhile it starts to feel like home. The more comfortable and relaxed a woman is in her environment, the faster and easier labor is. Women have more options at the birth center, including a beautiful birthing suite. The birthing suite allows a laboring woman to move about, eat and drink, as well as the option to use the shower and large birthing tub for pain relief and water birth. The birth center also offers extra space for family, and a comfy queen size bed for those first cuddles and skin to skin contact after baby is born. The bonding after birth is everything.
Tiffany, the midwife at Pure Births monitors baby and mama all the way through labor, and thereafter. She is also licensed to complete the initial newborn exam, breastfeeding support and repair any vaginal tears the mama may need. It is all done right in the comfort of the birth center. If all is well with baby and mama, the family can head home usually within four hours after birth. What a gentle way for a baby to come into the world and a mama to experience pregnancy, labor and birth.
As a Pure Births mama myself, I can say that choosing to birth my baby at the birth center was the best choice I could have made. Not only was the birthing suite absolutely wonderful, working with Tiffany was simply amazing. I trusted her 100%. She has a wealth of knowledge and has a loving presence and warmth to her that is unmatched. I always felt safe and my baby was born peacefully in the water within four hours of arrival at the birth center.
By Christine Rapsys, Writer and Pure Births Mama