Tips for Touring a Stand Alone Birthing Center

You should tour a hospital birthing center as early in your pregnacy as possible. Some tips to keep in mind when conducting a stand-alone birthing center tour:
  • What type of staff does the birthing center have? Midwives, doulas, doctors?
  • Is the staff licensed?
  • Is the birth center accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers?
  • Is the center licensed by the state?
  • What type of insurance is accepted?
  • What are the charges for all of the services-prenatal, labor, delivery, and postpartum? Also ask if all services are covered by your insurance.
  • What services does the center offer: doula? Birthing tub? Shower? Kitchen? Ask what specific services they offer to make you feel comfortable.
  • What is the emergency plan? What is done if you need to transfer to a hospital? Would your midwife, or care specialist be able to continue care at the hospital? And where is the backup hospital located?
  • What situations call for a transfer to a hospital?
  • How often are patients transferred to the hospital? What are the reasons for the transfer?
  • How many people can be in the labor/delivery room? Are there any age restrictions?
  • Can the birth be recorded on video? Can pictures be taken?
  • Does the center offer any support classes, like Lamaze or baby care?
  • What do they offer for pain management?
  • How long is the typical post-partum stay?
  • How is the newborn examination after birth?
  • How many births does the center handle a year?
  • Is the baby able to stay in the same room as you?
  • Are you transferred to another room after deliver?
  • Is there a time limit for when you can sign up for the birth center? How late in the pregnancy can you decide on the birth center?
  • Is the center clean?
  • Is the staff friendly and professional?
  • Did the staff clearly answer all of the questions?
  • Do the patients and guests you encountered during your tour seem happy?
  • How was the noise level in the halls?
  • Is the parking lot big enough to accommodate guests?

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Learn more about birthing centers:

Birthing center staff
Home-like amenities provided by birthing centers
How to create a birth plan
How to select the best birthing center
Tips for touring a hospital birthing center
What is a birthing center?