What is a Birthing Center?

birth center
A birthing center is a health care center that provides a home-like environment for women to give birth. Birthing centers are often stand alone facilities, but recently, hospitals have added birthing centers to their facilities as an alternative to the traditional labor ward.

Stand alone birthing centers provide you the information and support you need to have a natural childbirth, but also provide medical backup if needed. If you need medical assistance during labor, they can transfer you to a hospital.

Why would you use a birthing center over the typical hospital labor ward?

Labor wards are more focused on the medical aspects of birth, like monitoring the baby, pain medication, and medical services. Stand alone birthing centers focus on the natural birthing experience, providing a comfortable environment for you to give birth and share the experience with your loved ones.

Are you eligible to give birth at a stand alone birth center?

There are some requirements you must meet in order to give birth at a birthing center:
  • An uncomplicated low-risk pregnancy, free of certain medical conditions like gestational diabetes or high blood pressure
  • No twins
  • No vaginal births after cesarean section
  • Breech babies are not allowed to be delivered
Pre-natal care may be provided at the birth center in high risk pregnancies, however deliver will not be allowed there. Talk to your doctor and make sure you meet all criteria for a birthing center.

How do I know which type of birthing center is right for me-hospital or stand-alone?

Speak with your doctor to learn if you if any restrictions. You should also ask him what facilities he has privileges to deliver your baby. Then, create a birth plan. Once you are done writing a birth plan, you should know which type of birth you'd prefer-a natural birth with an emphasis on a home-like environment, or a birth with an emphasis on pain management and monitoring.

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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
Tips for touring a stand alone birthing center

Birth centers are also known as: birthing centers, labor and delivery center, labor ward, maternity ward, & labor and delivery wing