I’m unusual in that it was never a question for me. From the moment I watched my brother born (at seven years old), I knew that I would birth unmedicated in a birth center.
For me the birth center held all the benefits of the loving atmosphere of birthing at home, while still being next to a hospital. It had the comfort, but none of the the clean up! In my prenatal care, and even in my standard wellness care before my pregnancy, I felt safe and looked after at the birth center.This method isn’t for everyone. If you go with a stand alone B.C. (not in a hospital) staffed with midwives, then you are making the definitive commitment to birthing without an epidural, as most birth center’s don’t do them. Period*. In general they also have stricter requirements for who they take on as patients, which is what helps them keep their intervention rates so low. Some places won’t take women pregnant with multiples, some require hospital transfers for those that go past 41 or 42 weeks or for those with breech babies, all require hospital transfers before 36 weeks. Many stand alone centers won’t take on patients who are considered high risk.
|My mom and I, soon after my brother’s birth.|
But for the average woman with a “normal” pregnancy, a birthing center provides a lovely compromise between a more clinical hospital birth and a home birth. You have many of the comforts of home, plus the midwives who provide such loving care, but with access to more “just in case” medical equipment. There is no rush to birth faster. The midwives are quiet and unobtrusive. The birth center is quiet, with no hospital sounds (or smells!).
Once your babe is born, they do everything they can to keep from separating you. Other then a few moments away for weighing and measuring, Gwen was in my arms the whole time. They also didn’t require a lengthy stay, and my new little family was back home, in the peace and comfort of our own house just 12 hours after birth.
My birth experience was such a great one. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and there were moments when I doubted myself, but I was so lucky to have Travis and the midwives there to support me so that I was able to have the kind of birth that I wanted. Looking back, I have nothing but positive feelings towards the midwives and the birth center. I would absolutely birth there again!
Meegs is a lover of the outdoors, a budding yogi, and a tattoo enthusiast trying to live her most authentic life. A breastfeeding and babywearing enthusiast, she is also a gentle Mama to the most amazing girl.
You can find her online at her personal blog, A New Day (also on facebook), as a contributor to Connected Mom, and as a contributor on the Natural Parents Network and moderator for their Facebook page.
* Please double check with your specific Birthing Center for their exact rules, regulations, and restrictions.