That first day when we find out we are pregnant, the excitement for some is palpable. Ask any new mom if when she got pregnant, childbirth and labor ever crossed her mind and you will find that none of them ever thinks of labor at this point. Then they go for that ultrasound and ‘pap’ something that was remotely real now becomes a physical possibility and those who freak out begin to go bananas. The thought of the pain during labor and the cost of childbirth, as well as the cost that comes with a new baby, becomes a constant obsession. As the pregnancy progresses and they begin to get those ‘oops’ moments that come with pregnancy, some women have been known to go into full depression, especially those who have gone through a hospital birth and come out with gory details of their stay there.
So what option is left for these moms who want a nice birth experience that is pocket-friendly? A birthing center. For those not in the know, a birth center is a home away from home, set up specifically for giving birth. Birth centers operate in the spirit of inclusivity where the midwives and nurses include the family to discuss the best way to take care of the baby, as well as the mother. Where some doctors in a hospital do not particularly care about your opinion and it’s always their way or the highway, a birth center allows you to choose what you feel is right under their care. This is such a beautiful concept for those who are looking for an alternative way to give birth. So what are the reasons to choose a birthing center instead of a home? Read on and find the ten reasons to choose a birthing center instead of a home.
10. You Would Rather Not Air it Out to Dry
For those of us who are squeamish about airing it all out there for every member of the family to gawk at, or for those who prefer to keep the ‘I bought the baby at the store’ or hospital, story alive in their impressionable kids, then the home birth is not for you. When you decide to have a home birth, the family members are around, eager to meet the new baby. Unfortunately, even though the birth process is a beautiful process for the mother, it is not that glorious to watch. When one is in labor, the things you do and the things that come out of you are the kinds we prefer to keep hidden, especially from people we will see every waking moment.
Labor can come with bad language on your part, loud noises from inside of you, not to mention the possibility of poop. As if that is not bad enough after the baby is born, there is the placenta to give birth to and the amount of blood that comes with the baby is enough to make even non-squeamish members of the family faint. To avoid freaking out the relatives, a birth center is most certainly ideal.
9. You Are a Naturalist but Not that Natural
Some of us hate hospitals. From the smell to the plain sterile white lab coats. Not to mention the intense phobia that comes with hospitals where all one sees is death when they walk into one. The situation is aggravated by the gory stories told of women who went into the hospital during labor only to have nurses hit or slap them or even go as far as to insult them. The thought of a hospital birth is enough to depress anyone.
Most of those women want a situation where they can have a ‘natural’ birth unhindered by medication or, surrounded by family and friends. There is no better place to do this like a home birth unless of course, one doesn’t want to be that ‘natural,’ in which case a birthing center is ideal. The situation here is that one can have a natural, unassisted birth with the option of medical equipment in case of an emergency. The birth centers also come with the option of a quick hospital transfer in case things go haywire. As much as we may want an unassisted birth that does not involve the hospital, the birthing process is unpredictable and can go wrong in minutes necessitating medical intervention. For this reason, having the security of medical equipment close at hand gives the woman peace of mind.
8. You Want a Specialist
Pregnancies are unpredictable and they can go from easy to complicated in a heartbeat. Women have been known to have a blood pressure spike and some babies are in breech. A breech baby is one who is facing upright instead of head down. For a baby to be born without complications, he needs to face down. Even though the other members of the family say they can watching a person give birth, remember some people are squeamish and also the family members may not be able to bear seeing a loved one in pain. This is bound to interfere with their judgment and it may put their loved ones life at risk.
To counter this, it is important to get a doula, midwife or a nurse who is completely unrelated to them. Someone who is able to take control of the situation with little or no emotion, which is what a mother needs while in labor. While getting a home nurse, doula or midwife to come to your home is a perfectly viable option, some nurses are afraid to be in such an environment, preferring at least some comfort of knowing they can rush a person to the hospital or get assistance if need be. The number of women who die during a home birth seems to go up and most specialists have become squeamish about it.
7. It’s All About the Money
Resources are scarce and most middle-income families rely on their insurance to pay for most of their medical needs. With mortgages and school fees, money never seems to be enough. To get a doula, midwife or a nurse, you need to pay for their services out of pocket, which isn’t cheap. Unfortunately, the services of a doula or midwife in a home birth are not covered by insurance, but the same services are covered if one has a baby at a birthing center. As much as this is still a medical service, it is not easy to find an insurance company that will pay for a doula or nurse.
Insurance recognizes that a birth center is a free-standing home away from home sort of hospital without all the sterility of one. For this, they approve insurance coverage for the birth. It also prepared for any eventualities that would come with the birth. Covering the eventualities of a home birth is something the insurance companies do not want to take responsibility for. When things go well in a home birth they go really well, but when they go wrong they go very wrong. This is a risk that seems to be too high for the insurance companies. Unless and until the insurance companies are sold on the idea of a home birth and the benefits that come with it, they will still not find it viable to cover it.
6. Less Planning
Homes come with plenty of dirt and unsafe chemicals, not to mention pets and family members. In order to have a home birth, the home has to be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized to prevent the child and mother getting infected. There is nothing as hard as keeping a room sterile, especially if there are other young children involved. The younger children will not understand why they cannot go into a room or why the rules have suddenly changed. Here, a birth center is ideal. The worst part is that in a home birth, one needs to buy a lot of supplies to help in the birth as opposed to a birth center.
This adds to the overall cost of the birth, which is not made easy by the fact that there is far less medical equipment to assist in case of an emergency. Even though a birth center is not a hospital, it is completely sterile without losing its homey atmosphere. For a birth at home, all one requires is to show up and the rest is catered for. While you need a sterile bed or floor to have a baby, this may not be possible at home.
5. Round the Clock Care
Giving birth is an emotional experience that tends to leave one emotionally drained not to mention tired and hungry. When one receives that tiny human being in their arms the experience is scary and one is left unsure of what to do and how to start doing it. Unfortunately, in a homebirth, the caregivers tend to leave you on your own once the birth is over. Believe me, with newborn and familial obligations, it is not easy.
One tends to feel guilty about just lying there, even if they are supposed to recuperate and they may be tempted to make the mistake of working too early, which leads to a backache because the body has not healed and what had shifted is still shifted. In a birth center, one gets round the clock supervision and attendants. The attendants there will hold the baby as one rests and even rock him in case he is fussy. It is also here that one is taught the best breastfeeding practices, as well as the best way to bathe the baby and rock him. In short, a birth center comes with the added advantage of providing some aftercare and a bit of newborn care training.
4. Proximity to Hospitals
According to Pathways to Family Wellness, this may not seem like an important point, but it is very important that a woman labors at most, 30 minutes from a hospital. Births are unique and on most occasions completely unpredictable. A seemingly risk-free pregnancy may suddenly and without notice become a risky affair. There are so many issues that can interfere with a home birth. One of these is shoulder dystocia. This is obstructed labor where during delivery when the head comes through, but the shoulder is unable to pass under the pubic symphysis. In this case, it requires to be manipulated and there is also the risk of post-delivery hemorrhage. This is the greatest cause of maternal mortality. This problem cannot be solved by a C- section since they tend to occur past the point where it is viable, however, medical interventions can help stem the problem. It should also be noted that a C-section requires at least 30 to 70 minutes of preparation to assemble all the medical equipment that is required, as well as prep the birth attendants and the mother who is to undergo the procedure. One’s home may be far away, but birthing centers are normally stand alone, but most often they are near a hospital or are part of a hospital.
3. Your Birth Team is Your Choice
Having a baby at home means that you will have to do with what you have in terms of a birthing team. Your selection is limited, especially if you come from a family that is not so tight and if you are from a community that frowns on the desire to have a home birth. Then you are not in luck because there will be no volunteers. This is where you find yourself having a quiet birth at home with the husband taking the birth video. The most amazing aspect of a birth center is that it comes with the option to choose the birth team one requires and is comfortable with.
One has the option to choose who would catch the baby, who would be present during the birth and who would be rubbing mom’s back. All this surrounded by midwives who are there to oversee the whole process. For most women, having people they are comfortable with makes the experience smoother and quite memorable. Not having to worry whether the person catching the baby will drop him and being totally confident in the ability of the birth team is a plus for any birth and may even speed it up.
2. Comforts of Home without Actually Being at Home
Who doesn’t love being at home, the familiar beds, familiar environment, the familiar sounds all contribute to making a home that irresistible place where you leave all the troubles at the door and come into a safe area. It is only at home that a person is able to relax and be themselves. As serene as the home environment is, it is not the best place to give birth. One can never really relax at home even after the birth. You are tempted to see what your kids are up to and if they have been fed with a healthy meal.
Most women never trust anyone else to feed their kids and for these women, having a baby at home can be quiet labor intensive. In a birth center, there is the option of all the home comforts without actually being there. For most people, the fact that a birth center comes with the convenience of a hospital birth without the hospital, makes it the elusive quality that makes a birth center more appealing. With the complications that come with childbirth, knowing at the back of one’s mind that they can be rescued and taken to a hospital makes the process less stressful.
1. Access to Labor Pain Easing Accessories
Most women are truly opposed to medication. This is usually the reason why they opt for a home birth. In a home birth, the home does not change and the amenities therein are still the amenities you are used to. There are limited options for a reduction in pain during birth. According to The Humbled Homemaker, in a birth center, there are unlimited opportunities for pain reduction. If you want a water birth, some birth centers come with huge tubs that are already waiting for someone to occupy them. If you do not want to labor on your back, you are given the option of using a labor ball, which helps you to effortlessly change birthing positions.
While one could opt to have their child in the tub in the house or the family swimming pool, these places are not sterile. Remember the baby is coming into a new environment that comes with bacteria and viruses all over. It is advisable to go to a birth center where they have taken the trouble to sterilize the birth area. In a birth center, with or without the epidural, the birth aids will do the trick.