My last post discussed my cat- and his love for sinks, but how he approached them at first very cautiously. From this derived my understanding on how some parents approach birth centers and out-of-hospital births in general. Today we are going to take a look at some reasons why more and more parents are choosing birth centers now. One of the main reasons is- comfort! No joke, they are so comfortable to be in!
When you compare the atmosphere of a birth center and a hospital, you find definite differences. When I delivered my first child in a hospital, I had a room that was only big enough for the bed, the monitor, and the IV pole, with 2 small chairs by the door. The baby warmer was kept in the bathroom, and the chairs were taken out while I was pushing to make way for the warmer. When I was walking around the halls, I had several medical staff members freak out that I was too far from the Labor and Delivery area and told me to go back to my room. That was not how I had envisioned my birth to be like. This is one reason more and more families are choosing out-of-hospital births.
From the freedom to move, to eat, and to birth where you want, to the ability to be in full control over your medical care, birth centers provide expectant parents a level of comfort and care not found in traditional hospitals. Those who choose birth centers are usually looking for more involvement in their own health care. They want to birth the way they live life- to wear the clothes they want to wear, to do what they want to do, and have the freedom to express themselves in an atmosphere that will not only allow it, but encourage it as well. Let's take a look at some of the main comforts you may enjoy in your local birth center.
I have an amazing birth center located near me, NOVA Natural Birth Center. If you are located in Northern Virginia, DC metro area, I urge you to come check this amazing place out. As you enter the front door, you will find yourself in a spacious, peaceful room filled with comfortable furniture and calming videos playing on the large screen t.v. Throughout the entire birth center you will also find the sweetest pictures of squishy little babies which will make anyone want another little one. Already have little ones? Great! There is a wonderful play room for your little ones to find all kids of toys while they wait with you for your appointment. That's right- other children and family members are allowed and encouraged to be a part of your appointments, as the birth of a baby is the birth of a new family member. It should be a family event!
You are not confined to your bed, or even your room during your stay. If you would like you may walk around the center, lounge on the large couches in the reception area, visit the kitchen, or if the weather is nice- go for a nice stroll along the tree lined path in the back. The midwifery model of care stresses that the more comfortable you are and able to move around and nourish yourself, the easier it will be for your baby to be born. Oh- did you notice I said visit the kitchen? Yes! You should feel free to bring whatever you would like to eat during your birth. No restrictions on eating food as long as you feel like eating. Your body is doing a lot of work, and you need to fuel it, especially after the birth as well. During your labor your partner/family/friends may store food in the refrigerator, heat it up in the microwave, and eat whatever they and you would like.
Every effort has been made to make the birth center comfortable for you and the rest of your support team. Don't feel like going anywhere for your birth? Great! You may choose to have your prenatal care done at the birth center, and have one of the midwives come to your house for a home birth. You can't get much more comfortable than in your own home. Your labor and birth will not only be in the most comfortable places of your choosing, but with the utmost safety as well. In my next blog, I will address the safety of choosing a birth center or home birth with the midwifery model of care.
We just got this cute little all black, stripped kitten. Yes- he can be all black and have stripes! What a sweet kitty! He is a super good snuggler, totally playful, and exceptionally curious. His favorite activities include licking the touch screen on my laptop, walking on computer keys, and batting at things on the computer screen. Makes working awesome for my husband and myself. But, one thing that he really has an obsession with is, the sink.
Ever since he got little little yellow/orange eyes on the dripping water in the sink he has been truly fascinated! He comes running in whenever anyone is in the bathroom, just to go sit and stare at the water. He will sit and stare forever it seems! Then, he will stick one paw in. Then, go in a little further. Then, before you know it he is standing all the way in the sink, drinking the water at the drain while the water is flowing on his head. It's the funniest thing! It remind me of what many couples do when they consider a birth center birth.
"What? How does that even make sense?" You ask. Well, let me explain. Like my kitty and the sink, many moms and dads-to-be find themselves curious about birth centers and home births when they find out they are expecting. Some come to it because they have family or friends who chose an out-of-hospital birth, and others are curious since they do not feel the hospital is the best place for them. So they go "sniffing around" for other options. Many parents find themselves reading about other options first, just curious about what these options are, but not yet ready to take the plunge- just like my kitty peeking up on top of the counter. Then they may decide to go to open houses at birth centers, meet the midwives, and see if they see themselves there, just like my kitty leaping up on top of the counter and circling the bowl. After that, some may choose to give it a try, and see what appointments are like with a midwife, and ask even more questions- like my kitty sticking his little paw in the stream of water, ever ready to pull it back if it isn't favorable. And then, once couples find the location meets their needs, they are all in- readying for their birth, taking all the classes at the center, and enjoying all the benefits that come from a birth center experience- just like my kitty who sits in the sink while the water runs all over him as he happily laps up water.
Yes, many people do go to birth centers cautiously, but more and more are deciding that the birth center is the right fit for them. While still in the minority, the number of people choosing to have an out-of-hospital birth is increasing due to many personal factors. For some, they feel birth is natural, and therefore they do not need the high intervention rates that hospitals provide. For others, they may have other people in the family or friends who chose and out of hospital birth which ended very positively and they would like to also have that experience. Still others may have had a very negative experience in a hospital, and do not want to spend of the best days of their lives in one if they can help it.
Whatever the reason, birth centers provide many parents the safe out-of-hospital birth they are looking for. In the next few posts, I am going to be looking at one of the local birth centers near me in the Northern Virginia/DC metro area. You may discover that the setting and feel is just what you are looking for and start your cautious journey to discovering your birth location.
Or..... You could be just like my dog and a sprinkler and happily jump right in!