Why I Chose a Birth Center and Not a Hospital

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I’m the kind of person that researches major or long-term decisions very thoroughly before I make a decision. I read, talk with others, and “put my feelers out” to gain information in any way I can. I registered as a mom on BabyCenter.com for the December 2013 Birth Club (a group of moms due in December- gives you a group of people with similarly-aged kids to ask questions, vent, or gain knowledgeable info) and began reading. The website has tons of articles and I eventually came across a question that someone had asked about parents who had done a hospital birth and a birth center birth and which one they preferred. All the women that responded said “birth center” and they went into detail why.

As I kept reading and making sense of all the information, I realized that the kind of birth I wanted to have was a birth center birth. Here are the main reasons :

Hospitals continually monitor the baby
While this seems like a good thing, what people don’t realize is that it severely limits your mobility, comfort, and ease. Can you imagine looking at a screen with your baby’s heart rate on it, beeping every time ? All the cords ? Having an IV in your arm ?

At a hospital, you cannot eat or drink anything during labor
This seems very counter-intuitive. A mom-to-be, laboring for who knows how long, is not able to eat or drink to replenish energy or fluids lost from sweating and her body working hard to push out a baby ? They say they do this because they don’t want the mother to pass a bowel movement or to pee on the bed. What’s the big deal ? I’d much rather be comfortable and be able to eat or drink as needed.

Hospitals push moms to get a drug called pitocin and epidurals
Pitocin is a drug that is usually administered through an IV and speeds up the process of labor. When the labor gets too intense and the mother cannot handle it, then they try to get you to have an epidural, which numbs you from the waist or hips down and also slows down labor. So then they up the Pitocin more then you need more comforting. With natural laboring (no drugs), there are ways to speed up and slow down labor in order to make it manageable.

Epidurals are painful to insert and must be maintained for a duration
An epidural isn’t a shot and it’s done. They first insert what’s called a “hollow needle” between 2 particular vertebra in the spine. This could be done improperly and cause ill effects. Then they thread the special needle/string into that hollow needle and insert it into the flesh. It has a cord/string that connects to a bag of drugs and it continually draws from this bag for the duration of its use. Watch this video of an epidural being administered (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5NdLQbvhgQ) and see if you’d want that. I know I didn’t want one based on the procedure- it made me nauseous looking at it. Talk about stress !

Costs : Hospital birth = prenatal care, birth, AND postpartum care (including 6-week check-up) at birth center
It’s no secret that hospitals overcharge for their services. They provide institutional care, over-sanitary environments while still somehow having staph infections happen, treat you like an animal, and have no regard for personal preference. The care I received at the birth center I went to (Inspiration Birth Center in Winter Park, FL) was amazing. The midwife that delivered my baby was perfect for my needs and respected my knee-jerk reaction requests during birth.

Birth centers are holistic birth options
If you’re not interested in vaccinating your child like crazy, are interested in organic foods and nutrition, are aware of GMOs and processed foods, believe in natural cures to small and chronic conditions, and think chiropractors are a great asset to an achy back and body, a birth center is probably in line with your morals and view of life.

Birth centers don’t offer drugs during labor, episiotomy, or rupture membranes
At first the thought of delivering a baby without any pain medication seemed very scary and daunting. I had my doubts in the beginning. Over time and with lots of questions and answers and research, I’ve come to learn that the human body is capable of many things, birth included. Our body as women is made to be able to give birth easily when the proper relaxation, breathing, and mental imagery techniques are used.

Instead, birth centers advocate alternative coping mechanisms : hypnobirthing (I did this), deep breathing, meditation, acupuncture, acupressure, etc
I listened to a hypnobirthing CD (really just a CD to help me get into deep relaxation) before bed every night from 3 months on. I listened to this CD during labor and it helped me immensely. Turns out I was in transition (the most painful part) and didn’t even realize it. I kept listening to it during the whole process and that was probably the one thing that helped the most. Being relaxed helps your body do it’s job with minimal amounts of pain.

Midwives at birthing centers are trained medical professionals
They are not some untrained women running a center, but still look into the place before you go to be sure. A lot of people think that midwives are “backwoods” practitioners and aren’t as “trained” or “professional” as medical hospital doctors.

I wanted a homey feel to the birth of my son and I got that by going to a birthing center. I didn’t want to be restricted to a bed, my feet in stirrups, with limited mobility or decision in the position I could be in. I wanted the freedom to do as I pleased during labor (within reason) because I was a first-time parent and didn’t know what would work for me. Going to a birthing center was one of the best decisions I’ve made as a parent. The water birth I did was amazing and beautiful and very comfortable and warm. I am very pleased with my experience there.

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