Thoughts from the Birth Center Staff

How is a birth center experience different than a hospital birth?


You look down and see the plus sign on the test... fear, excitement, surprise…


We experience so many emotions when we find out we are pregnant. The next thing most women imagine is a big belly and baby kicking. Eventually the thoughts turn to the birth.


Birth can mean a lot of different things to a person. Some women only know about the screaming craziness we often see portrayed on television shows- husbands acting like Nascar drivers to get to the hospital and the baby flying out to hit the doctor in the chest! But other women imagine a peaceful birth- surrounded by family, calming music, and a doctor or midwife that they know very well. It all depends on your past experiences. The things we hear from friends and family often shape our perspectives. There are women that will tell you horror stories about their birth, looking at you with pity. Then there are others who loved being pregnant, eager to tell you about detail...multiple times.


Hospital Birth Experiences


In Louisiana most women birth in the hospital. Hospital birth can be beautiful and peaceful, but that is not the norm for most hospital births.


There are doctor’s orders and hospital policies that must be followed. Many times you cannot eat in labor at a hospital, or get up and walk around. Many hospitals treat pregnancy and childbirth as an emergency waiting to happen.


When you advocate for yourself you can buck the standard hospital system and have the birth you desire. But your doctor has to be supportive.


Being educated about your pregnancy and childbirth plans is the best thing you can do for yourself. When you educate yourself you may find preexisting medical conditions or health concerns that have developed during the pregnancy dictate that the hospital will be the safest environment for you and your baby, with a readily available operating room and NICU staff. That is good to know! Arm yourself with knowledge so you can have the birth that you want within those parameters. Hospitals are there for a reason and we are very thankful for them when medical conditions with the mother or baby dictate a hospital birth.


Birth Center Experiences


If, however, you are low risk and healthy throughout your pregnancy you may want to look at another option for your birth: a birth center.


Birth in a birth center is personal and family centered. We want you to have the birth that you desire. As certified nurse midwives (CNMs), we have the ability to care for you and your baby throughout the pregnancy and childbirth. We do the same lab work, ultrasounds, and prenatal visits as most OB/GYNs do- but we believe that pregnancy is a normal part of life and spend most of our time educating women about their options, their diet, exercise, and upcoming changes to your life as the baby arrives.


We encourage you to stay home until you are in active labor: resting, eating, and drinking to keep up your energy. Once you do enter active labor, your midwife will meet you at the birth center and stay with you for the entire labor and birth. Once at the Birth Center, we’ll work together to help you figure out the best positions to get baby to move into place and keep labor progressing. We don’t force you to push, your body will tell you when to push. We monitor the baby’s heartbeat with a doppler machine to make sure that the baby is healthy and safe!


Birth is achieved in whatever position and place you feel comfortable. For some women this is the tub, for others the shower, and many like hands and knees. We follow your lead because your body knows what to do.


If you need guidance we are there to provide it, but the biggest difference about a birth center experience is you are in charge of your birth. After the birth we tuck you and your baby into bed and let you bond, counting fingers and toes and looking for birthmarks. These are the moments you will treasure and we want to keep them sacred.


Birth can be beautiful. At The Birth Center, we prioritize a birth experience that honors your body, health, safety, and dreams. Let’s celebrate the natural wonders of life together! Come by and take a tour to see if the birth center is right for you.