Birthing Centers — The Bump
Natural Birth

Birthing Centers

MrsFL2015MrsFL2015
500 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
member
edited July 2016 in Natural Birth
I'm currently TTC and I'm trying to educate myself on all things pregnancy related.   I love the idea of using a birthing center when the time comes and I'm just trying to get as much information as I can.   Can you please share your experiences using a birthing center during your pregnancy, delivery and post care. Is a birthing center something you'd recommend to your family/friends?   Also, did insurance cover your the cost?  That's my biggest concern.  How much did it cost out-of-pocket?   
When did you initially contact the birthing center?  How far along were you?  Before you were pregnant, did you use a regular OB/GYN?

Thanks, I know this is random but I'm trying to get as much info possible. 


Re: Birthing Centers

  • Hello! I cant answer all of your questions, but I know the answers to a few. I had my first baby at the hospital 3 years ago, all natural water birth. It was great. I am 26 weeks pregnant with my second child and am switching to a birth center because I want another natural birth and I think Ill be more comfortable there. My insurance does cover the birth center (it's much cheaper than the hospital). Ill be switching my care at 28 weeks just because of appointments I already had scheduled, but you could just as easily start at the birth center from the very beginning, no reason to wait. If they find something that is concerning, they will refer you to an MD. The postpartum care is also a big draw of the birth center. They do several home visits and try to make the first month as easy as possible on mom and baby.
    Best wishes to you.
    DS 5/10/13
    New Bundle of Joy- EDD 10/27/16
    MrsFL2015Sh8knKnotSterd
  • Before I was pregnant I used a regular OB-GYN. He was fine, but I didn't feel the care was personalized enough. I started looking at birth centers around the halfway point in my pregnancy, and I believe I was slightly past that point when I eventually settled on them and stopped seeing my OB.  I wish I had switched sooner! I used a birth center in Los Angles that had CERTIFIED midwives. My midwives were certified meaning they were not NURSES, but just midwives. They have the same midwife training as NURSE midwives, but just were not nurses before. In California, this means they have a bit more freedom than NURSE midwives who have to work under the care of an OB. If you want more information on that, a quick google search on the difference will help.

    The Birth Center care was SO much better. I got to spend almost an hour with my midwives at each appointment and they actually seemed to care about me and always took plenty of time to ask how I was doing and if I had any questions. The appointments were similar than my OB (meaning they did the same "tests". Other than them not doing ultrasounds, they did everything else that I needed. They checked the heart rate. Did the occasional bloodwork if I needed it. They checked urine when needed. I had done my ultrasounds with my OB before switching over.

    The delivery was amazing. It was a picture perfect birth. I labored at home for about 7 hours before arriving there, and I labored for 3 hours in their beautiful birth tub and then pushed for 45 minutes and out came my daughter! We hung around for about 2-3 hours so I could get cleaned up and take shower and such and then we were off to go home. Since it was med-free there wasn't a need to stay around. (If you had a much longer labor you might have hung for 6 hours). We were happy to get home.

    Postpartum care was great. Again, my midwives just seemed to care about me. They came to my house (WOOHOO) at 24 hours to check on my daughter, and then again at 6 weeks I went to them for my last appointment. I was really sad to see them go.

    I would ABSOLUTELY recommend a birth center - or my birth center specifically if you are in Los Angeles - to friends and family, hence this very long essay.

    Insurance - it probably depends on your plan. I have a PPO. Insurance DID cover my birth, but it was considered "out-of-network" so it will probably be whatever your out-of-network coverage is. If you have an HMO I do not think they will pay for a birth center, but it my change depending on what state you are in. For me that was 50%. The total for everything - my prenatal appointments, birth itself, and postpartum care came out to about 6K out the door. It was very affordable. Without insurance, my birth center lowers the price, so it probably wouldn't have been much more than that anyway. I believe paying cash my birth center charges around 7K for everything.  The best part was that you know the cost ahead of time. My birth center even has you take a class on insurance where they give you an estimate, so the price is NOT a surprise (unlike a hospital). The ONLY caveat with the prices is that it for some reason you do end up at a hospital, you will still have to pay your midwives, PLUS whatever the hospital charges (which will be WAY more).

    hopeful207
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  • I'm 13 weeks and using a birth center, Baby + Co specifically. Here's my two cents based on my extensive research and experience:
    -Take a tour, as soon as you want. We took our tour of the birth center months before we conceived, and though we may have felt a little odd, the staff was amazing and excited we were so excited.
    -Read reviews. There are other birth centers in my area, and the reviews are horrifying. Also, I've heard from people that the "other" birth center was bad.
    -Find out what's important to you in a birth center, and make sure the birth center near you has those things vs. the hospital doesn't. In my area, there are a couple hospitals that are awesome about natural births and have large rooms with tubs.
    -Look into insurance and pricing. For us, the birth center is actually cheaper than a hospital. Most birth centers you aren't there as long. Plus, theoretically, you use less resources (i.e. no medications?) We have great insurance, and would have been fine going to a hospital if we'd chosen that, so it just worked out that the birth center was very economical. It might be cheaper, it might be similar, it might be more, but it depends on the place and your research.
    -Keep being open. Listen, and even if you "make up your mind", know that it might change throughout your pregnancy. For example, if your pregnancy becomes high risk a birth center won't take you. Have a back up plan, just in case.

    Good luck!
    hopeful207craftywitch
  • Hey! I used a birthing center with my son, who was born March 6 2016. Pretty soon after I found out I was pregnant I started looking into my options. I knew I didn't want to go to a hospital, and I heard of this midwife because 2 of my husband's sisters had delivered with her. I needed to get insurance because I definitely didn't have $4000 to pay (even though that's cheaper than a hospital and that's what it would've costed in total at the birthing center) so I applied for medicaid. I had to go in to the birthing center and have them write a letter for my insurance to prove I was pregnant, so I took a 2nd test there in their office and showed it to them and they wrote the letter. I started seeing them at the birth center for all my prenatal visits. I got approved for medicaid and the birthing center told me they accept humana so I should get Humana through medicaid. I was confused at first about who needs to be listed as my PCP, apparently the midwife doesn't count so they had to give me a random PCP. I never saw them throughout my pregnancy though, and it wasn't an issue with insurance. That's just a side note. As far as the birthing center itself goes... It wasn't the most gorgeous place, but it was homey. The staff were nice and knew what they were doing. It made the whole process (i.e. pregnancy and labor) a lot less scary. I don't know about you but going to a hospital would scare the sh*t out of me. I don't think labor and birth and pregnancy need to feel like big scary things. Not to mention one of my close friends just had a baby a couple weeks ago in the hospital and honestly she has her own horror stories about it, and that has since turned me away from hospitals even further. The birth center is essentially giving birth with a midwife, but I'd say it's less intimidating than giving birth at home (although the midwife there will do it at home with you if that's what you decided you want). 

    I found out I had GBS with my son, and the process for them dealing with that was simple and they also helped calm my nerves about it. I picked up the prescription and handed them the antibiotics and they stored it there for me for when I would go into labor. 

    My labor is another story, it was a bit odd because the contractions were 3 mins apart from the beginning, so whoever was answering the phone (it was a Sunday morning-the birthing center wasn't actually open so I don't know who answered the phone that day) told me it was probably false labor. She wasn't exactly the best lady to deal with on the phone, but she wasn't bad either. When I actually delivered at the center with the midwife, she was very quick on her feet and knowledgable. She's an older woman and my husband still to this day doesn't know how she moved so quickly when we had an emergency with my son. When he came out, the cord was around his neck like 2 times, maybe 3. He wasn't breathing. She worked so quickly, I didn't even understand what was going on til later, and she was so experienced I never had the opportunity to freak out. She quickly stuck a tube down his throat to get out all the fluid in his chest and she was like flicking his feet trying to get him to cry. I want to say a good 30 seconds might passed before he took his first breath, but he did, Thank G-d. 

    They handled everything smoothly there and I loved that I wasn't actually in my HOME but I was in a homey environment. I also tore and she handled the stitches perfectly. They typically let you leave within a few hours but because I gave birth at 10 pm and didn't want to leave at like 3 am, we all slept there that night and I went home early the next morning. After that for the first 6 weeks my son had all his checkups with them and theyd follow up with me too and ask me how much I was bleeding etc. 

    It was a pleasant experience all in all. I don't think hospitals give you the same attention or empowerment. It's more like you have a medical emergency and less like you are going through a beautiful natural thing. But being at the birthing center itself made it less daunting to have a natural birth. 

    My sister in law almost died after birthing twins (naturally) in the hospital because they FORGOT to massage her uterus after the delivery. My best friend went in a little too early for her labor so they broke her water, then when she didn't progress quick enough for them they forced her to take pitocin and then an epidural (she had really wanted a natural labor). Then when the baby was coming out they cut her open VERY deep, for a SIX POUND BABY and she's been on like percocet (sp?) and high doses of motrin just to deal with the pain. And THAT wasn't even helping. Also, while I was there, the nurses were acting kind of stupid and the whole process was angering me. I never felt that way at the birthing center. 

    Another thing, and I know this is long and probably full of info that you don't even care about (lol), the birthing center had free classes (for anyone to attend!) to help you understand the process of labor etc and to educate you and your significant other. 

    Hope all that babbling helped some! haha! Good luck. :-*

    hopeful207
  • I would absolutely recommend a birth center.  I did so with my first and only son and will be using them this time around as well.  

    The care was like nothing I have ever experienced before.  Appointments were not rushed and they truly wanted you to be informed and aware of everything.  They gave me a book at my first appointment with tons of information and charts that when I come in I would weigh myself, take blood pressure, etc and I would mark all of my information in my book so I could keep track for myself.  I also HATE going to a doctor but I had zero anxiety about my appointments, I actually looked forward to them.

    The education was unbelievable.  Towards the middle of the pregnancy they combined my appointments with a prenatal plus class with other moms expecting around the same time.  Each class was about 2 hours and went over something different and was open for discussion.  It was great to get experiences from other moms and dads.  Husbands were welcomed and it was very informative for my husband.  He wasn't kept in the dark and was very educated.  Something to this day he still raves about.

    Delivery was awesome.  By this point I had so much knowledge and was so comfortable with being at the BC that I was not scared about labor.  I really think that me being relaxed coupled with being able to move around freely during the birth helped me to deliver relatively quickly.  I got to the BC around 11 am at 2 cm.  They said I could go have lunch or walk around the mall and come back if I wanted but I opted to stay only because we had an hour long car ride there and I really did not want to get back into the car.  I had my son by 6 pm.  I was able to labor however I wanted.  I ended up spending a lot of time just standing in the shower or sitting on the toilet.  I could not imagine being confined to a bed especially if you were having a natural birth.  It was too painful to even sit down. 

    Postpartum care was great.  The nurse saw some things at one of my follow up appointments that concerned her not medically but she had me come back to just make sure that I was ok.  I greatly appreciated that she saw me as not just a patient or now someone's mom but as a person.

    I am SO excited to have my next baby at the bc.  My first appointment still isn't for about 5 weeks but I am stoked.
    hopeful207
  • I'm 13 weeks and using a birth center, Baby + Co specifically. Here's my two cents based on my extensive research and experience:
    -Take a tour, as soon as you want. We took our tour of the birth center months before we conceived, and though we may have felt a little odd, the staff was amazing and excited we were so excited.
    -Read reviews. There are other birth centers in my area, and the reviews are horrifying. Also, I've heard from people that the "other" birth center was bad.
    -Find out what's important to you in a birth center, and make sure the birth center near you has those things vs. the hospital doesn't. In my area, there are a couple hospitals that are awesome about natural births and have large rooms with tubs.
    -Look into insurance and pricing. For us, the birth center is actually cheaper than a hospital. Most birth centers you aren't there as long. Plus, theoretically, you use less resources (i.e. no medications?) We have great insurance, and would have been fine going to a hospital if we'd chosen that, so it just worked out that the birth center was very economical. It might be cheaper, it might be similar, it might be more, but it depends on the place and your research.
    -Keep being open. Listen, and even if you "make up your mind", know that it might change throughout your pregnancy. For example, if your pregnancy becomes high risk a birth center won't take you. Have a back up plan, just in case.

    Good luck!
    How did you like Baby + Co? We have one in Colorado, but I used one of their competitors for my first birth. I had a great experience but staff has completely turned over so I'm searching all over again and considering Baby + Co.
  • I'm 13 weeks and using a birth center, Baby + Co specifically. Here's my two cents based on my extensive research and experience:
    -Take a tour, as soon as you want. We took our tour of the birth center months before we conceived, and though we may have felt a little odd, the staff was amazing and excited we were so excited.
    -Read reviews. There are other birth centers in my area, and the reviews are horrifying. Also, I've heard from people that the "other" birth center was bad.
    -Find out what's important to you in a birth center, and make sure the birth center near you has those things vs. the hospital doesn't. In my area, there are a couple hospitals that are awesome about natural births and have large rooms with tubs.
    -Look into insurance and pricing. For us, the birth center is actually cheaper than a hospital. Most birth centers you aren't there as long. Plus, theoretically, you use less resources (i.e. no medications?) We have great insurance, and would have been fine going to a hospital if we'd chosen that, so it just worked out that the birth center was very economical. It might be cheaper, it might be similar, it might be more, but it depends on the place and your research.
    -Keep being open. Listen, and even if you "make up your mind", know that it might change throughout your pregnancy. For example, if your pregnancy becomes high risk a birth center won't take you. Have a back up plan, just in case.

    Good luck!
    How did you like Baby + Co? We have one in Colorado, but I used one of their competitors for my first birth. I had a great experience but staff has completely turned over so I'm searching all over again and considering Baby + Co.
    You wont get a response from her - her last active date was in 2017 and the original post was made in 2016!
    This board is very dead, may have more luck on birth month board. 
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