If you’re expecting a baby, congratulations! One of the first big decisions you’ll have to make is where to give birth. For some parents-to-be, a hospital is an obvious choice. For others, a birthing center may be a better choice. Birthing centers are becoming more popular because they offer many of the same services as a hospital, but with a more relaxed and natural setting.
To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of important questions to ask when you visit a birth center. By the end of your visit, you should have a good sense of whether or not the facility is right for you and your baby.
61 Questions you should ask when considering a birth center:
- What are your credentials?
- What are your policies on pain management during labor?
- What kind of support do you offer for breastfeeding?
- How often do you perform vaginal births after cesarean sections (VBACs)?
- What’s your cesarean rate?
- Do you have an obstetrician or midwife on staff?
- What’s your philosophy on birth interventions?
- Are water births an option?
- Can my partner stay with me overnight?
- Do you have private rooms available?
- What kind of postpartum care do you offer?
- How long can we stay after delivery?
- Do you offer classes or tours before our baby arrives?
- What are the visiting hours for family and friends after our baby is born?
- Can I hire a photographer and/or videographer?
- Can we bring our own food and drink to the birth center?
- Are there any additional costs we should be aware of?
- What kind of insurance do you accept?
- How often are staff members available?
- What’s the staff-to-patient ratio?
- What are the qualifications of the staff?
- What’s the average length of stay for patients?
- Are there monitors or machines in the rooms?
- Is there a separate area for postpartum care?
- Are pain medications available?
- Can I bring my own birth ball or other comfort items from home?
- Are there any additional costs that aren’t covered by insurance?
- How often are rooms cleaned and tidied?
- Is food available for guests and patients?
- Do you have a contingency plan in case of power outages or inclement weather?
- Have any babies ever been born prematurely at your facility?
- How many babies are usually born per day at your facility?
- What percentage of patients who attempt a VBAC are successful?
- What are the hours of operation?
- How many staff members are on duty at any given time?
- Is there an OBGYN on call 24/7?
- How long do mothers and babies stay?
- Are siblings allowed to visit?
- Is there a lactation consultant at the facility?
- What classes do you offer for new parents?
- Are there pain management options other than epidural?
- Can I eat during labor?
- Can I drink during labor?
- When can visitors come to see the baby?
- Do you offer newborn screenings and vaccinations at the birth center?
- What’s your philosophy on circumcision?
- How do you handle screening and treatment for postpartum depression/anxiety?
- What kind of financial support do you offer families who give birth here?
- What’s your policy on cursing, photography, and videotaping during childbirth?
- What’s the nurse-to-patient ratio like?
- Do you guys have an emergency plan for emergencies?
- Can I bring my own music/photos/etc.?
- Can I stay in the same room with my baby?
- How often do staff members wash their hands?
- What are your visiting policies for sick people?
- Have you ever had a serious outbreak of infection?
- How do you handle conflicts between parents and staff?
- Do you currently have any special promotions or discounts going on?
- What kind of financial assistance do you offer families who deliver here?
- Is there anything else I should know about delivering at your facility?
- How can I reach someone outside of normal business hours if I have questions or concerns?
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of giving birth in a birth center?
One benefit is that labor is likely to be shorter. Birth centers also have a lower rate of C-sections and other procedures than hospitals. This is likely because birth centers focus on natural childbirth. Other benefits of giving birth in a birth center include that you’ll need to take fewer antibiotics and pain medications.
What are the two disadvantages of birth centers?
First, not all birth centers are equipped to handle all types of births, so it’s important to make sure the birth center of your choice can meet your needs. Second, birth centers can be more expensive than hospitals, though this varies by location. Finally, not all health insurance plans cover the cost of a birth at a birth center, so check with your provider before making a decision.
What are the 4 Ps for the birth process?
The four P’s of the birth process are the passageway (the pelvis), the passenger (the baby), the powers (contractions), and the psyche (the mother’s mental and emotional state). All of these factors play a role in the birth process and must be considered when preparing for birth.
The passage is important because it determines how easily the baby can be born. The passenger is important because it’s the baby that’s born. The powers are important because they determine how strong the contractions are. And the psyche is important because it can influence how smooth or difficult the birth process is.
Before you choose a birth center, do your research – you want to be sure you’re comfortable with the staff, policies, and environment before making such an important decision! We hope this list of questions helps you narrow down your choices and find the perfect place to welcome your new baby.
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