|Connecticut Childbirth and Women's Center|
If you've read my about my experiences or philosophy of birthing, then you know I'm a huge advocate of women being able to choose the type of birth they want, in a setting that will support their decisions and intuition. For some that may mean having a traditional hospital birth with all it conveniences and technological tools. For low-risk moms who want a natural progression, void of pain killers or inducers, a home birth might be a better fit.
But for those who want the "feel" of a home birth within a health care facility, a birthing center is an AMAZING alternative.
Birthing centers, whether located in a hospital or as a private free-standing facility, offer low-cost, family-centered care during pregnancy, birth, and post-partum. Currently there are over 200 licensed birthing center in the United States.
The birth center approaches pregnancy and birth as a normal family event until proven otherwise. The program encourages family involvement and provides a safe environment for families to experience the social, emotional, and spiritual renewal inherent in bringing forth new life -- while attending to the possibility that a problem may arise that will require medical intervention or care in the acute care setting of the hospital. This is in opposition to the view that pregnancy is an illness and birth a medical/surgical event that needs to be cured. ~ American Association of Birth Centers
My middle son, Bryson, was born 6 years ago at a the Neugarten Birthing Center, in Rhinebeck, NY, which is housed within Northern Dutchess Hospital. It was a wonderful experience---completely supportive of the way I wanted to labor and deliver my child.
Since starting this blog and watching The Business of Being Born, a close friend and I have been discussing all the wonderful options available to women. I was beyond thrilled when she told me a few weeks ago that she was pregnant with her first baby! We had been talking about my pregnancy for so long, I was glad the spot light was now on her. Since she knew I had been through this before, she invited me on a tour of the only free-standing birthing center on the east coast, Connecticut Childbirth and Women's Center.
My friend is a smart and informed first time mom. She has read and watched nearly every book and movie, preparing her for this life-changing adventure. I was so honored that she would let me share in her journey.
The Connecticut Childbirth and Women's Center is housed directly across the street from the Danbury Hospital, which provides back-up assistance for any complications. But for most women, giving birth is not complicated. It is a very simple and natural process that our bodies were created to do.
|Birthing tub at Neugarten Birthing Center|
|Brookhaven Birthing Center Harrisburg, VA|
In most hospitals, upon arrival, you are hooked up to an IV, fetal heart monitor, and placed flat on your back in bed. If the hospital feels you are not progressing fast enough (or maybe your OB has a 2pm tee time) they will induce labor with a round of pitocin. This one drug can start women down a slippery slope.
If your baby is breech most OB's will schedule a C-section weeks in advance of your due date. Though many women think that this is the easiest way to give birth, it is actually a more painful recovery and should only be used a LAST RESORT.
While chatting with one of the midwives she explained that at the birthing center they will exhaust EVERY natural and homeopathic option to deliver a baby, but their goal is have the safest outcome possible. Women are allowed to labor wherever they want--tub, bed, couch, on their knees, or in bed. They are able to move freely, eat when they like, and are only given drugs when necessary. Expectant mothers are treated with respectful care and attention. The midwives realize that for MOST women, giving birth is a normal process that should NOT be approached like an illness
My friend's face was lit up like a Christmas tree as we walked the halls. I could tell she loved everything and felt comfortable with the level of support the center provides. Since the facility is not set up for long term care, all pregnant mothers are instructed to labor at home for as long as possible before heading in. Once the baby is delivered you have 12 hours before they send you and your new baby home.
This might sound a little scary, especially to first time moms, but the day after you leave one of the midwives will visit you IN YOUR HOME to check on you and the baby. How great is that!
This place almost made me want to have another kid. I said almost.
Happily NOT Pregnant in Boyland,