In a birth center, the mother is free to eat, drink, move, shower, use the birth tub or ball as she pleases. The mother doesn’t have to be placed on monitors with wires that sometimes make movement in labor cumbersome.
The baby’s heartbeat is monitored with a doppler using intermittent auscultation. This tool has been shown in studies to be as effective at picking up true distress in the baby, without making movement difficult for the mother.
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In that scenario, there is time to move from one location to the other in a smooth, relaxed manner. If, in the rare situation that something truly emergent were to happen, the hospital would be alerted to the issue and transport arranged. Care can be smoothly transitioned and the emergent care received within minutes.
For our birth center mamas, we had a 13% transfer rate.
All birthing women must meet the criteria set within the rules determined by the Arizona Department of Health.
-Health issues that make out-of-hospital birth unsafe for either the woman or her child
-Not meeting the requirements for VBAC
-The mental health stability in the mother
When a woman is not confined to bed, often she finds that she has the resources necessary to cope with labor. We also offer childbirth preparation classes and a lending library to mentally and emotionally prepare for the event of labor and beyond. We are a part of the journey to prepare you for your birth from the very beginning of your care with us!
If, in the end, a woman decides that she wants pain medication, she is generally able to transfer her care to the hospital and get medication for her labor. This is an exceedingly rare situation. If this were to happen, a member of the staff would stay with her to act as a support person.
The tub is generally large enough that if a woman’s partner wished to enter the pool with her, there is adequate space. The midwifery staff is responsible for the set up and clean up of the pool.
Additionally, you may want to bring a change of clothing for yourself to wear home. Remember to pack things that will accommodate your newly postpartum belly, which is likely to be approximately the size of a 7 month belly, any special clothing for labor, clothes and diapers for baby, and a car seat for baby. We cannot discharge any baby without the baby being properly restrained in a car seat.
We also recommend that the children receive sibling preparation before attending the birth. A child who is well prepared for the sights, sounds, etc. of birth generally take the experience in stride.
You as the parent, will need to exercise judgement in the appropriateness of your child being present for the birth of the new baby.
It is highly suggested that children not be at the center for the entire labor. We recommend that children stay at a secondary location until birth becomes imminent, and then have them brought over.
When it comes time for the birth itself, we may not be able to provide the same touch due to the fact that we have to remain focused on the birth itself. Ask for a listing of recommended doulas.
Where possible, we try to provide information and education so that fears and concerns can be put to rest. We recognize that this is often an emotionally charged time and a situation that some men may feel unprepared to experience. You are free to work out whatever level of involvement that you prefer as a family.
If mutually agreed upon, dads/partners may be the first person to touch their baby, “catching” at the time of birth and placing baby on the mother’s chest. Of course, this is not required. There are no expectations of how involved you must be.
Once discharged from the center, the family can expect a phone call 8+ hours later to touch base and make sure all is going well at home. It is recommended that the mother have a visit with the midwife 24-48 hours after birth. Another visit on the third day is scheduled. She then is given the option of a 2, 4 , and 6 week visit.
If visits other than this schedule are needed for postpartum, newborn, or breastfeeding issues, these needs are also met. This post-care also includes the baby’s newborn metabolic screening (“PKU”), birth certificate and social security number application submission to vital records, maternal RhoGam shot (if applicable), and postpartum pap smear/well-woman exam at 6 weeks.
The Birth Haven Birth Center
3303 S. Lindsay Road, Suite 125
Gilbert, Arizona 85297