Birth Center Vs. Hospital | Things You Should Consider

A birthing center is a free standing healthcare facility, often staffed by nurse midwives and midwives for people in labor, who may be assisted by doulas and coaches. Birth centers provide a home-like, non-medical setting for pregnancy, labor, and birth. The midwives monitor the labor and well-being of the mother and fetus during birth.

We are lucky to have many birth centers here in Tampa which offer that individualized, caring, and holistic care that’s sensitive to yours and your family’s feelings. We list some of the local birth centers at the end of this blog, and we have also added a link to a labor comfort measures resource guide for you!

(Photo credit: Birth Center of St Pete)

Why do people choose a birth center versus home or hospital?

Birth centers often accept insurance, and when opting for an out of hospital birth, this is a great way to find a happy medium. 

Birth centers are staffed by midwives, which means you will receive the midwifery model of care (personalized, sensitive, caring, and holistic) throughout your pregnancy, labor, and birth. 

Delivering at a birth center comes with less restrictions than that of a hospital birth. You will be able to move around during labor as you wish and oftentimes stroll to the gardens or outdoor areas of the birth center, which helps to break up the pace of your marathon of a birth and provide comfort. 

Delivering at a birth center means that you can bring your partner and doula, and outside of Covid restrictions, you can also bring extended family members, including your other children to your labor and birth

People usually select a birth center when hoping for a water birth because they are often equipped with huge birthing tubs.

(Photo credit: Breath Of Life Largo)

Things you should consider:

These things below are not a deal breaker. We feel birth centers offer a calm and beautiful environment (did we mention how amazing midwives are?), but here are some small details, which clients often mention they wish they had known.

  • A main point to consider is that midwives care for low risk pregnancies. Your midwife will assess your level of risk and determine if you are a good candidate for their birth center.
  • You will have to bring snacks and your first post-delivery meal (different from ordering room service at a hospital).
  • We mentioned they are much like a home experience, so birth centers in Tampa often have fully equipped kitchens, large living room spaces, bedrooms in each birthing suite, and all the linens and towels you will need during your labor/ birth. You will oftentimes have to purchase a birth kit, which includes items for your birth such as the umbilical cord clamp, chuck pads to line your bed for bodily fluids, and other postpartum needs, such as sanitary pads.
  • You will not have access to all types of pain management in a birth center; however, some birth centers in Tampa do have Nitrous Oxide, which provides short term relief of contraction discomfort. 
  • You will be discharged from the birth center oftentimes as short as four hours after delivery of your baby.  If driving home with your baby  at 2AM makes you uncomfortable, this is one to consider and discuss further with the birth center midwife. 
  • You will have to return to the birth center shortly after discharge (after you have had your baby) for your initial postpartum visit. Typically this visit happens within 24-48 hours after delivery.
  • Although midwives can handle many complications and they do have certain medications and interventions available to them at the birth center, if you need additional intervention, such as severe dehydration in labor, you will be transferred to your local hospital (and often your midwife will come with you). It is a good idea to tour the hospital closest to the birth center just in case. We at One Love believe being prepared for all scenarios is key. 
  • Birthing at a birth center means you can birth your way. If you feel like kneeling by the bed, you can. If you feel like you want to push on the toilet, you can! This is why we feel it is a great option for low risk pregnancies. 

Birth centers in Tampa (and surrounding areas):

It is never too early to prepare for your birth! Download our free resource, which lists some of our favorite comfort measures to get you through labor.

You may be thinking, “Where can I find a doula near me?” We provide Tampa doula support, birth, placenta encapsulation, and postpartum doula care for:

  • Tampa, St Petersburg
  • Downtown Tampa
  • Brandon
  • Land O’ Lakes
  • Lakeland
  • Plant City
  • … and more!

Virtual doula services are also available, let’s plan for your amazing birth and postpartum journey. 

All With, 

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