What to Look For in a Birthing Center

 

Choosing a hospital or birthing center for your baby’s birth is an important task. Choosing a place to give birth goes hand in hand with choosing the right health care provider for your birth experience, as well. You want to make sure that the facility you choose not only has the resources that you need for a healthy labor and delivery, but also that it has a reputation for listening to expectant parents’ needs and honoring their wishes.

Here are some important characteristics you should be looking for in your birthing center:

  • Individual attention. Check out the ratio of nurses to mothers. If the hospital or birthing center has a ratio of 5:1, you’re going to get a lot less attention than if it is 3:1.
  • Nurse qualifications. Another issue to be concerned with is the nursing staff’s qualifications. Of course, there will be a registered nurse associated with your stay in the hospital or birthing center. But if most of the work is done by LPNs or even CNAs, you’re not going to have access to as knowledgably a staff as you might like.
  • Your doctor’s affiliation. In some ways, you’re limited by your choice of obstetrician. Doctors typically only have rights at one or two facilities, so you need to keep this in mind when you’re choosing your OB as well.
  • Your own needs. Some pregnancies require a greater amount of care and attention than others. For example, if you have a high-risk pregnancy, you need to be certain that the hospital or birthing center has the facilities to handle any emergency situations that might arise. For example, if the hospital doesn’t have a neo-natal intensive care unit, you might think twice about delivering there if there are potential problems with your baby.
  • Your wishes. There might be certain components to your birth plan that just aren’t allowed in a given facility. While the rules have eased up quite a bit in the past few decades, there are still facilities that might take issue with music, food and other amenities during labor and delivery.

During the process of pregnancy planning, don’t forget to put some thought into the hospital or birthing center.


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