Choosing a Birthing Facility

When a woman delivers with a physician, a hospital is the only available option. While most certified nurse-midwives also deliver in hospitals, some deliver in “free-standing” birthing centers or in homes.

Hospitals – Today, many hospitals offer the choice of staying in one room for labor and delivery and, occasionally, even for postpartum/newborn care. These rooms include a private bathroom and some sort of bed or sleeping accommodation for partners or labor coaches. Some mothers and babies may need to be transferred to a major medical facility, depending on the level of care needed.

Birthing centers – Free-standing birthing centers have home-like settings with common areas such as kitchens and living rooms, which allow a mother in labor and her family to be together and even prepare a meal. Births are attended by certified nurse-midwives, and emergency equipment is available. Birth centers are designed for healthy women having low-risk pregnancies.

Home – Some women who prefer familiar surroundings and minimal medical intervention choose home births, typically with a midwife.

Related Reading: Choosing a Birth Practitioner