Hailey Murray is a writer, editor, speaker and birth doula. She is also the Managing Editor of this year’s Informed Pregnancy® Guide, and a proud mother to her two-year-old son Hugh. You can follow Hailey on Twitter @Hailey_Murray.
Know Your Options: The Birth Center
By Hailey Murray
Birthing at a freestanding birth center, often described as in between home and hospital birth, is an attractive option for many parents-to-be seeking “the best of birth worlds” – the comforts of home with the facilities, expertise (and emergency backup!) of a hospital birth.
This demand has led to an incredible growth in the number of freestanding birth centers around California, especially in the greater Los Angeles area. Just a few years ago, birth centers were few and far between, and “in the know” moms-to-be reserved the few spaces available on their schedules long before the average first-time mom might have learned the option even existed. Now birth centers are popping up everywhere, offering an ever-expanding and diverse array of services and facilities – and winning over mothers seeking everything from a cozy and communal space to birth to one comparable to the privacy and luxury of an upscale spa.
When evaluating a birth center, it’s important to go in with your heart and your head and think about every possibility before "falling in love." You should feel confident with the staff, the space, and the relationship between the center and local doctors and hospitals, in the unlikely event that you do need to transfer. It’s also a good idea to ask the center’s policies if you go into labor early, or pass your “guess date.” Then ask the fun questions - unlike hospitals, birth centers generally allow children into their birthing rooms - would your soon-to-be big brother or big sister want to see his or her sibling being born? Do your homework, then feel free - fall in love with your birth center!
Sun, surf, sand and birth choices – what’s not to love about raising your family in California?