Risks of Giving Birth at a Birth Center

Cohen, Placitella & Roth

Expecting mothers have many decisions to make as they plan for the birth of their child, one of the most important being where and how they will give birth. Indeed, the range of options is long, with some mothers choose scheduled cesarean-sections at hospitals; other choosing natural births in birthing centers, and others even deciding to give birth at home. As a mother thinks about giving birth, there is a lot of information to consider. Here’s a look into some of the benefits and risks of choosing a birth center over a hospital. As with any medical decision, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare practitioner for more information about what birthing place option is best for you.

What Is a Birth Center?

As described by the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC), a birth center is a type of healthcare facility for childbirth where care is provided following the wellness and midwifery model. Rather than having hospital-like features, a birth center tends to focus on creating a home-like atmosphere. Those who are employed at birth centers are licensed and certified midwives, obstetricians, and pediatric consultants.

What Are the Benefits of Choosing a Birth Center Instead of a Hospital?

There are multiple benefits to giving birth in a birth center instead of a hospital for healthy mothers with healthy, low-risk pregnancies. As detailed in an article published by The New York Times, some of the benefits of choosing a birth center for one’s delivery include:

  • More personal care;
  • High-quality midwifery care;
  • Less invasive;
  • Less expensive option – the cost of delivery at a birth center is, on average, roughly half of the cost of an uncomplicated hospital birth;
  • Option of home visits and breastfeeding assistance postpartum; and
  • Ability to transfer a patient to a hospital if necessary.

Birth Center Risks

While there are many benefits to giving birth in a birth center, and many women who have healthy pregnancies prefer this option, there are also some risks that all women–even those with healthy pregnancies–should be aware of.

For example, birth centers are not equipped to offer epidural anesthesia or handle complicated births. This means that any out-of-the-ordinary birthing situations, including delivery of twins, a baby who’s in breech position, or medical complications of the mother (like gestational diabetes or high blood pressure) should be handled by a hospital.

It’s important to note that even healthy pregnancies where delivery is expected to proceed without complication can sometimes encounter problems; if a complication arises, a woman in a birthing center is further from hospital care than she would be otherwise.

What Should I Choose for My Delivery?

Delivering a baby and making a decision about where and how that delivery should occur is an extremely personal choice. As you weigh your options, talk to your doctor or midwife about your health and your options based on your health (complicated pregnancies are best served by the resources of a hospital). You should also consider your values, and talk to friends and family who have given birth in different situations.

If you do choose a birth center for delivery, one that is close to a hospital is strongly recommended in the event that a problem does arise.

Call Our Lawyers for Help Following a Birth Injury

We hope that your birth goes as planned and that you and baby are happy and healthy. Unfortunately, our lawyers know that medical negligence can lead to serious birth injuries. If your baby has been injured by medical malpractice, call our Philadelphia birth injury lawyers immediately for a free consultation. Our team is here to serve you.

If you would like to schedule your free consultation with CPR Law, contact us online or give us a call at (888) 560-7189.