Why Choose a Birth Center?

Why do people choose to birth at a birth center?

  • Desire for low-intervention birth
  • Cultural or religious reasons
  • Surrounded by family
  • Inability to get to a hospital
  • Cost

We provide a relaxed, private, and familiar environment for mothers and families

Birth centers were designed for healthy, low-risk mothers and healthy babies. The atmosphere is very relaxed and feels more like a nice country inn or somebody’s really well-kept home than a hospital. The birth center offers much more privacy because of our lower volume; we don’t have 15 or 20 women giving birth at the same time.

Because our birth center is also the place where mothers come for all their prenatal care, it becomes familiar far before labor. They get to know the staff who work here and the staff knows them. Mothers also become familiar with the birth rooms since they have looked at them several times and shown them to their parents, friends and their other children.

We provide educational training on what to expect and create a plan that is unique to each birth

Through the educational program that goes on throughout the pregnancy, parents know what to expect once the mother goes into labor.

  • A mother knows that she can wear her own clothes and that she can eat and drink in labor.
  • She will be encouraged to get out of bed and walk around.
  • She is able to choose her support people – whether it’s her own mother, sister, partner or birth doula. It’s up to the mother to decide who she wants to be there. This is her labor and whatever makes her feel good is what the staff wants to do for her.
  • The mother can labor in any position that is comfortable for her. We know that babies come out better when the mother is relaxed, so we try to provide an atmosphere where she feels confident and comfortable so that she will use her body well.

We promote breastfeeding and provide breastfeeding education and support

Birth centers promote breastfeeding. In fact, because we know that a baby is alert and will nurse well in the first hour after birth, breastfeeding is encouraged immediately. In this way, breastfeeding and the education and support of the mother in the breastfeeding process is established early on.

We have a different philosophy on routine and episiotomies

There are no routines in a birth center. There is no routine prep or enema or IV. We do not do the continuous electronic fetal monitoring that keeps a mother tethered to a machine. The baby’s heartbeat is monitored, but it is monitored intermittently with a handheld doppler.

Additionally, birth center care reflects a difference in philosophy about episiotomies. We don’t cut routine episiotomies. Instead, we use warm compresses to ease the passage of the baby so the mother won’t tear. The episiotomy rate in our birth center and our referring hospital is less than 2 percent.

We care for mother and baby together

The most important difference you will find in birth centers, (and a common reason that many people choose a birth center) is that there is no separation of mother and baby. Anything that is done for the baby – treatment or exam – is always done in front of the parents so that they may learn about their baby. The same staff takes care of the mother and baby together. The nurse-midwives in the birth center care for the family as a unit.

We anticipate any issues that may arise and have systems in place to transfer to the hospital if needed

Now, what about problems? We know that some people may have problems, so there are systems set up to deal with transfers to the hospital. We know that we are going to transfer about 12 percent of the women in labor and that the vast majority of these transfers are not emergencies. Only about two percent of women go to the hospital as emergency transports.

We are affiliated with UNC Hospitals and Family Medicine

The birth center is affiliated with UNC Hospital with backup from Family Medicine and if a transfer is necessary, the midwife accompanies the family to the hospital where she will continue to care for the mother with the assistance of Family Medicine and/or Obstetric faculty. We are located only minutes from UNC, which ensures that if the mother or the baby develop a problem, we can get them the level of care needed.

Your health. Your birth. Our commitment.

Midwifery and the birth center model of care focuses on the promotion of health and the development of individual responsibility. At WBWC, each woman is given time for quality care, with dignity and respect, during adolescence, pregnancy, lactation and through to menopause. We are committed to empowering your health and honoring your needs.

Women’s Birth & Wellness Center is dedicated to providing women of diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds with comprehensive primary, maternity and lactation healthcare throughout the life cycle.

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