The offerings available at birthing centers are diverse. Some are attached to hospitals, which allow for smoother transfers if medical intervention is necessary. Some are standalone buildings. If the birthing center is free standing, they often have accommodations for quick transfer to a hospital.. Additionally, birthing centers have access to medical supplies like nitrous oxide for pain, IV lines, oxygen, etc. The location you pick depends entirely on what’s available to you and the plan you draw up with your midwife or OBGYN.
Birth centers are decorated to evoke a peaceful atmosphere with soft lighting, jetted tubs, showers, and other amenities for the family to use. They also have less strict rules than hospitals. For example, hospitals typically do not allow mothers to get out of bed until after delivery; however, birthing centers often encourage walking around or getting into a whole variety of positions which allow for an easier delivery. The afterbirth process is also different in a birthing center than in a hospital. In a birthing center, you tend to be given more time to recover and bond with your baby as there is typically less stress on the facility and staff.
Most insurance plans offer coverage for birthing centers. It can be an excellent way to save some money while also having a comfortable delivery experience. Unfortunately, there are limitations to coverage of birth centers, often being that they are covered but not in-network, so the cost may be significantly more. A home birth, on the other hand, may be more expensive initially because insurance coverage is limited and costs may be out of pocket, which means that paying a midwife and preparation are the mother’s responsibility. Still, both of these options tend to be less expensive than a hospital birth in the end, considering overnight stays and intervention usually involved. Check with your insurance to find out if you’re covered.