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Birthing Centers

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However, if complications arise during the pregnancy, labor, or delivery, a birthing center may not be able to meet her medical needs. Mothers delivering in birthing centers receive their prenatal care from the providers who attend births at the center. The birthing center pre-screens mothers for risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes.
Every birth carries with it a certain degree of risk and at some point that risk may not make a birthing center the best choice for delivery. Some conditions may lead to complications during labor and delivery and would therefore make using a birthing center impossible. These complications include: breech position, bleeding, history of complications with previous pregnancies, a multiple pregnancy, gestational diabetes, herpes outbreak, preeclampsia, hypertension, premature labor or Rh blood incompatibility.

A good birthing center should be staffed by experienced midwives and have an obstetrician available for consultation and who is on-call for emergencies at any point during pregnancy, delivery or postpartum.

It's best if the center is close to an area hospital so you and/or your baby can be transported quickly if an emergency should arise that cannot be handled at the birthing center. When interviewing a prospective birthing center, be sure to ask about the qualifications of the staff, what kind of care to expect after delivery, and their policies on the use of anesthesia (can you choose to have an epidural), narcotics, fetal monitoring and other medical interventions.

To find a birthing center near you, go to the American Association of Birth Centers.


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