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Why I Chose a Birth Center For My Delivery

by Amanda on February 25, 2009
category: Finances,Labor and Delivery

birthcenter1.jpg I sometimes feel like my huge belly is not advertising, “There is a baby inside here.” Instead my belly says “Please comment on what you think the status of my baby is and ask me lots of questions!” One of the questions I often get asked is, “Where are you delivering?” I explain that I am having my baby at a Birth Center and I like to watch their faces as they receive the news. I even avoided telling my own mother for months, because I feared her negative reaction. When I finally told her she reacted exactly as I expected. So let me explain why I chose a Birth Center instead of going to an OB/GYN and delivering at the hospital.

I had never even considered a birth center until I read Amelia’s article, “Are Birth Centers Safe?” here at The Mom Crowd.  I feel very fortunate to have had a textbook delivery with my first with no medicine in the hospital, so I felt like I could consider another option when I got pregnant with my second.


The main consideration about where I delivered mostly depended on the cost. When my husband decided to start his own business we opted to buy Health Insurance without any Maternity coverage. It is cheaper for us to have a lower monthly payment and pay for any maternity costs in cash.

We called my OB/GYN and the hospital where I delivered to get their costs. My OB/GYN would be $2300 for 14 prenatal visits, plus $218 for a sonogram and $142 for each Non-Stress Test. The total cost of going to see my OBGYN would be around $2660.  I don’t have the exact numbers for the hospital, but when we called a normal delivery with no epidural or c-section would be around $5,000 in hospital costs. Going through the same care that I had with my daughter without insurance would be around $7,660.

We then called the new Birth Center in San Antonio and found out that they offer a cash discount. $3500 would cover all my visits and my delivery. This only includes up to 6 hours of care after delivery. Any additional hours will be $20 each to cover the cost of the staff. I have to pay extra for any  tests and my sonogram. At the Birth Center they only require 1 sonogram and even that one is optional. For less than $4,000 we feel like we are getting a great deal!

There was also a question of if I had Gestational Diabetes again. My OB/GYN would make me go to a Specialist that would cost about $250 a visit and I would have to go about 10 times. The Birth Center would not make me go to a Specialist if I could control my gestational diabetes with my diet as I did last time. Thankfully I barely passed my diabetes test this pregnancy!

Freedom, Comfort, and Options

birthcenter2.jpg My husband and I took a tour of the center, before we signed up. Everything was clean and we got a “good vibe” from the office. It is really peaceful there, almost like a spa. We especially like how I don’t have to have an IV when I am delivering if I don’t need one. I can move about and eat and drink, as I need.  Also, I like that can choose to birth in a bed, use a birthing stool, use a birthing ball, or get in the huge Jacuzzi tub.

The main benefit for us is that my husband wants to catch our second child. He felt like he didn’t really have a part in my first delivery other than rubbing my back and holding my leg. Also, two friends want to be at my delivery and I feel like the center is perfectly okay with extra folks in the room.

Benefits I Have Found Since I Started Going

The three midwives are incredibly nice and not intimidating at all. I have never felt like any question is stupid one. I can ask about my file any time. They also give me feedback on my pee tests. With my OB I always peed in the cup, but never knew why.

I also like that they are pretty flexible with appointment times and I can change my appointment time if I need to. I feel like they know me personally and really care about my health. I never feel like they are rushing me out the room when I have an appointment. I have never had health care providers be this kind and excited for me.

The Few Negatives of my Birth Center

As I mentioned before the mother only stays at the center for about 6 hours after delivery, so there is no overnight nursery care to catch up on your sleep. Also, my Pediatrician is not familiar with the new birth center and the extensive care that newborns receive at a birth center, so she not very encouraging of my decision. I will also have to take a special trip about 48-hours after delivery to have my baby examined at my Pediatrician’s office.

Amelia mentions in her article about what happens if something goes wrong and you need to be rushed to the hospital. Like her birth center, mine is located in the heart of our medical center. They said that most of the time they move a mother is because they have been in labor for a very long time and just want the baby out. It was a very small percentage of women who actually do get rushed to a hospital.


My husband and I considered every angle that we could come up with. In the end we are excited about our decision. My husband likes to call it “the hippie center” even though they have no tie-dyed clothes or incense. In fact, the center is very nicely decorated. He wants to order a pizza while we are there, just because we can! We will see how it goes. I will be sure to write up another post and let you know how the delivery goes!

10 Responses to Why I Chose a Birth Center For My Delivery

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Sara
    February 25, 2009 @ 9:08 am

    It sounds wonderful! I had my first in a hospital – I got lucky and had the world’s most amazing OB who made us feel warm, welcome and respected all of our wishes. I had visions of a peaceful birth center atmosphere for my second, but he wouldn’t wait. I actually had him in the car on the highway. Not the most peaceful setting, but at least it was all natural with no intervention.

    Good luck with the delivery. I’m sure everything will go just as you hope!

  • Comment by Dawn
    February 25, 2009 @ 12:05 pm

    Awesome! I love the perspective from having done it the standard hospital way to what you’re doing now. The financial insight is helpful and interesting, as well.

  • Comment by Amanda
    February 25, 2009 @ 2:06 pm

    Thanks, Sara! I could not imagine delivering on the highway! I will be sure to leave sooner than I think I need to. With my first I was only in the hospital for 2 1/2 hours before she came out. So with my second I think I might want to get there a little sooner.

    Dawn – It mostly came down to cost for us. If was cheaper to deliver at the hospital then I would have probably done that. We just like to consider all our options.

    P.S. Those pics are from my actual birth center. I took the photos 2 weeks ago.

  • Comment by Sharon M
    February 26, 2009 @ 3:46 am

    Yoga ball — totally loved it, even though I didn’t give birth at a Birthing Center, I used that thing while having my pre-labor contractions (which lasted for a while), and even took it to the hospital!

    Amanda, I hope you have wonderful delivery there. I’ve heard the midwives are great and the couple of people that I’ve spoken with had good experiences there.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by jenny
    February 26, 2009 @ 8:30 am

    The birth center looks very cool. Whenever I describe birth centers to people I say it’s like a bed and breakfast, but they’re equipped with everything necessary for the birth of a baby. :)

    We’re actually choosing to have our baby at home with a midwife this time (you know this Amanda) for many reasons – freedom to labor as we wish, freedom to eat and drink, having the kids there, and the fantastic feeling of being able to lay down and sleep in my own bed after it is all over.

    My first two pregnancies and births were completely uncomplicated. Joaquin was born in a hospital with an ob, and Frida in the hospital with a midwife. I’ve always wanted a homebirth (close friends of our family growing up birthed all their babies at home when I was a kid, so the idea never seemed strange to me). Mostly it has taken my husband a few births to see that it is a natural process, my body can birth babies just fine, and get on board.

    If you talking pure economics, it’s a great deal too. Our midwife charges $2800 for all prenatal visits, labor, birth and 2 visits after the baby is born (one at our home a couple days after birth and one at 6 weeks back at her office). Ultrasound at 20 weeks is totally optional and extra. That’s the beauty of homebirth – no hospital bills (which usually run higher than your midwife / ob bills themselves).

    I love midwifery care. I always leave my midwife appts. feeling cared for as a person (and not just as a pregnancy). And with the results of every test we always sit and talk about it in detail, making sure I have no questions. I actually do my own urine test every month, read it, and tell her what my results are. It is so empowering. I could go on and on…..

    I’m so excited for y’all Amanda and look forward to hearing your birth story after it’s all over. :) Keep us posted.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Kristi
    February 26, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

    I think that you will have a great experience. I wanted to give birth at a birth center but didn’t get the support from family and couldn’t talk my husband into it. I had a great experience at the hospital this time so it all worked out. I hope that your labor is quick and easy. I can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Bethany
    February 27, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

    Holy cow, that place looks awesome!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Kara
    March 2, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

    I can’t wait to see the place! Hopefully the timing will be right :)

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Jennifer
    March 4, 2009 @ 12:14 am

    Thank you for sharing your blog with us. I have really enjoyed peeking around. I know you said you had a blog but I never understood how professional and lovely it was. You must be very proud.

    I just wanted to stop in and say you did a great job today. I always love our visits and today was no exception. Thank you for letting me be part of your birthing experience. You baby has taught me so much.

    May God Bless You,
    You midwife student

  • Gravatar March 4, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

    [...] excited to be there and watch the miracle of a life entering the world.  Amanda gave birth at a birthing center rather than a hospital, so that is why I was allowed to be there.  Back when she first decided to [...]

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