Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Birth Center?
A freestanding birth center is a birth center that is independently owned and separate from a hospital. Care is provided by CPMs (Certified Professional Midwives), LMs (Licensed Midwives), and/or CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives). Only low-risk women are accepted into our care. We focus on keeping women healthy in order to give birth naturally at our facility.
“The birth center is a homelike facility, existing within a health care system with a program of care designed in the wellness model of pregnancy and birth. Birth Centers are guided by principles of prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention, and cost effectiveness. Birth centers provide family-centered care for healthy women, before, during and after normal pregnancy, labor and birth.”
- May I bring my older children to my prenatal visits, labor, and/or birth at the San Antonio Birth Center?
Yes! We like to say that we are very “child friendly” however we are not “child proof”! We LOVE and support you and your growing family and your older children are welcome to come with you to your visits, and even attend your labor and/or birth if you so desire. You will find a basket of toys in most rooms and we have a small childrens library of birth and sibling related books. We do ask that you respect our staff and the other families visiting us and supervise your children at all times. If you bring your children with you to your labor and/or birth we ask that you also bring a child care provider that is in attendance with the sole purpose of caring for and meeting the needs of your children. This is a job that you, your husband/birth partner, or our staff can not take on during your birth.
Our midwives have many wonderful ideas around to help you prepare your children for meeting their new sibling – please ask at one of your visits!
If your children are in any stage of illness – getting sick, are currently sick, or recovering from being sick – please refrain from bringing them to the birth center to protect the health of all of our pregnant moms.
- What about medical insurance and payment plans?
Midwifery care at a birth center costs only a fraction of OB care and birth at a hospital. The cost for our services includes all of your prenatal care, labor and birth, and a full six weeks of postpartum care. Most major insurance companies cover midwifery services and the birth center facility fees under the “out-of-network” portion of a typical insurance plan. We work with a professional insurance billing company to ensure that your actual out-of-pocket cost is as low as possible, and we do offer discounts for self-pay clients who are not covered by a health insurance plan. Unfortunately we are unable to accept medicaid at this time. Please discuss any special circumstances you may have regarding payment with our staff. It is our goal to help you have the birth you desire.
- How do you define “low risk”?
A low risk woman is healthy with no pre-existing medical conditions that could affect her pregnancy. She continues to focus on wellness in order to establish and maintain a healthy pregnancy. Some conditions that may label a woman “high risk” and risk her out of a birth in our facility include:
- High Blood Pressure
- Insulin-Dependent Diabetes
- Heart Disease or Defects
- Seizure Disorder
- Placenta Previa in the Third Trimester
If you have any question about whether you are a candidate for out-of-hospital birth, please call us for a free consultation. Even if we are unable to serve your needs here, we can provide valuable resources to help you attain the birth you desire.
- What happens in an emergency?
Most of the time low-risk women go on to have a low-risk labor and birth. Occasionally, even for low-risk women, complications can occur. Most of these can safely be handled at the birth center, and our midwives are trained and experienced in handling those circumstances. In the rare event that a woman in labor requires transfer of care, the nearest hospital is only blocks away. A midwife always transfers alongside our clients, ensuring a smooth transfer of information with the hospital staff. Our team provides physical and emotional support through the birth and is available for our clients and their families through six weeks postpartum. Our midwives maintain current certifications in Neonatal Resuscitation and CPR for the professional rescuer. Your safety, and that of your baby, is our utmost concern.
- Really, only natural childbirth? What about pain relief?
Most of our clients have questions about coping with the intensity/pain of natural birth. While there are no medications offered at the birth center during labor and birth, we have alternative methods of relieving discomfort during labor such as massage, position changes, music, and more. Laboring in warm water is our best tool! Health insurance companies even have a code that we bill for called “aquatherapy” as it is recognized as a legitimate form of pain relief. 90% of our mothers use our tub or pool to labor and/or give birth in.
All of our families who will be experiencing their first fully natural labor and birth are highly encouraged to learn about the entire process that we call “birth”. We recommend attending natural childbirth classes in order to have a full experiential process around preparing for birth. We encourage you to consider having a doula present for physical and emotional support. The overwhelming majority of our moms are able to successfully complete the birth process without transferring to the hospital for medication.
- Do you accept late transfers?
Yes, we do accept women into our care late in their pregnancy. We will have you fill out a medical release form and we fax it to your prior health care provider’s office in order to request your records. After a review of your records, we can determine if you are able to be accepted into our care as a low-risk pregnancy. It is not uncommon for a woman to decide late in her pregnancy that she no longer wants to give birth in the hospital.