What is The Birthing Center? Pros and Cons


Pregnancy is a life-changing experience for a woman. She starts planning things to take care of before her baby is born. One such need of many women are getting their baby delivered at a birthing centre. Many women want their baby to see a homely environment when it opens its eyes for the first time. Therefore, birthing centres provide a natural childbirth experience to the mother without restricting her the ambience of the home. Midwives, who take care of the mother prior to birth and take care of the baby and the mother after birth too, usually run these birthing centres. The midwives train these women in becoming a mother. These birthing centres usually run for pregnancies that have lower risks.

birthing center

In This Article:

Pros and Cons of Choosing a Birthing Center

How is a Birthing Center Different from Hospitals?

Birthing centres are different in hospitals in many respects. First of all, they do not look like a hospital and do not have a tense environment such that of a hospital. Birthing centres are led by midwives and may work in collaboration with certain health professional and paediatricians [1]. Birthing centres aim to provide a normal atmosphere to the mother while delivering unlike the tense atmosphere given in the hospitals. They are well furnished with good furniture and beds. They are generally not equipped with high tech machines and aim to make childbirth as a normal and calm experience. Unlike hospitals, the probability of sharing toilets, which many people consider unhygienic, is minimum in a birthing centre.


Pros of a Birthing Center

  • Birth centres provide quality health care to the mother and the baby. These midwives regularly attend to the mother and the baby’s needs. They help the mother in all sorts of post-childbirth care and teach them how to be a mother. Midwives understand their responsibilities very well and provide better care than hospitals because they have ample time to rest and therefore when on duty, the chances of exhaustion are low [2]. This means they are more attentive to their patients.
  • Birth centres provide a natural environment so that the mother has a home-like experience in delivering the baby. They encourage natural childbirth and have options available to the mother’s needs like underwater delivery, comfortable pillows, etc. [2]
  • Birth centres are located near the hospitals. Therefore, if any emergency arises, the immediate transfer of the mother to the hospital is possible. They are a good option for delivering a baby than home childbirth, where valuable time is lost while going to the hospital in case of an emergency.
  • During her time in the hospital, a woman faces many staff members and nurses who attend to her and the baby’s needs. But in a birthing centre, a midwife is appointed to the mother who stays with her all the time. This helps in developing a personal relationship with the midwife making it easy for the mother to convey her problems.
  • Birthing centres provide privacy to women. It is better than a hospital where private rooms are not easily available.
  • Due to less involvement of medications, discharge from the birthing centres is sooner than in a hospital that leads to less expenditure of money [1].

Cons of a Birthing Center

  • High-risk pregnancies are not considered for birth centre deliveries. Birth centres do not have highly trained staff for complicated pregnancies.
  • Birth centres do not have facilities for surgeries because they are solely focused on natural births [3].
  • Many insurance companies do not cover deliveries in a birth centre in their policy. Therefore, before thinking of birthing centres consider discussing the coverage of the insurance from your insurance provider [1].


  • Wear loose clothes during labour.
  • Always keep your personal use products with you like sanitary pads, toiletries, etc.
  • Keep warm clothes for the baby and other baby products with you.
  • You may keep magazines and books for your entertainment during your stay at a birthing centre.

Can you Get an Epidural at a Birthing Center?

Birth centres do not provide epidurals. An epidural involves injecting certain anaesthetics to reduce the pains. Birth centres focus on natural treatment for the pain and do not encourage epidurals. In place of epidurals, they use massages, warm water, breathing exercises and acupuncture to ease the pain.

Who Should be Present with you in the Birth Center?

In a hospital, you are allowed a limited number of visitors allowed in the labour ward. But in birthing centres, there is no such limitation and you can take any number of people of your choice to stay with you. But at the same time, there should not be too many people to such that the room becomes crowded making it difficult to even breathe freely. Presence of too many people leads to distraction and may cause mistakes in delivery.



The cost of birthing centres varies from place to place and upon the centre chosen by you. Many are funded publicly by certain organisations. But in general, the cost is around $3000 – $4000. This cost includes prenatal care and the delivery of the baby [1].

When to Find a Birthing Center?

Before searching for a perfect birthing centre for yourself, consult your doctor for any complications in the pregnancy. Make sure you mark your delivery as safe on before deciding to choose a birthing centre. Nowadays, birthing centres are in great demand. Therefore, you need to get a prior booking for your delivery. Booking as soon as possible is generally a good idea.

Most people treat pregnancy as a very delicate phase in a woman’s life. But birthing centres help to make pregnancy a normal and stress-free experience. They provide hassle-free deliveries at the comfort similar to your home. That is why they are the number one choice by many women.