Is the Birth Center Experience Right for You?

The Hygge experience is very different from a hospital birth. Come take a look.

The Hygge experience is very different from a hospital birth. Come take a look.

Birth centers are on the rise in the U.S. for a multitude of reasons: women with low-risk pregnancies want to avoid interventions like epidurals and C-sections when they’re medically unnecessary, natural and water birth have gained popularity even with women who don’t choose to give birth at home, and aesthetically, birth centers are much more appealing than hospitals.

Trying to decide if the birth center experience is right for you? Here are some factors that might push you toward it.

Sign up for a tour of Hygge Birth and Baby to learn more.

You want a natural birth.

At Hygge Birth and Baby, desire for a natural birth drives most of our mothers-to-be. Births here are midwife-attended, and pain management is handled via natural methods, like soaking in our birthing tubs, therapeutic movement, and deep breathing (and when things get more intense, we can send in our acupuncturist or chiropractor, or give you a hit of nitrous oxide). You won’t have interventions like an epidural or an IV, and you won’t be hooked up to machines for labor (although we will be keeping tabs on you and your baby to make sure everything is progressing accordingly). There are benefits to going the natural route, beyond the experience itself: mamas who use natural birth often see significantly faster postnatal recovery times -- and their risk of having a C-Section drops dramatically (6 percent versus upwards of 30 percent in some Denver-area hospitals).

Each Hygge suite is equipped with a birthing tub.

Each Hygge suite is equipped with a birthing tub.

You want a water birth.

Water birth offers pain relief, allows for easier movement, soothes anxiety, and promotes better blood flow and energy. The American Pregnancy Association notes that water birth has been shown to lower stress during labor, which many doctors and midwives believe leads to better outcomes for infants. If you’re dreaming of giving birth in a tub and you live in the Mile High City, your options boil down to a home birth or a birth center. (Some birth suites at hospitals have tubs, but none in Denver will actually let you give birth in the water.) At Hygge, every one of our birth suites is equipped with a birthing tub spacious enough to accommodate a mother and her partner (or to allow mama plenty of room to move, if she wants to use it alone). You can use the tub as you need -- whether that’s throughout labor and delivery, or up until when it’s time to push.

You want an intimate care team.

One of the big downsides of hospital birth is that you may not know the team presiding over your delivery until the big moment. Even if you’ve developed a nine-month relationship with one doctor, many hospitals handle labor and delivery on an on-call basis; last-minute change-ups happen frequently. Our team at Hygge is small -- the midwives that attend your birth will also handle all of your prenatal care, and the practitioners you’ve seen throughout your nine months are available to you in the delivery room (so if you need a little chiropractic work to get things moving, you’ve got it). That means no strange faces or surprises on delivery day.

Families can wait in our cozy sitting area.

Families can wait in our cozy sitting area.

You want more privacy.

Hospital births aren’t exactly private -- you might share a room during labor and recovery, and you’re constantly checked on by a large team (my mom often jokes that even the janitor came in to check on her during her hospital labor). If that makes you cringe, a birth center can be a good alternative. At Hygge, every birth suite is private, and your care team, as noted above, is intimate. You’ll have plenty of opportunity for alone time with your partner during labor, and our queen-size beds mean you’ll be able to cuddle -- if that’s what you want -- during recovery. We can accommodate other family members during birth, too -- or you can have them wait in our cozy sitting room, where they can make snacks and chat by the fire.

You’re not into the hospital environment.

Environment is perhaps the most obvious contrast the birth center offers. You know what you’re getting in a hospital: fluorescent overhead lights, sterile hallways, beeping machinery, hospital meals. Our birth suites at Hygge feel nothing like that. Instead, rooms are designed to feel like a cozy spa hotel, with queen-sized beds, soothing colors, warm lighting, and features like our spacious birthing tubs. All are meant to lower your stress during labor, and provide a comforting environment for birth.

You want a more holistic approach to prenatal care, childbirth, and postnatal care.

Much hospital-oriented obstetric care focuses on pregnancy as a condition -- you’ll be monitored to make sure your baby is developing normally, and you’ll be treated for complications as they arise. Birth centers take a more holistic approach -- and this is the core of the type of care Hygge offers. Yes, you’ll have the fetal heart rate checks, tests, and scans to make sure your baby is safe and healthy, and you’ll also be checked for conditions like gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. But we recognize that pregnancy is different for every mother, and offer a community of support and raft of services to make this time more comfortable, less stressful, and less mysterious. That includes prenatal chiropractic work and acupuncture aimed at alleviating pregnancy discomfort, access to a network of resources that covers everything from mental health to breastfeeding to doula support, and classes that cover everything from the first trimester to early parenthood.

En suite birthing tools — like racks for stretching — help natural labor progress without hampering your freedom.

En suite birthing tools — like racks for stretching — help natural labor progress without hampering your freedom.

You want more freedom during labor.

We’ve intentionally designed Hygge so that you can move around and get as comfortable as possible during labor -- en suite birthing tubs, birthing balls, birthing stools, showers, racks for stretching, and queen-sized beds give you a variety of options for managing pain and helping labor progress. And because Hygge specializes in natural birth, you aren’t confined to your bed by an epidural -- so you’re free to walk around. You’ll have considerably less freedom to move during a hospital birth, even if you don’t ask for interventions like that epidural -- there’s more machinery, fewer tools, and less space. So if being confined makes you anxious, a birth center is a good option.

You want a more affordable childbirth option.

Let’s face it -- hospital birth is expensive! You pay for medications, meals, room and board, and your delivery team. Hygge’s comprehensive birth package, which covers prenatal and postnatal care in addition to labor and delivery, is priced affordably, which makes it a good plan for families looking to cut down on costs. We work with insurance providers, too, bringing your out-of-pocket outlay down more. When you tour Hygge, we’ll discuss the financial aspect of birth here in detail.

What are the requirements for giving birth at a birth center?

Hygge midwives can oversee deliveries for low-risk pregnancies -- if complications arise during your pregnancy, we’ll help you transfer care to a high-risk provider. We cannot preside over births of multiples, so if you’re having twins (or more!), you’ll need to find a obstetrician who specializes in that type of care. And you’ll need to deliver on time (or close to it) -- between 37 and 42 weeks.

The bottom line: you should give birth where you’re most comfortable. The best way to figure out if a birth center experience is what you’re after is to come take a tour and get your specific questions answered. Sign up for a tour of Hygge Birth and Baby.