Colorado's Mountain Midwifery Center is the only free-standing birthing center in Colorado. While a common institution in Europe, Canada, and Australia, birthing centers are relatively few and far between in the US.
How is a Birthing Center different than a hospital?
Birthing centers are generally staffed by Certified Nurse Midwives who have a master's level degree specializing in midwifery.
- Philosophy: the belief underlying most birthing centers is that having a baby is a normal part of life, not an extreme medical condition that requires excessive medicine, technology, and medical intervention. Centers are meant for healthy low-risk women who are looking for a natural birth.
- How it looks: most centers try to create a home-like atmosphere, with a queen size bed to fit the partner, a jacuzzi for water births, and various equipment you can utilize while giving birth.
- Appointments: your meetings at the center are very holistic, and you'll talk about nutrition, exercise, concerns, emotional health as well as empirically tracking the health of the mother and the baby. You are encouraged to ask questions and be an equal partner in the process
- Birth process: most birthing centers are a place for natural birth, meaning very little medicine, no epideryl, and no c-sections. If a mother needs a c-section or has any other high-risk medical condition, she would be transferred to a hospital. Since a women generally can't walk or stand after getting an epideryl, not getting one frees her up to utilize gravity, have a water birth, and to walk around to facilitate movement. After the birth, mothers only stay for a few hours at which point they head home for rest.
Overall, my experience with the Mountain Midwifery Center has been extremely personalized and empowering. I look forward to my appointments and feel extremely lucky to have found a place where I am learning and preparing not only for giving birth but also to become a parent.