National Birth Centers, Inc.

Safe Affordable Choices in Birth


Birth Center
Low Intervention
Interventions are common and often lead to higher C-section rates
Parents have full access to their baby
Newborns are subject to hospital protocols
Water immersion, doula support, walking offered for pain relief
Narcotics used for pain relief. Few non-pharmacological options for pain relief.
Encourages and helps with breastfeeding (no kick backs from formula companies)
Breastfeeding support varies by location
Typically the same provider provides care throughout pregnancy/delivery
On-call schedules dictate provider availability
Discharge is within hours of establishing stable vitals of mother and newborn
Discharge according to hospital policies usually 48 hours after vagnial delivery 
Policies are usually flexible concerning newborn vaccinations, vitamin K, antibiotics for eyes to prophylactically treat for suspected sexually transmitted infections. 
Policies usually strict concerning newborn vaccinations, vitamin K, antibiotics for eyes to prophylactically treat for suspected sexually transmitted infections. 
Lower risk of infection
Increased risk of hospital aquired infections
Birth plans discussed in advance 
Hospitals typically don't appreciate or honor birth plans
Doula support encouraged
Some hospitals prohibit patient use of a labor doula

The equipment and supplies needed to monitor a mother and her unborn baby during labor and the equipment used to facilitate a normal vaginal delivery do not change based on the location of the birth. Birth Centers and hospitals are required to have identical equipment: sterile supplies, oxygen, medications for hemorrhage, suturing supplies, blood pressure monitoring, equipment to monitor fetal well-being, resuscitation equipment and disposable supplies. 


Articles you might enjoy:

22 Reasons to Have Your Baby at A Birth Center

Birth centers offer a much more individually tailored approach to birth with the benefits of hospital birth and the freedom of a homebirth all wrapped into one.

Birth Centers: Alternative to Hospitals

Birth centers aren't mini-hospitals – your labor will never be induced or stimulated with oxytocin (Pitocin) there, and c-sections are not done at birth centers. But such centers are equipped with IVs, oxygen, medication, and infant resuscitation equipment, so if need be, emergency care can be started while you and your baby await transport to the hospital.

Midwife-led Birth Centers Improve Outcomes

“A growing body of evidence, including findings from The National Birth Center Study II, continues to demonstrate that women who give birth at midwife-led birth centers experience exceptional outcomes and are less likely to undergo cesarean birth compared to those who give birth in hospitals.”

The Evidence for Birth Centers

“If the 15,574 women who planned to give birth in birth centers had instead chosen hospital births, it is estimated that they would have experienced 3,000 additional—and unnecessary— Cesareans. Instead, these C-sections were safely and effectively prevented, along with a potential cost-savings of at least $4.5 million.”

Safe, Healthy Birth: What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know

Every pregnant woman needs to know that the most important way to insure a healthy, safe birth is to choose a provider and place of birth that provide evidence-based maternity care and do not interfere in the natural, physiologic process of birth unless there is a compelling medical indication to do so. 


Women also need to know that midwifery care is associated with longer prenatal visits, more education and prenatal counseling, and fewer hospital admissions. Women cared for by midwives are less likely to need pain medication, have more freedom of movement, and are more likely to eat and drink in labor. Women cared for by midwives are less likely to have routine interventions of any kind, have fewer complications, and are less likely to have a cesarean. In addition, there are fewer babies born preterm, with low birth weight, or with birth-related injuries when midwives provide primary care to pregnant women