Pregnant patients may choose the Birth Center at PCC if they would like to have their babies in a home-like setting outside of the hospital. Each patient will first meet with a midwife to make sure the birth center is a good place for delivery based on their health history. If both the pregnant patient and the midwife believe the birth center is a good fit, they will be registered for care. Additional requirements will be tracked throughout the pregnancy to make sure the patient is well-prepared for out-of-hospital delivery and that the birth center remains a safe place for the mother and baby. Learn more about eligibility for birth center care.
A healthy birth begins with care during your entire pregnancy. If you think you may be pregnant, you can come in to PCC for a free pregnancy test to confirm. Then, you can begin care with a midwife or doctor. If you are interested in the birth center, you can receive care from one of the birth center midwives.
Prenatal care for birth center patients is provided along the same timeline as PCC patients who deliver in the hospital, with visits becoming more frequent in the last trimester of pregnancy.
- 8 – 28 weeks: every 4 weeks
- 28 – 36 weeks: every 2 weeks
- 36+ weeks: every week
Care is focused on prevention of complications and continuous monitoring of risk factors to allow for appropriate referrals when needed. During visits, your midwife will measure vital signs, measure the baby’s growth, and screen for complications. The midwife will also talk with you about making healthy lifestyle choices, like exercising, and eating healthy foods.
Mothers who plan to deliver at the Birth Center at PCC must attend a free childbirth education course, offered monthly at PCC South Family Health Center. Partners and other labor support persons are strongly encouraged to attend as well. Topics are tailored to giving birth in an out-of-hospital setting and include the process of labor and birth, support techniques, understanding complications and reasons to transport to the hospital, interventions, and breastfeeding. A tour of the Birth Center at PCC and orientation to the center is also included.
The birth center space is a safe and comfortable place for mothers to meet their new babies. When labor begins, mothers contact the midwife that is on-call. Through that conversation they will determine when the mothers should come to the birth center. Once the mother arrives and settles into her room, the midwife is by her side. Our midwives help women to use their own strength to birth naturally in the birth center without pain medication. Mothers can use the birthing tub, shower, and other tools to help with the discomfort. Mothers can invite supportive family and friends to the birth center; they are welcome to stay throughout labor, either in the birth room or in the family waiting area. After the birth, mother and baby stay together at all times to encourage bonding and successful breastfeeding. We will order a warm meal for the parents and will make sure the whole family has a chance to rest.
Birth center care includes an early discharge and thorough follow-up care. First time mothers stay in the birth center between 8-12 hours after birth and mothers who have already had a baby are encouraged to stay between 6-12 hours. Family and support persons are welcome throughout this time period. Before a family goes home, we will make sure that mother and baby are stable and that they have both rested and eaten. When the family prepares to go home, we will give detailed instructions that outline normal recovery as well as symptoms that require a phone call to the midwife or further attention.
All mothers and babies receive a home-visit 24-36 hours after birth for a check-up. This is followed by a clinic visit for mother and baby 3-4 days after birth. Finally, mother and baby return to the clinic for a 6-week visit. Additional visits are given when needed. Sometimes mothers will come in for a visit just to check up on breastfeeding and to help baby breastfeed successfully.
Primary Care and Other Support Services
At PCC we practice an integrated care model that combines primary care, behavioral health care services, oral health care, and financial counseling. Birth center patients have access to these services throughout their pregnancy and after. Their newborn and other family members may also see PCC providers for their regular health care.