Having a Baby Here
Most women can have a baby here!
Am I eligible for care outside of a hospital? Is it safe?
Many women wonder if a birth center would be safe for their pregnancy and birth. Birth centers are extremely safe for low-risk women. Pregnancies and births at a birth center often have outcomes that are at least as good as those in hospitals, and often better. Studies on birth center safety and efficacy consistently show fewer unnecessary interventions and dramatically lower cesarean surgery rates. We know that supporting normal birth produces better outcomes than medically over-managing it.
Midwives are highly trained in normal pregnancy and birth, and they also know when to transfer care to hospitals and doctors if things have gotten risky. Pregnancy and birth usually are physiologically normal events in a woman's life. In fact, the World Health Organization* says more than 85% of pregnancies and births are normal or should be normal.
Each pregnancy is unique, and there are many things we consider safe for birth center care. If you have questions, come to an orientation. Click HERE.
Women with these conditions ARE ELIGIBLE for a birth center birth:
- Advanced maternal age (women 35 and over)
- Teen pregnancy
- Previous premature birth
- Previous over-due birth
- Previous large baby
- Previous pregnancy induced high blood pressure
- Previous postpartum hemorrhage
- Previous miscarriage
- Use of fertility measures to achieve pregnancy
- Diet controlled gestational diabetes
- Previous birth with forceps or vacuum extractor
- Mother with genital herpes (no active lesion during birth)
- Previous cesarean section (must meet specific criteria)
These conditions require a higher level of care than our birth center can offer:
- Breech (bottom first) baby at time of labor
- Pregnant with more than one baby
- Pre-existing diabetes
- Bleeding disorders
- Heavy cigarette smoker
- Current drug user
- Chronic high blood pressure
- Severe Heart Disease
- Epilepsy/seizure disorder
- Hyper-thyroid disease (over-active thyroid) (Note: low or hypothyroid disease that is well managed is acceptable)
- Vertical cesarean incision (aka "classical" incision)
- Myasthenia gravis
- Pre-pregnant BMI (body mass index) greater than 39.9. Calculate your BMI here.
What is a birth center like?
Seeing is believing! Coming to an orientation is the best way to find out what it's like here. While you're waiting for the next orientation, check out the gallery on our homepage (scroll or use the icon on the bottom-right side of the page) or visit our Facebook page to see pictures of the birth center and our birthing families. Read the FAQ to get answers to questions you didn't even know you had yet. Check out our 'About midwives and birth centers' page to learn what a midwife is, what a birth center is, and what regulatory organizations they report to.
What services are available at the birth center?
We have a page dedicated to this answer here.
What does Dar a Luz require from me (commitments, labs, tests, classes)?
Dar a Luz strives to provide you with the birth experience you desire. Your preferences are as unique as you are and we enjoy customizing your care! There are also some things we require for your and your baby's safety, some things we know are going to help you, and some things we need from you in order to provide the best service to all of our families.
At a minimum we require:
- $600 registration fee ($300 if you are on Medicaid). This holds your spot on our due date calendar, covers some of our overhead in our very thorough way of starting our relationship with you, and secures your commitment to stay with us until your baby comes. For most clients this fee is due at the first visit but if you need more time, just contact the office manager.
- A urine sample, your blood pressure and your weight at each visit
- An ultrasound to confirm the baby's health and the location of your placenta
- Prenatal labs, including HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Group Beta Strep (GBS -- if positive, treatment is optional but strongly encouraged)
- A diabetes screening test at about 28 weeks in your pregnancy
- Certain classes are required. Check out our class descriptions and our calendar of classes:
- You are required to attend one of our 5-class series birth classes -- our traditional birth class, or our birth hypnosis class, if you are a first-time mom (or a condensed birth class if you have had a baby before). These are included in our fees. Our continued accreditation requires childbirth education for every mom.
- You must attend an Interventions and Transfers class before your baby is born. This class will reduce your fears about having to transfer to a hospital, and will make it a more positive experience if it happens.
- You must attend the Newborn Care, Breastfeeding 101 and Carseat classes if you haven't had them before.
We understand that you're busy! And we also know this -- your prenatal education is just as important to your care as your midwife visits. Well-educated parents who dedicate themselves to learning about birth and caring for their babies have better experiences and better outcomes. This is one reason our Accreditation requires you to receive education before your baby is born.
This is part of what you're agreeing to in your birth center care: to receive the knowledge you need in the format we provide. We share the most relevant and important information with you -- we know your time is valuable. And a big benefit to you is that learning the general information in a class frees up your time with the midwives and nurses for discussing your own personal situation, instead of going over the basics during your visits with your care providers.
We require prenatal education for everyone: even our pregnant clients who are doctors, nurses, midwives, EMTs and doulas must take the time to get in the mood for birth. Birth center care is different in lots of ways... and the outstanding education you receive at Dar a Luz is one of the biggest benefits of your care here.
Who are the providers and what are they able to do for me?
Meet the entire birth center staff on our Staff page.
Read about midwives here, including their training and scope of practice.
How much will it cost?
To find out more about how much it will cost, read our Cost of Care information. To get an accurate estimate, please come to an orientation and request an estimate by providing your insurance information. Self-pay plans are also available. As a community-based non-profit organization we are dedicated to helping every woman who desires a birth center birth. If you need ideas for making the birth center more affordable, contact our billing specialist.
More questions? Contact us!