Midway through my pregnancy with Maggie, Kevin and I switched from the traditional OB office we were using to a midwifery practice here in Winston-Salem. We were so impressed by the level of personalized attention and care we received during our prenatal visits, during Maggie’s birth, and from a postpartum standpoint as well.
Since Maggie was born in late March, the practice (formerly Novant Health Midwifery Associates) has changed things up a bit, partnering with Baby+Co., a practice with a few locations in the Southeast, to broaden the resources they’re able to offer to expectant families. This new partnership includes the same high-quality pre- and post-natal care the midwife group was offering before, but also boasts a hugely exciting new resource: a birth center! (Yep — Winston-Salem finally has a birth center. And it’s beautiful.)
Kevin and I attended Baby+Co. Winston-Salem‘s grand opening open house event this past weekend and loved getting to check out their new office space/birth center. It looks like something straight out of Restoration Hardware: sophisticated and comfortable and calm. I mean, I wish I had this bathtub in my house!:
Not only is it lovely, the birth center is staffed by incredible people. I can say that with full confidence, having gotten to know them during my time with Novant Health Midwifery Associates. You’ll receive nurturing and experienced care with these folks, and will feel like an individual throughout. (I ran into one of the midwives at a local farmer’s market recently and she remembered my name and Maggie’s and we had a great conversation. I don’t know if that would have happened if we’d stuck with our larger OB practice.)
With the addition of this birth center, Winston-Salem moms-to-be now have even more options when it comes to what they want their birth experience to look like. If you’re new to the world of birth centers, here’s a quick low-down on what to expect from Baby+Co. Winston-Salem:
- You need to have a low-risk pregnancy to qualify. Baby+Co. wants to be sure everyone is safe throughout this process, so if your pregnancy looks to be more high risk or the midwives are worried about potential complications during labor and delivery, you won’t be eligible to give birth at the birth center. Unfortunately, inductions can’t take place at the birth center, either (meaning Maggie and I wouldn’t have qualified even if the birth center had been open in time for her birth, since I needed Cervadil to get things going).
- You get to give birth in a calm, home-like environment. After all, most women aren’t sick during labor and delivery, so why do you have to be in a medicalized, hospital environment to give birth? Having your baby in the birth center allows you to be in a peaceful place that feels like a home.
- You can avoid interventions. If you give birth at the birth center, you’ll do so without interventions such as an epidural. (You can, however, have access to nitrous oxide, which can help take the edge off during tough contractions. This option is currently unavailable at Forsyth Medical Center.) Though the birth center will have all the medical devices necessary to resuscitate the baby or mother after birth if needed, etc., the goal with a birth center birth is to let things happen as naturally as possible. For women who are looking for that option (like I was), this is great news.
- You don’t have to give birth in the birth center in order to use the midwives as your care providers. Not into the idea of an epidural-free birth? No problem! You can absolutely still use the midwives for your care, and they’ll be with you to help you deliver in the hospital if that’s more your speed. Their whole philosophy is to create the birth experience you want to have.
- The practice has a collection of four backing physicians. These doctors have been supporting the midwives for a few years, and they’re top notch. If they need a physician to consult with during your pregnancy or need one to step in with help during birth (for example, if you end up needing to have a c-section), they call one of these four individuals to jump right in and help.
- You can have a water birth. This is big news in Winston-Salem, because water births currently aren’t allowed at Forsyth Medical Center.
- You get to go home much sooner (as in, just four to six hours after giving birth). When I was pregnant with Maggie and was reading about birth centers, four to six hours seemed like an alarmingly short amount of time to spend in the facility post-birth. However, we stayed in the hospital for just a day and a half after she was born, and I was SO ready to go home. The great thing about Baby+Co., too, is that you’re by no means left to your own devices once you go home. The midwives will call you for an in-depth conversation once you’re home, asking several questions to be sure things are going well and you and the baby are healthy. They’ll also come to your home (if you live within a 30-mile radius of the center) to perform tasks that would have taken place in the hospital, such as your baby’s hearing screen and genetic testing. Plus, if you feel like you and/or your baby need a little more supervised support after the birth, you can stay in the birth center for up to about 12 hours and then be transferred into the hospital for a few hours of additional care.
- Your whole family can be in the room (or not!). The hospital has restrictions on who can be in the delivery room (and kids often aren’t allowed), but the same isn’t true at Baby+Co. You can have family and friends and kiddos in the birth center room with you during labor and delivery, or they can comfortably wait in the many living room-like spaces throughout the center, with access to a kitchen and TVs to help make their wait much more comfortable than it would be in the hospital waiting room.
- The midwives will be supporting you throughout. Yes, this means throughout your prenatal and post-natal care, but it also means during your labor and delivery. I was so impressed with just how present our midwife, Nona, was while I was in labor with Maggie. She was there the whole time, helping to coach me through things, helping Kevin know what to do, etc. It wasn’t the typical situation with a doctor who tends to just be in the room to check your progress and then ultimately deliver the baby.
I’m thrilled that our community now has a birth center, and I’m so hopeful that my next birth will be able to take place at Baby+Co. Winston-Salem.