What is a Birth centre?

Dr Vijaya Krishnan talks about a birth center and what can a couple expect from it and how it is different from a regular hospital

The birth center is somewhat like halfway between a hospital and the home. We recognized that home is possibly for the normal healthy labor woman, the best place where she can give birth. She is in her element. The people who are around her know that she is leading her own labor and birth and everybody around her is supporting her.

But when that’s not possible, or even there are people and families who feel that they would be safer in a space which still allows them all that freedom, but is not a hospital. So, the birth center essentially is, is run by autonomous independent midwives. And in there, there are two kinds of birth centers, at least in India over here.

Right now we have only two birth centers, which are running and have been running for the last, about a decade or so. One is ours where we have the collaborative model of care, which has the emergency infrastructure as well as the specialists available in case there is a higher risk or what if the mother needs an intervention versus that in section.

The other kind of birth center is also done by independent midwives, but then in case there is an emergency and all in the situation that demands additional care, then they have a tie-up with their care providers outside where the mother is then transported for getting that appropriate level of care.

The birth center, again, the model is the same in terms of the midwifery model of care. It celebrates the woman and her pregnancy. It allows her to unfold and ensure that her wishes, her personal choices are respected. It provides excellent informed choices and an ability to have an informed refusal.

It allows her to choose her labor support. she can have her partner or her family, or she can have a professional doula who comes in with her. And, and there is a marked difference when the woman has bought the midwife and the doula providing her. The support that she needs because the midwife has the clinical role of ensuring that she is, you know, her labor is progressing well.

She is safe at all times, providing whatever, emotional, physical support that she needs. But the doula is essentially helping her to navigate that, that, labor by holding space for her. And she is, she has met with the doula. The doula intimately knows what her desires for that labor and birth are, and there is beautiful coordination where one stops and the other sort of melds in and the woman is able to access the best of all worlds when she is and she’s able to give birth.