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- Birth centers, recent and still not widespread
- Birthing in a birth center: for whom?
- How does a birth happen in a birth center?
Birth centers, recent and still not widespread
Unlike some of our European neighbors, such as Germany, which has around a hundred birth centers in place since 1987, France is slightly behind in this type of structure. In fact, the experimentation with birth centers was only authorized by law in December 2013, and it took two additional years for the first establishments to see the light of day. Only 9 structures currently exist in France.
The birth centers are managed by private midwives. Here, no doctor, no anesthesiologist, no pediatrician, but the birth centers are all located near a partner hospital, ready to take care of you in a few minutes if necessary. You will also have to, a few weeks before the due date, register at the maternity ward and meet the anesthetist as for any birth.
Birthing in a birth center: for whom?
This type of delivery is aimed at pregnant women who do not want an overly medicalized delivery, and who want to bring a little more human and naturalness into the birth. The usual maternity structures, in hospitals or clinics, are often quite impersonal: you change people at each appointment, you don't know which gynecologist or which midwives will be present on the big day...
Some women consider that giving birth in a hospital, maternity ward or clinic does not offer enough options: it is true that the lying position is, in general, preferred, the woman does not always have the freedom of its movements even if there are some alternative options, some women aspire to more freedom. These pre-defined rules do not correspond to the birth plans of certain mothers, who want to detach themselves from the framework of maternity to give birth in a more zen and more friendly atmosphere – in complete safety.
In the birth center, you are followed by a reference midwife from the start of the pregnancy until postpartum : you benefit from comprehensive support from A to Z, within a team that you know well, and who will respect your birth plan.
Childbirth in a birth center is aimed at women who want to give life physiologically, that is to say without an epidural. In fact, birth centers do not have an anesthesiologist on site. During preparation for birth, the emphasis will be placed on gentle practices and methods to help you manage pain and better understand contractions : massage, relaxation, hypnosis, pre-natal singing, yoga, etc. A quick aside: if you are a fan of natural products, consider our treatments (anti-stretch mark creams and oils ) to pamper your body during these nine months. Their formulas are guaranteed to be free of harmful ingredients for mom and baby!
Because the entire delivery is managed by midwives, your pregnancy must of course not present any particular complications, which could require emergency hospitalization. A low-risk pregnancy is a sine qua non condition for giving birth in a birth center.
Among the required criteria, we can cite:
- no multiple births: you must expect only one baby,
- the child must be well placed, head down,
- the mother-to-be must not have previously had a cesarean section,
- she must not present any particular pathologies, such as gestational diabetes, signs of pre-eclampsia, or an infection,
- the pregnancy is full term (and not beyond), and the contractions have started spontaneously,
- the labor is progressing well and is well tolerated by the mother and the baby (no fetal distress, no stopping of the dilation of the cervix, etc.).
In the event of complications or risks detected during your pregnancy monitoring or during childbirth, you will be transferred to the maternity ward for your health and that of the child. This concerns 15% to 20% of births each year.
Good to know: some maternity wards now have physiological rooms, a hybrid solution which allows you to give birth in a less medical way while remaining in the reassuring setting of the hospital.
How does a birth happen in a birth center?
On the day of delivery, you will be looked after by the midwife(s) who followed you throughout your pregnancy. You have a single point of contact for the pre-natal period, preparation for childbirth, birth, baby's first care and the post-natal period. The team acts in accordance with the wishes of future parents. You manage your time in the delivery room with the dad as you see fit, and the midwife, who only takes care of one couple at a time, is always available for you.
The delivery room does not look like a hospital room, but rather like a classic room, with a much more cozy atmosphere. You have a bed, a bathtub, a vine to hang on and relieve pain, a ball to do some exercises and relax... You can dim the lights, and put on music if you want.
If the fetal heart rate is regularly monitored, you are not permanently strapped to a monitor that hinders your movements. Likewise, you do not have an IV, no hormone injection, and the water bag will not be artificially pierced. We let nature do things!
Birth centers do not provide accommodation for young mothers and their newborns. The return home is done quickly, a few hours after the birth , but you benefit from personalized follow-up since your representative will visit you at home to carry out the baby's first examinations and support you in setting up breastfeeding. , care etc.
You will have understood, giving birth to a child in a birth center means opting for different support, with a team of midwives dedicated to young parents, to move away from the formal and medicalized side of traditional maternity wards. . All of course, in complete safety, since the care and monitoring is carried out by experienced midwives, who work in collaboration with the nearest health establishment.
Good news for women who are considering a physiological birth in a birth center: the experimentation with this system over the last five years seems to have borne fruit, and new establishments should see the light of day this year in France!
Photo credit: Mélissa Allard (Pinterest), @magicmaman (Pinterest)