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Can I just use the birth center for my birth?

The Birthing Place is not a hotel where women have babies. This is one aspect of the birth center that distinguishes us from a hospital, which is a foreign environment to the childbearing woman and her loved ones. When a pregnant woman wants to give birth at the Center, we provide her prenatal, birth and postpartum care, including childbirth education, newborn exams, breastfeeding support, etc. An important part of midwifery care is the relationship between the midwife and the birthing family, so we will require that women be in our care from at least 32 weeks to birth. Care from an additional doctor or midwife is not necessary.

What will a birth at Birth and Wellness Center be like?

When a woman decides it is time to come to the birth center, she will be welcomed by a care provider that is well known to her, who will evaluate her and help her get settled in. Women will wear whatever clothes they are comfortable in. A kitchen will be available for the mother and her loved ones to eat and drink as they wish. Each birthing room will have a Jacuzzi tub for waterbirth or simply for the mother’s comfort. The well-being of the mother and baby will be monitored by the midwife and a birth assistant. The midwife will be constantly available for encouragement and ideas for helping the birth progress smoothly. As the time of birth nears, the mother will be encouraged to use whatever positions or techniques she desires to give her energy and strength for the birth. The pushing phase of labor will be as gentle and quiet as the mother prefers. Throughout the process, the people whom the mother has chosen as her support, including children if she wishes, will be present with her. The father of the baby or other support people are encouraged to be intimately involved in the entire birth, and “catching” the baby can be done by the person of the mother’s choosing. Once the baby is born, he or she will be placed immediately into the mother’s arms, and bonding and breastfeeding will be encouraged. All newborn procedures such as the newborn exam will be done in the mother’s arms or at her side, when she is ready. After mom has had a chance to eat and refresh herself, usually about 4-6 hours after the birth, the new family will go home, where mom and baby can rest and get to know each other in their own surroundings.

I know most pregnancies and births are normal and healthy, but what if there is a problem?

Birth and Wellness Center will function within the larger medical community, and will have a collaborative agreement with a physician. If a woman develops complications during her pregnancy that are outside the scope of CNM care, she will be referred to this physician. This does not always mean she cannot give birth at the birth center or continue to see her midwife.

In the unlikely event of an emergency during birth, the staff at the Birth and Wellness Center is highly qualified to provide emergency care associated with labor and birth. Medications and oxygen will be on hand for stabilization and treatment. To facilitate timely and smooth transfer when needed, the Center will be located just minutes from the hospital. In addition, the Birth and Wellness Center will have an agreement with the local ambulance company for immediate transport. Our collaborating physician will continue to care for the mother and baby at the hospital as private patients, not "walk-ins".

What do I get with my prenatal care?

The midwives at Birth and Wellness Center provide comprehensive prenatal care, and each appointment includes education, physical assessments and plenty of time for questions, stories and just getting to know each other. We draw all labs at the birth center and will make referrals for ultrasounds or other testing as needed.

What kind of classes do you offer?

Education is an integral part of the midwifery model of care. For first time parents, or those giving birth outside of the hospital for the first time, prenatal classes will be offered at no extra charge for our clients. We will also offer classes/support groups for breastfeeding. As our practice grows, we plan to offer prenatal yoga, baby massage, and other educational opportunities.

What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife?

A CNM is trained and certified in the sister disciplines of nursing and midwifery. She is prepared at the Master’s Degree level, certified by national standards and examination, and licensed by the state. A CNM provides comprehensive care in all aspects of women's health including adolescent care and counseling, prenatal care, attendance at birth, postpartum care, family planning, screening and treatment of routine gynecological problems, wellness exams and counseling including nutrition, as well as perimenopausal and postmenopausal care.

Are there standards or regulations for birth centers?

Yes. The American Association of Birth Centers, as well as the American Public Health Association, has published standards for birth centers. Birth centers can be certified on the national level by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers, and are licensed by the state of Missouri. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, among other national medical organizations, agree that a licensed and accredited birth center is a safe place for healthy women to give birth. Birth and Wellness Center is pursuing the rigorous standards of accreditation and is on track to be accredited on our opening day.

I'm an RN, Doula, etc, can I work for you?

Birth and Wellness Center will be hiring soon! Send an email to Jessica or Genevieve telling us what kind of work you do, and a little about yourself. When we start the hiring process, we will contact you for a resume and interview. Positions to fill will include:

  • Nurses
  • Birth assistants
  • Receptionist
  • Massage therapist
  • Patient Educator
  • Housekeeping staff

How can I help?

Get the word out: Besides talking about the Birth and Wellness Center to friends and relatives, you can help us present information to the public every chance we get. You can let us know if there is a group we can talk to, including women’s clubs, church groups, etc, or health/parenting fairs in your community. Also, talk to your health care provider! If you see an OB/Gyn for women’s health, ask if they’ve heard of us and let them know how excited you are for this option in our area. Ask if they have considered collaborating with us to offer such a great service to their patients. If you see a chiropractor, massage therapist, pediatrician—anyone-- ask if they’ve heard about the birth center opening, and give them our info! We have business cards right now, and will have other marketing materials available soon.

Library: An enormous part of our service to women will be sharing information. We will have a library of educational and inspiring books and videos available for any woman to check out. We need lots of good resources! So clean off those dusty shelves and share with other women and families.

Donate: Birth and Wellness Center is committed to providing care to every woman, regardless of her ability to pay. Donating to our foundation is a way that you can help us keep this commitment. Funds are currently being collected by Friends of Missouri Birth Centers, and we will have our own local foundation in the near future.

Invest: Capital = growth potential! Years of planning have gone into Birth and Wellness Center, but the opportunity to invest in its success still exists. As a unique business in a thriving area, the potential for return on your investment is great.

Adopt a room: Furniture, decorations, and supplies are needed for exam rooms, birth rooms, a kitchen and family areas. We’d even like the bathroom to be pretty! To keep track of what we need and what has been donated, we have created a list at Target. You can go to a store or log on to Our list is under "Birth" as first name and "Center" as last name. You are welcome to purchase items elsewhere or donate gently used items, the Target list just helps us keep things organized. If you plan to donate something from the list and are not purchasing it from Target, just let us know and we'll delete it from the list. Some specific needs include:

  • Cozy robes for our clients during office visits instead of paper gowns that don’t cover much
  • Toys and books for our youngest guests
  • Dishes, silverware, teacups, etc for nourishing clients and loved ones
  • Candles, plants, and other accents to make our office warm and welcoming
  • Comfy, home-like furniture for the reception/education area and consultation rooms
  • Beds, linens, and dressers for birth rooms
  • Office supplies from paper clips to printers
  • Knit baby hats, receiving blankets, onesies
  • Birth tools like balls, birth stools, etc

Prepayment: One of the challenges of opening a birth center is that payment is generally not received until well after services have been rendered, including prenatal care, birth, and postpartum. This is called “global billing” and is the accepted method of billing for OB providers with insurance companies. This means that a birth center could be in business for a year before bringing in a significant portion of our fees. Our self-pay clients can get a great discount and help us get started by pre-paying for a birth. If you plan to give birth in the next year or two and would like to make an investment to ensure the services you want are available, you can prepay now for a 50% discount! All self-pay clients will receive a discount for full payment prior to birth, but this early prepayment will entitle families to an additional significant discount. If you are insured, you could prepay now and be reimbursed when your insurance is billed.

Partners: Another commitment that the Birth and Wellness team has made is fostering community among families and providers. Please let us know about professionals you encounter who offer services or products that are complementary to the mission and philosophy of Birth and Wellness Center.

Insurance: Call your insurance company and ask if they cover birth center birth. Many do, and we will be pursuing contracts with them. But we want everyone-including insurance companies, to be hearing the words “birth center” as often as possible! Let us know what you find out. Medicaid is required by federal law to cover midwifery care, and a bill is currently before Congress to ensure facility fees are covered by Medicaid in every state

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