Are Birth Centers Safe?

Many studies have been done to either support or question the safety of midwifery. In some cases, they make out of hospital birth look unsafe, but include un-attended and accidental home births, which clearly donʼt show midwife-attended birth statistics. Many of those studies also use very little information, for instance a couple of boxes from a birth certificate, to “prove” their theory. In 2000, a group of researchers began a study referred to as CPM 2000. It is the largest prospective study of planned out of hospital births to date. The study is still going on, and will be for many years, but there is already some published data from it. Thus far, the research team of CPM 2000 have concluded that “Planned home birth for low risk women in North America using certified professional midwives was associated with lower rates of medical intervention but similar intrapartum and neonatal mortality to that of low risk hospital births in the United States.” (Find more info about this in the British Journal of Medicine, June, 2005.) In response to this data, the Midwives Alliance of North America also pointed out the following:

“This study provides irrefutable evidence in support of the American Public Health Association’s resolution (2001) to increase access to out-of- hospital births attended by direct-entry midwives. This study supports the World Health Organization’s 1996 position: “Midwives are the most appropriate primary healthcare provider to be assigned to the care of normal birth (1996).” This study supports the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) 1996 statement: “Midwives attend the vast majority of births in those industrialized countries with the best perintal outcomes.” And finally, this study supports what midwives have always asserted: that planned home birth with a trained midwife is a safe, high-quality, satisfying, cost-effective choice for healthy women and their babies that results in superior outcomes. The Midwives Alliance of North American (MANA) recommends making midwifery care the gold standard in maternity care in North America.”

There are risks inherent in birth. Giving birth out of the hospital can increase risk if there is a need for a quick cesarean. Giving birth out of the hospital can also decrease the risks that come along with interventions. For instance, a labor induction can cause an increase in need for cesarean section, or breaking a womanʼs water can cause an increase in the chance of infection. The midwives of Bella Vie believe that in most cases, the best course of action to take is to wait, watching closely for possible risks, but also having the conviction that birth is a generally safe process, and womenʼs bodies are designed to birth their babies. If complications do arise, we transport to the nearest level-three hospital, for physician supported care. In our case, the closest one is the Salem Hospital. Our experience with their care has been exceptional, and our clients have been welcomed and honored. Our policy is to have one or two of a client’s birth team to be with them at the hospital, acting as a support person. Ultimately, we encourage you to research your options for birth, and to make the decision from not only information, but also what feels right for you, in the deepest level. Please schedule a free, one-hour consultation to tour Bella Vie, meet with one of our midwives, and ask any questions you may have.

What is a Birth Center?

Bella Vie is what is known as a Free-Standing Birth Center.  It is run by the midwives who work there and not by a hospital.  We consult with doctors when necessary, but we are not subject to hospital policy.  We are licensed by the state of Oregon and follow all Oregon State requirements for free-standing licensed birth centers. A birth center houses prenatal and postpartum care, as well as being a place where women and their families come to give birth in a safe, private, beautiful space.

Who Uses Birth Centers?

  • Women who believe in their innate ability to birth
  • Women who want their pregnancy to be treated as a normal part of life rather than a medical problem
  • Families who want more autonomy in birth choice
  • Women who want a relationship with their midwives
  • Large families who like togetherness, with room to spread out
  • Small families or couples who want privacy and quiet
  • Women who value respect for their individual and communal beliefs and belief systems, no matter where in the religious or political sphere they fall
  • Families who enjoy personal, individualized attention and care

Why Choose a Midwife?

Traditionally, midwives were those among the community who were experts on normal childbirth. Until relatively recently, midwives were the only attendants at childbirth. They passed their own wisdom down through the apprenticeship model and viewed births as sacred. As science has progressed and we have more knowledge about how our bodies works, midwives have been tasked with learning updated methods, balanced with keeping that ancient wisdom intact. The midwives at Bella Vie agree with this new inspiration for an age-old tradition. Typically, women who choose to have their baby at Bella Vie value this approach to childbearing. They are looking for providers that see pregnancy and birth as normal and natural. Women who choose midwives choose to believe in their own bodies’ power to give birth.