# min read

Birth center vs hospital: What is right for you?

Published on
February 18, 2023

How to choose between a birth center vs. hospital

More than ever, out-of-hospital (OOH) births are in the spotlight.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, women want a better birth experience. In addition, many women want to avoid unnecessary interventions and don’t want to feel pressured to speed things up during the birth process.

With induction and augmentations seen as routine and cesarean sections on the rise, women feel less empowered than ever. They want more than the hospital setting offers and more personalized maternity care than generally offered at a standard medical facility.

Giving birth is a highly personal process. A woman feels vulnerable, exposed, and often not heard. So many women report feeling bullied, even by female obstetricians and nurses, as if their wishes didn’t matter.

Due to so many women feeling that they had no control over the birth experience, women are going back to their roots and choosing to Call the Midwife. The desire for kind, compassionate midwifery care is rising in America. Community midwives specialize in home birth, and for many families, that is the right choice.

They have had a healthy, low-risk pregnancy and seek the warmth and comfort of their home, in the warmth and comfort of their environment, with the support of their partner, family, friends, and perhaps their doula.

But home birth isn’t for everyone. That’s where Birth Centers come in. It’s not a home birth, not a hospital birth, but an excellent combination of the two, taking the best each has to offer and creating a safe, welcoming space for parents to meet their baby.

How is a birth center different from a hospital?

This is the most often asked question at A Family Affair Birth Center! The atmosphere of a birth center is entirely different from a hospital. At A Family Affair Birth Center, you will feel as if you are in a private wing of a boutique hotel, not a busy hospital facility. From serene private terraces, deep soaking tubs with showers, and even the ability to birth under the stars on a warm summer night. It’s an experience unlike any other.

A woman's body instinctively moves during labor as she and her baby freely work together in this beautiful process

At A Family Affair Birth Center, our families feel right at home. They enjoy their favorite aromatherapy, essential oils, and music at our birth center, as well as adjustable ambient lighting, a big comfortable bed, and plenty of pillows.  Of course, women want the freedom to eat and drink and want to have their favorite snacks available to keep their energy up. Labor is work, and ice chips can only go so far!  And while we keep a close ear on the baby with regular doppler assessments, no mom is stuck in bed and hooked up to a fetal monitor, as this is not the way a normal physiological birth happens.

A woman's body instinctively moves during labor as she and her baby freely work together in this beautiful process.  To encourage the birthing process to unfold with as few interruptions as possible, our team of midwives offers assistance with comfort measures when needed, holding space and time, all the while monitoring the safety and well-being of both mom and baby.

Excellent care provided by licensed Midwives.

All midwives with admitting privileges are licensed midwives, licensed by the Medical Board of California. Should a medical emergency arise (which is incredibly rare), our licensed midwives are fully trained and prepared to recognize it and take appropriate action as needed.

At A Family Affair Birth & Pregnancy Care Center, we fully support a woman's choice and embrace the technology and expertise of hospitals and doctors.  When needed, an obstetrician is the greatest gift a woman can have. We love OBs and  Perinatologists, and collaborate with them often.  But normal healthy pregnancies do not typically need to be medically managed, and labors don't have to be medically managed in a hospital. Midwives are seen as the go-to for most women worldwide as the safe, primary maternity care providers.

In the US, some see midwives as an alternative, perhaps even old-school birth attendant, but in California,  midwives are held to a very high standard, and are licensed by the Medical Board of California.

Each woman receives quality individualized health care and is an integral part of the decision-making process. From prenatal appointments to labor and delivery and into the postpartum period, our team of midwives, childbirth educators, and lactation consultants is on hand to provide personalized support.

We believe in continuity of care and have developed a professional team to help address any concerns or questions you may have and provide encouragement along the way. In addition, our midwives will perform your immediate post-birth visits in the comfort of your home to ensure you and your baby are doing well without the inconvenience of having to come to us.

So as you prepare for the birth of your new baby, consider whether a birthing center birth is right for you. So many options are available, from home births to hospital births to a birth center experience. It’s your birth, and it’s your choice.

You can trust our dedicated team if you choose to welcome your new baby with us. From the caring prenatal appointments to the follow-up postpartum appointments held in the privacy of your own home, we will be with you all the way

So, what do you think? Is a Birth Center birth right for you?

Book a tour & check insurance benefits!

Coronavirus (Covid 19), RSV, Flu, other illnesses Update:

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, A Family Affair Birth Center is still open on a reduced occupancy basis for births and classes.

In contrast to a hospital, we are a low-volume healthcare center and rarely have more than one family here at a time, and plan to keep it that way for the time being.

We are taking the current Flu/RSV/Covid situation seriously and will continue to go above and beyond standard procedures and protocols to disinfect and maintain the safest birthing center possible.

We understand the need for our clients to have their special support persons  in labor and will never ask a client to pick between their partner and their doula.

Compassionate, personalized care.

Is Insurance Accepted?

We understand that navigating the insurance process can be uncomfortable and stressful. Therefore, we work with STM Billing, a 3rd party billing company, to help our families with the process. They can run a, to help our families with the process.  STM can run a Verification of Benefit and get the coverage details of your healthcare plan.

This service involves an 8- 10% fee for the 3rd party billing company, based on the reimbursement they help negotiate on your behalf. This is their profession and they know how to help find every reimbursable dollar, working on your behalf. However, some families want to handle their own claims, and we can offer a Superbill at the end of care to help facilitate any reimbursement they may offer.

Please note, however, that this is not a guarantee that you will qualify for an out-of-hospital birth. While your insurance may approve the coverage, only your midwives can designate that you qualify for an out of hospital birth, based on your health, baby's health and all factors considered under our standard criteria for care.

Frequently asked questions

There are several benefits to choosing a birth center over a hospital for childbirth, including a more relaxed and homelike atmosphere, less interventions such as medical procedures, and continuous one-on-one care from a midwife. Birth centers also typically have a lower rate of cesarean sections and other medical interventions. Additionally, birth centers often offer a more personalized birth experience, with families having more control over the environment and the birth process.

Yes, you can still have a natural birth at a hospital. Many hospitals offer various options for natural childbirth, such as using a birth ball, changing positions frequently, and using hydrotherapy. Additionally, hospitals may have midwives or doctors who are trained in natural childbirth and can support you in having a natural birth. It's important to communicate your birth plan with your care provider and make sure they are supportive of your wishes.

The safety of birth centers varies depending on the specific center and the training and qualifications of the midwives and staff. It's important to thoroughly research the birth center you are considering and ask questions about their safety policies and procedures. Additionally, it's important to have a thorough prenatal care plan in place and to have regular check-ups with a midwife or doctor to ensure the health of you and your baby. It's always best to consult with your care provider to determine if a birth center is the right choice for you.

Contact us today

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Patient testimonials

" Every midwife was perfect in their own way and the birthcenter itself so beautiful. The last thing I'll mention is that if anything were to go wrong, hopefully never, Palomar Pomerado hospital is literally right across the street from this birth center. "
testimonial from jennifer

Jennifer A.

"As a Doula I love when my clients choose to use A family Affair Birth Center. The midwifes are amazing. They value the birthing couple as well as the Doula."
testimonial from ginger

Ginger A.

" The feeling inside is very comfortable and home-like. I really appreciated having a bed large enough for my husband and I to lay on with our newborn after she was born. Tamara is very professional. "
testimonial from janai

Janai B.

" Tamara is an absolute angel who worked within our personal situation to allow us an amazing birth experience at her center, and we are forever indebted to her. "
testimonial from noelle

Noelle I.

" The care of the midwives and staff at A Family Affair Birth Center has been so refreshing and comforting! They spend time to get to know you and how you want to approach birth. "
alysha testimonial

Alysha S.

" I toured the Family Affair Birth Center this past weekend. What a blessing for soon-to-be and new moms! What a beautiful place to have a baby! "
margie testimonial

Margie W.

" Our family would wholeheartedly recommend this experience for anyone looking to feel in control of their birth choices "
mother is holding pregnant tummy


" Instead of a quick appointment that is just measuring belly and listening to heartbeat they take the time to listen to you and help you have the best pregnancy possible. "
black and white photo of mother and baby