What are the advantages of giving birth in a birthing center?

Since the dawn of time, childbirth has always taken place at home, between women. However, obstetrics has become a medical specialty, and since the 60s, the majority of births have taken place in hospitals. In the 70s, women began to make their voices heard, seeking to regain control over many areas of their lives, including childbirth. Birth centers were born.

Woman in bathtub who has just given birth
©️ breezygraphy.com

What is a birth center?

A birth center is an alternative to conventional hospitalization. Placed under the responsibility of midwives, it offers personalized, humane care for pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum period in an intimate setting. A single midwife provides comprehensive care, from start to finish.

Conditions for giving birth in a birth center?

Access to birthing centers is reserved for women who present no particular risks, whose pregnancy is progressing normally and for whom no medical interventions are anticipated during labor or delivery.

If the mother-to-be is over 41, pregnant with twins, has a medical condition such as diabetes, had a previous complicated pregnancy or had a previous caesarean delivery, she will not be able to give birth in a birth center. The same applies if, during pregnancy, there is a health risk for both mother and baby (placenta previa, pre-eclampsia, growth retardation, breech baby, premature delivery before 37 weeks' gestation or post-term delivery after 42 weeks' gestation).

Labor & Delivery

Midwives are fully qualified to monitor physiological labor. Monitoring the progress of labor during delivery is carried out according to recognized obstetrical standards and in compliance with the regulations on obstetrical and neonatal risks.

As for the medicalization of childbirth, this is reduced to a minimum: no systematic perfusion, no continuous monitoring, almost non-existent episiotomies and no epidural.

The midwife stays at the birth center for at least three hours after the baby's arrival, to monitor the baby's health and that of the mother, and to help with the first breastfeeding.

In the event of complications, the midwife is empowered to intervene. She can request a consultation with a doctor, or organize a safe and rapid transfer to hospital. In the event of a transfer, the midwife accompanies the mother and baby, and remains responsible for care until the baby is under medical care.

Medical team & Infrastructure

Our birthing rooms are designed to promote physiology: a welcoming, calm and harmonious environment, with facilities to encourage mobility during the various stages of labor, and a bath to encourage dilation and to welcome baby for those who wish to do so.

Medical equipment for care and resuscitation is stored so as to be accessible at all times, but not visible if everything is going well. Various alternatives are offered to help women cope with the labor of childbirth: massage, position changes, ambulation, music, aromatherapy, homeopathy, acupuncture, bathing...

Insurance coverage

Coverage varies from canton to canton, but normally the pre- and post-natal care provided by the midwife, as well as the stay and care during the birth, are fully covered by basic health insurance (LAMal), with no co-payments or deductibles. For more information on costs, consult your insurance company or ask directly at the birth center of your choice.

Length of stay

The purpose of a birthing center is not to keep mothers. The length of stay generally varies between 6 and 24 hours. For some mothers, it's a positive thing to be able to go home as quickly as possible, while others would prefer to be able to stay longer to rest.

Birth Plan

Don't forget to prepare a birth plan to give to the midwifery team, in which you'll indicate all your wishes for the big day. Examples: I'd like a physiological birth, without an epidural and using the self-hypnosis techniques I've learned in birth preparation classes; I'd like as much skin-to-skin contact with my baby as possible; I don't want to breastfeed; I'd like the cord to be cut as late as possible; ideally, I'd like to give birth in water etc.

In French-speaking Switzerland, there are 10 birth centers: Geneva 1, Vaud 4, Neuchâtel 1, Fribourg 1, Valais 2 and Jura 1.