A pregnant person holds their belly.

Congratulations — you’re expecting a baby! Now comes one of the major decisions in your pregnancy: Choosing a birthing center. Here are some important things to keep in mind (and questions to ask) to help you find a birthing center that’s perfect for you and your growing family.

How Far Away Is the Birthing Center?

Let’s face it — no matter how terrific the facility, you might not want to drive several hours to get there when you’re in labor. (And until you’re in labor, you don’t know how fast and hard your contractions will come.) When choosing a birthing center, look for easy access, flexible hours for appointments, and family-centered policies.

For nearly 100 years, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital has been one of the best birthing centers in Pennsylvania. With its central location, UPMC Magee also is one of the most convenient.

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Choosing a Birthing Center: What Care Options Are Available?

There are many different birth options available, and many types of trained caregivers, like doulas and lactation consultants. Look for a range of care when choosing a birthing center.

Birthing centers in Pennsylvania offer choices that range from a “traditional” hospital birth overseen by nurses and obstetricians, to midwife delivery that focuses on the woman’s individual needs. Innovative birthing options, such as hydrotherapy and birthing balls, have become more popular in recent years.

Tour several facilities before choosing a birthing center, and start to develop a birth plan. Even if you opt for a midwife birth, it’s best to have medical backup nearby in case of complications. And keep an open mind. Once you learn more about the various options, you may change your mind completely about the type of birth experience you want.

Learn more about the care options at the Womancare Birth Center at UPMC Magee.

What Is the Expertise of the Staff?

Most deliveries progress smoothly. But you’ll feel reassured knowing that your labor and delivery team can handle complications if they arise. If you choose a midwife delivery, find a birthing center with a team of certified nurse midwives. These are board-certified, independent health care practitioners who focus on the needs of women giving birth and collaborate with doctors. Once your baby is born, your support team also should include lactation consultants and neonatal specialists.

Can I Have Input in My Birth Plan?

One question to ask when choosing a birthing center is how much personal choice you’ll have in the process. Labor and delivery can involve different levels of medical intervention. Some women want a range of pain-relief options, while others prefer a more natural experience.

As you research and tour birthing centers in Pennsylvania, ask the following questions:

  • Who is allowed in the room during labor and delivery?
  • What am I allowed to bring with me into labor and delivery? Can I bring my own music, photos, or other comforting items from home?
  • Will I be hooked up to intervenous fluids or a monitor?
  • Can I walk around during labor?
  • Will I labor and deliver in the same room?
  • Can I eat and drink after going into labor?
  • Will my baby room with me or go back to the nursery at night?

You’ll find many more resources for new and expectant mothers at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. Call us at 1-866-MyMagee (696-2433).

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For Journals and Media sources:National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases. Enterovirus D68. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Link

For News sources:Dr. Amesh Adalja. A Back to School Victim-Finding Spree for Enterovirus 68. Tracking Zebra. Link

About UPMC Magee-Womens

Built upon our flagship, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, and its century-plus history of providing high-quality medical care for people at all stages of life, UPMC Magee-Womens is nationally renowned for its outstanding care for women and their families.

Our Magee-Womens network – from women’s imaging centers and specialty care to outpatient and hospital-based services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania, so the help you need is always close to home. More than 25,000 babies are born at our network hospitals each year, with 10,000 of those babies born at UPMC Magee in Pittsburgh, home to one of the largest NICUs in the country. The Department of Health and Human Services recognizes Magee in Pittsburgh as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health; U.S. News & World Report ranks Magee nationally in gynecology. The Magee-Womens Research Institute was the first and is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology, with locations in Pittsburgh and Erie.