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 Hospital

For more than a century, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital has provided high-quality medical care to women at all stages of life. UPMC Magee is long-renowned for its services to women and babies but also offers a wide range of care to men as well. Our patient-first approach ensures you and your loved ones get the care you need. Nearly 10,000 babies are born each year at Magee, and our NICU is one of the largest in the country. Our network of care – from imaging centers to hospital services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland, giving you a chance to get the expert care you need close to home. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognizes UPMC Magee as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, and the Magee-Womens Research Institute is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology.