A question that comes up a lot in Vancouver’s birth community is whether or not we should be advocating for a birth centre. My home town of Edmonton has a birth centre, and Ontario has just announced that they will be opening one as well. Many people are surprised to hear me say I’d prefer to dedicate time, money and resources to other things. Why is this?
Because I think we should dedicate money and resources to educating about home birth. I know a lot of people think birth centres are a happy medium, but I would much rather see people get educated about home birth so they understand how safe it is, and be able to find the proper support for a home birth, and to take advantage of our hospitals only if there is a true need for our expert medical staff working in hospitals. I think the mental stress of deciding when to GO somewhere, travelling to that place is half the problem with the birth experience.
I think birth centres are a great business idea, because they appeal to people who like the idea of home birth but aren’t ready to birth at home or don’t know how to find the right support for it. But truthfully, I think home birth is where it’s at from a best-birth-experience perspective.
Some people get overwhelmed with the idea of having to clean up from a home birth but the answer to that is simple: choose a birth team that knows their job is to support you with any of the “work” associated with a home birth.
I ALWAYS do postpartum clean-up for my clients… even if for some reason there is a hospital transfer, I drag my exhausted doula butt over to the family’s home so they have a nice clean home to go back to. I was just saying at last night’s free prenatal group how important it is while interviewing support people for your birth to ask if they help with post-birth clean up. I know some birth professionals see this as ‘not their job’ but I see it DEFINITELY my job. I want my clients to focus on their birth and their new baby, not clean-up tasks!
I think options are great, and I wouldn’t STOP anyone from opening up a birth centre here in Vancouver, but my personal hope is a shift in our birth culture towards one that trust birth and supports more families in birthing safely at home. What do you think about birth centres? Please comment below.