Frequently Asked Questions

Is natural childbirth in a freestanding birth center or at home safe?

The simple answer is:  Yes, for women with low risk pregnancies and with a trained, experienced midwife.  

Birth outside of a hospital gives a woman the opportunity to let labor unfold naturally, with less interventions, with freedom of movement or in a deep tub of warm water.  Her midwife will monitor her labor, check her vitals and her baby's heart rate to be sure all is going normally.  Her midwife will give her suggestions and help for her comfort or to help her labor.  When a woman chooses a midwife who also works in an accredited birthing center she can be assured the midwife is following National Standards for everything from monitoring mom and baby, sterilizing her instruments, storing medications correctly, etc.

For more information about safety, please check out these links to get started:

Home Birth with Midwife as Safe as Hospital Birth: Study 

National Birth Center Study II

New Study Confirms Safety of Home Birth with Midwives in the U.S.

Can I go to the hospital if something goes wrong?

Yes of course. Each client fills out an Individual Emergency Transfer Plan, which outlines what steps we would take in an emergency.  Additionally, you can choose to change your birth plan at any time.

Is waterbirth safe?

Yes, the baby grows and lives in a bag of water inside of you. When the baby is born and her face is exposed to room air the baby is stimulated to take her first breath.  Water birth makes for a gentle birth for both mama and baby.

What is a CPM? What is a LDM?

CPM stands for 'Certified Professional Midwife' and is a North American midwife certification for midwives trained specifically in Out-of-Hospital births.  

LDM stands for 'Licensed Direct-Entry Midwife' and is the term used by the state of Oregon for licensed midwives.  Licensure is now required in Oregon.  Oregon requires a midwife be a CPM before she may be licensed.

What makes us unique?

Growing Family Birth Center offers midwifery care. We were the first birth center in the Mid-Valley, opening in April 2011. We offer individualized care, woman-led, family centered to each client. We care for women and respect their choices for their birth. We strive to be more than just your care provider ~ we purpose to be informative, supportive, encouraging, and most importantly to listen to women.  At Growing Family Birth Center we challenge women and their families to be informed, every step of the way, so you are able to make decisions about your birth and beyond that is best for you and your family. 

We also are the only accredited birth center in this area and we are held to much higher standards than other birth centers in the area to ensure the safety of mom and baby in both the home and birth center settings. 

What is a freestanding birth center?

A freestanding birth center is a facility not affiliated with a hospital and not part of a hospital. The Midwives may be Licensed Midwives or Certified Nurse Midwives. At this time Growing Family has Licensed Midwives that provide maternity services. 

What is the Difference between a freestanding birth center and a hospital birth center?

Understandably, there is a lot of confusion surrounding what a birth center actually is and the services they provide. This is mainly due to the misuse in marketing by hospitals not only in our area, but across the country. 

Federal regulations define a freestanding birth center as:

(B) The term “freestanding birth center” means a health facility –

(i) that is not a hospital;

(ii) where childbirth is planned to occur away from the pregnant woman’s residence;

(iii) that is licensed or otherwise approved by the State to provide prenatal, labor and delivery or postpartum care and other ambulatory services that are included in the plan; and

(iv) that complies with such other requirements relating to the health and safety of individuals furnished services by the facility as the State shall establish.

                          -United States Government. Social Security Act. 42 USC § 1396a(a)(10)(A)

Oregon defines a freestanding birth center as:

Free Standing Birth Center" ("Birthing Center" or "Center") means any health care facility (HCF), licensed for the primary purpose of performing low risk deliveries that is not a hospital, or in a hospital, and where births are planned to occur away from the mother's usual residence following normal, uncomplicated pregnancy.

There is also a significant difference in the care that is provided. Hospital maternity wards typically utilize a medical model and provides care to mothers during pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum for all levels of risk. A freestanding birth center utilize the midwifery wellness care model and provide care during pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum to low-risk mothers.

Do midwives carry medications?

Yes, Licensed Midwives may carry lifesaving medications as well as oxygen.

What if I tear during the delivery, can the midwife do stitches?

Yes, Licensed Midwives carry the necessary supplies and medications to do stitches. 

How soon after giving birth at the birth center can my baby and I go home?

Each person is cared for on an individual basis. Most women stay 6 to 18 hours after giving birth. Depending on your insurance coverage or you personal wants and needs, your stay could be more or less, up to 48 hours postpartum. 

How do I know if my insurance will cover your services?

Just call our office on Tuesday or Thursday to speak with Amy, our billing manager.  She will ask you a few questions and let you know if your insurance will cover our services. (541) 259-2500. 

Is there a difference in cost between a hospital birth, a birth at home or a birth at a birth center?

Yes, there is a significant difference. Generally, the costs of a Birth Center birth are about half of what you would pay for a OBGYN and hospital fees. A home birth is even less because there is no facility fee.

Do you have payment options?

It is our desire to work with families to help you have the birth you desire.  Each family's situation is unique and dependent upon your insurance coverage.  We will help you work out a payment plan suitable to your needs. There are discounts available for timely payments for non-insured clients. Please call Amy in our Billing Department for more information. 

Why choose a midwife?

Giving birth is a very special experience, and a midwife respects that experience. She also respects a woman's option to choose, and makes it a goal to create a birthing team with the parents. A midwife cares enough to take the time to explain and will always go out of her way to make sure her client is getting the best care available. 

May I interview other Midwives before I decide?

Yes, please do. Midwives care about women and birth. Each midwife is unique, just like each client is unique. Since the Midwife you choose will be with you for your entire journey to and after birth, it is important you feel comfortable and trust her. At Growing Family Birth Center, we offer a free tour and consultation. We welcome your questions!

What happens at my first visit?

After you have decided that Growing Family Birth Center is a good fit for you, we will schedule your initial appointment.  We will send you a link to fill out your health history in our Electronic Health Records (EHR) program before your appointment.   This first appointment will be 2 hours long.  We will review the Medical History forms you filled out on our EHR, and will go over required paperwork, give you a ton of helpful information about your pregnancy, do a basic physical and lab work along with your first prenatal visit including hearing your baby's heartbeat (unless it is too early).

What tests are required?

We do not "require" tests, rather we let you know what tests are standard and explain why they are done. We offer all standard testing prenatal testing you would be offered at a doctor's office. Conveniently, most lab work can be done in our office. We do not have an ultrasound machine at our center, however ultrasounds can be ordered as needed at a location that is convenient for you.  

The exception to "required" testing is now Oregon Health Plan requires certain tests in pregnancy or they may not cover your birth.