Finding Your Haven. What to Look for in a Birthplace

Article by Jeanie Edgmon

Giving birth is one of the most monumental moments in the life of a family, filled with excitement, anticipation, and even some nervousness. Choosing the right birthplace can significantly impact this experience. It should be a space where you feel safe, supported, and empowered to welcome your little one into the world.
But with so many hospitals and birthing centers, navigating this decision can be overwhelming. The good news is there are some factors to help determine the ideal birthplace that aligns with your preferences.

Evidence-Based Practices: The Foundation of Quality Care
Dawn Cox, MSN, RNC-OB, Director of Perinatal Services at University Health Women’s Care The Birthplace, emphasizes the importance of evidence-based practices. She states, “All Patients need to consider whether there is expertise for high-risk care. That is peace of mind.” Look for a birthplace that prioritizes practices backed by current research, promoting a safe and optimal birth experience for both you and your baby.

Creating a Comforting Environment
While clinical expertise is paramount, the birthing environment also plays a crucial role. Inquire about amenities that contribute to a comfortable and positive experience. Are private rooms available, allowing for a more intimate setting for labor and delivery? Do they offer breastfeeding support? Additionally, consider amenities for your support person. Comfortable seating, readily available refreshments, and access to Wi-Fi can enhance their experience.

Access for Families: Welcoming Loved Ones
The birthing experience is often a family affair. Investigate the birthplace’s policies regarding support persons. How many people are allowed in the birthing room? Are there designated areas for family members to wait and rest? Furthermore, inquire about policies regarding siblings. Can they visit after the birth, or are there specific age restrictions?

Expertise of the Nursing Staff

Skilled and compassionate nurses are an invaluable asset during childbirth. Research the nursing staff’s qualifications and experience at the birthplace. Do they specialize in maternity care? What is the nurse-to-patient ratio during labor and delivery? A lower ratio translates to more personalized attention and support throughout your journey.

Tailoring Your Birth Experience

Every pregnancy is unique, and your birth preferences should be respected. Investigate the range of birth options offered by the birthplace. Do they allow for natural childbirth with minimal interventions? Is pain management readily available if needed? Can you choose to have a midwife, or an obstetrician attend your birth? Understanding the available options empowers you to make informed decisions for a birth experience that aligns with your desires.

Low-Risk to High-Risk Pregnancies

Your health and your baby’s well-being are the top concern. Consider if you have a low-risk or high-risk pregnancy. Make sure the hospital, however, is well equipped to handle high-risk pregnancies and emergencies, providing access to specialists and advanced technology.

Additional Tips

Cox also recommended these additional tips.
• Consider scheduling tours of potential birthing places. This allows you to get a firsthand feel for the environment and ask questions directly to staff members.
• Talk to friends and family members about their birth experiences. Their insights can be valuable in making your decision.
• Don’t hesitate to ask questions! The more informed you are, the more confident you’ll feel about your birthplace choice.
Choosing a birthplace is an empowering decision. By prioritizing evidence-based practices, considering offered amenities, and understanding your available options for birth attendants and pain management, you can create a birth plan that reflects your individual needs and preferences. Remember, the ideal birthplace fosters a safe, supportive, and comfortable environment, allowing you to welcome your child with confidence and joy.

About University Health Birth Centers
University Health is a two- hospital acute care health system which serves residents of Kansas City, Missouri and the communities of eastern Jackson County, Missouri. The health system is equipped for any delivery, from routine to high-risk. Their expertise in complex pregnancies, maternal-fetal medicine, and diagnostics ensures exceptional care for you and your baby. University Health Women’s Care The Birthplace offers a traditional labor and delivery model of care and a level III NICU. UH WCTB also links directly via an indoor bridge to Children’s Mercy Hospital’s Level IV NICU. University Health Women’s Care Lakewood Family Birthplace offers a true Labor-Delivery-Recovery-Postpartum (LDRP) model of care where for routine deliveries mom and baby stay in the same room throughout the birthing process and post-partum.

University Health Women’s Care The Birthplace 2301 Holmes St., Main Hospital, 6th Floor Kansas City, MO 64108

University Health Women’s Care Lakewood Family Birthplace 7900 Lee’s Summit Rd. Kansas City, MO 64139

Call 816-569-9997 for both locations