What is a free-standing birth center?

A Birth Center is a homelike facility, existing within a health care system with a program of care designed in the wellness model of pregnancy and birth. Birth centers are guided by principles of prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention, and cost effectiveness. Birth centers provide family-centered personalized care for healthy women before, during and after normal pregnancy, labor and birth. (www.birthcenters.org)

Why choose a birth center, you ask? Well, as midwives we often say, “Welcome to OUR home”. The birth center provides a way for us to support women and families in a facility that is created for the purpose of holding the space for birth. It is in such a ‘home’ that women do the hard work of labor without unnecessary intervention, in a comfortable, sacred space made for birthing; making it safe for mother and child. The birth center allows us to reach more women who may never consider a homebirth, but want a similar experience within a facility.

Our birth center is called Healing Passages Birth & Wellness Center and is the only independently owned birth center in Des Moines. We are fully accredited with the CABC, the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers. Our location brings women close to the major hospitals of the Des Moines Metro area in the event the laboring woman/new baby needs to transport or risk status changes. Iowa Methodist Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center, is a convenient 5 minutes away. Mercy Medical Center, a level II trauma center is also less than 10 min from our center. Broadlawns Medical Center, a Level III trauma center is just down the street. Ultimately, the birth center is more cost effective than the hospital for healthy women and newborns; making it affordable for families and thus more sustainable for our community.