Out of the hospital: childbirth in a new setting

Turning a hospital on its head could start with childbirth. The New York Times explores the benefits of birth centers for women with low risk pregnancies who want the comfort of a home birth in a setting with medical professionals and plans for emergency care when required. For the right person, birth centers can be a big win. Only in American, where hospitals dominate the healthcare system, is a birth center considered a special breakthrough. A birth center uses lower cost professionals - midwives rather than physicians - in a less expensive setting, and focuses on the experience by emphasizing “personal attention and familiarity, including longer prenatal visits and continuous support from a midwife through labor.” As a result, the cost of delivery in these free standing centers is about half the cost of a delivery in a hospital, and the rate of caesarean section is about 6 percent, compared to 26 percent of similar low risk pregnancies. Of course the legacy providers will sow uncertainty by bringing up safety and quality. Studies in Europe and the US conclude that birth centers are safe and equal to hospitals in results for appropriate low risk pregnancies and this article provides further guidance on selecting the right center. Focusing on the customer, developing a unique experience, providing safety and cost data - seems like a winning formula.

Read: Should You Give Birth at a Birth Center?

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