Q: What is a freestanding birth center. Why would I choose one over a hospital?
A: A "freestanding" birth center is a birth center that is not affiliated with any hospital. It is a home like setting where safe maternity care is provided to low-risk women. In hospitals, birth is treated as a medical event. There is emphasis on efficient management of a large and complex organization, which can lead to use of interventions that are not in the best interests of the laboring woman. In the birth center, some interventions are never employed, such as:
- induction and augmentation of labor with oxytocin
- continuous electronic fetal monitoring
- epidural anesthesia
- operative delivery
In our birth center, our philosophy of care supports the birthing families' choices and desires in how they labor and give birth. Because labor and birth are considered normal events, the usual rigid protocols are not imposed on a normally laboring woman. We focus on what most often goes right with labor and avoid unnecessary intervention. As long as the mother and baby remain normal, strict timeframes for the progress of labor are not required.
Q: What is a licensed midwife?
A: Literally speaking, midwife means, "with woman." A midwife is a person who views pregnancy and birth as a healthy, normal process, and sees her role in this process as that of support, guidance and monitoring of mother and baby. In the midwifery model, the childbearing woman has the central role. Midwifery care addresses the psychological and emotion health as well as the physical health of the mother. The midwife seeks to empower the woman by helping her master the challenges of pregnancy and birth.
In Washington State, many Licensed Midwives (LM) now obtain their Masters in Midwifery at the nationally accredited Bastyr University. Prior to 2009, most midwives attended a 3 year program at Seattle Midwifery School, which then merged with Bastyr.
All licensed midwives are required to attend a minimum of 100 births prior to licensure.
Licensed Midwives assess new clients much like a physician does. We complete thorough histories and exams. We also offer all the usual laboratory testing as well as provide complete information on all prenatal screening to be sure that our clients are able to make informed decisions regarding their care. Pregnancies are consistently monitored for health and safety, and we consult or refer to a physician when a significant deviation from normal occurs. While in labor, women are also monitored very closely and early consultation is made with a physician when a deviation from normal occurs.
Q: Who can deliver at Puget Sound Birth Center?
A: Care in a birthing center caters to the healthy, low-risk mother. If you are healthy and without any chronic medical conditions such as heart disease or insulin dependent diabetes, you are most likely appropriate for a birth center delivery. You will be carefully screened on your first visit and continuously evaluated throughout your pregnancy to promote a safe and satisfying birth experience.
Q: Will my insurance cover this?
A: Most likely, YES. Licensed midwives are covered by all Washington-based insurance companies. Many out of state policies also provide coverage for midwifery services. There are, however, numerous plans within each company, so it's always best to check with our wonderful billing specialist Paula Lincoln at Midwife’s Billing Service:
Paula Lincoln, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office: (978) 289-4183
It is also worth calling Paula if you are not insured and would like some tips on the best insurance plans covering maternity care and midwives.
Q: Do you provide lactation services?
We provide first line lactation services to our clients. If you need more comprehensive lactation support, please visit our Postpartum Support page for information about our favorite lactation consultants.
Q: How long are appointment times?
Routine appointments are 30 minutes long. Consultations, your first appointment and your final postpartum visit will be 60 minutes long.
Q: Do you do water births?
A: We are frequently asked if we will do a birth in the water. Most of our clients choose to labor in the tub for at least some of the time, and about 1 in 4 give birth in the water. Some of the benefits to laboring in the water include:
- Reduced pain
- Reduced sensory stimulus, thus producing less stress-related hormones
- Decreased blood pressure
- Increased ability to focus
- Increased skin elasticity, reducing the amount of perineal tearing
- Gentler birth for baby
Q: Why should I choose Puget Sound Midwives & Birth Center over other birth centers?
A: Puget Sound Birth Center has been open since 1996. We have served over 4000 families. In addition to unprecedented local and national recognition, we enjoy a very high rate of direct word-of-mouth referral from our families – the best compliment we could get.
The Eastside's largest freestanding birth center, PSMBC is located just blocks from Evergreen Hospital. We are proud of the cooperative relationships we have developed with providers in the areas hospitals.
Our Kirkland facility is one of the only birth centers contracted with CIGNA, and is also contracted with DSHS, Exchange Plans, Regence, Aetna, First Choice, Premera, Group Health and almost all other major carriers. Contracts for our Renton facility are in progress.
Q: What are your office hours?
A: You can reach our front desk staff in Kirkland:
Monday through Thursday from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM
Fridays from 10:00 AM to 2:30PM.
Phone: (425) 823-1919
Fax: (425) 823-7037
You can reach our front desk staff in Renton:
Monday through Wednesday from 9:30am to 1:30pm
Thursdays from 9:30am to 5:30pm
Outside of the hours that the Renton front desk is staffed, your call will transfer during business hours to Kirkland.
If you call Kirkland or Renton outside of business hours you will reach our Answering Service.
Q. Is there some way I can help at the birth center?
We love our volunteers! If you’re interested in helping with general office tasks, such as putting together our new client notebooks or blank charts, please contact us.
We often have special projects that need time and resources. Please keep in touch through Facebook and/or our newsletter so you can hear about these opportunities when they arise.