Sunday, November 4, 2012

What is the Difference Between a Birth Center and Birth Suite and a Home Birth in Utah?

I get asked this question all the time 
"What is the difference between a home birth and birth suite or birth center birth?"
First we need to look at the difference between a birth center and birth suite.

What is a birth center in Utah?
A birth center in Utah is almost always staffed by Certified Nurse Midwives. The birth center must be in near proximity to a hospital. It needs to be constructed adequately to provide emergency service (rolling beds etc.) to move through out it. They are required by law to mandate certain laboratory tests for both mother and baby and must carry liability insurance as well as malpractice insurance which is where a large amount of your birth fee goes. All nursing services provided at the center must be done by licensed nurses. There can be up to five birthing rooms at a birth center. There are restrictions on what pregnant women may birth in a birth center example: no twins. Epidural anesthesia or cesarean births are not performed at a birth center. Here is a list of birth center laws for Utah. There is only one free standing birth center in Utah and it is located in Salt Lake City. Because of all of the additional fees and laws many birth centers do not stay in business for long. The average length of stay after a birth at a birth center is 4-8 hours.

What is a birth suite in Utah?
A birth suite it essentially a designated birth space for an out of hospital birth. All of the same equipment that your midwife offers at a homebirth is also available for those who want to birth in a birth suite. There is no difference in equipment offered. There may only be one birthing room in a birthing suite. Midwives and clients may determine their own qualifications for birthing at a birthing suite so depending on your midwife that may include birthing twins, breeches, etc. Birth suites are not required to be with in a prescribed distance from a hospital. Any type of Utah midwife, Traditional, Direct Entry, CPM, Licensed or CNM, can work at a birth suite. Some medical options may be available depending on your midwifes legal stance such as I.V. therapy, antibiotics in labor, and pitocin for postpartum hemorrhage. No epidural anesthesia or cesarean births are performed at a birth suite.The average length of stay after a birth suite birth is 4-8 hours.

Why would someone want to birth at a birth suite (birth center birth is not an option in Southern Utah)?

Some people are uncomfortable at the thought of birthing in their homes. They may be living in a space that in noncondusive to a private birth such as living with relatives or worry about sound traveling through apartment walls. They may have a belief that birth is safer out of the home. They may have family and friends who are less concerned about a birth suite/center birth than a home birth. They may have a young family and want some time alone with the baby after the birth before returning  to regular child care.

I provide birth suite care at two different facilities one birth suite in St. George Utah and the other birth suite in Cedar City Utah. I am a private independant contractor with permission to use the facility for an additional facility fee. If you feel like a birth suite birth might fit your families needs give me a call at -435-215-6514 or email me at

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