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Birthing at The Atlanta Birth Center- A Homebirth Away From Home

give birth in this room at Atlanta BIrth Center

About the author: Hi, I’m Nicole DiBella, your Lawrenceville Doula. I bring to you knowledge, support, and resources as you experience this new adventure in life. I want you to believe in you as much as I do!

The Atlanta Birth Center is finally here! The doors are OPEN! Can you believe that Atlanta hasn’t had a free standing birth center in decades? The last time Atlanta celebrated the opening of a local birthing center was in January of’83! Savannah’s birth center has survived for nearly 30 years, but that’s a bit of a hike from the ATL…

Pregnant? Not feeling safe and comfortable birthing at home? Wishing you didn’t have to birth in a hospital?

The Atlanta birth center joins the 300-ish birth centers in the US. It was founded in December 2010 and is finally coming to fruition in 2016.

Atlanta Birth Center has opened it’s doors and here’s what you need to know:

  • Midwives are the primary care providers at birth center births
  • All midwives that catch babies at the Atlanta Birth Center are Certified Nurse Midwives (received a Bachelor’s in Nursing and then returned for a Masters in Midwifery)
  • All of the CNMs that will attend births at the Atlanta Birth Center are graduates of Emory School of Nursing
  • There are 3 midwives that will share call: Anjli, Erin, and Crystal
  • Using a call rotation the midwife team plans to care for <30 births per month

How having a baby in a birth center is different…

  • only low risk women will have the opportunity to birth in the Atlanta Birth Center (some restrictions are due to GA regulations)
  • IV pain meds (narcotics) are available – maybe Nitrous Oxide in the near future – but epidurals are not an option out of the hospital
  • to help reduce the use of pain medications the midwives encourage the support of a dedicated birth partner and the professional support of a Labor Doula
  • you are encouraged to utilize different tools and techniques to stay comfortable during labor such as: Rebozo, aromatherapy, music, hypnobirth techniques, acupressure, hydrotherapy
  • there will be 3 birth rooms with portable, inflatable pools to be used for labor and birth
  • postpartum discharge occurs within 6-12 hours
  • the midwives will visit you at home (or nearby hotel) around 24-72 hours

Is your pregnancy ideal for a birth center birth?

Low risk pregnancies are ideal for an out of hospital birth. The midwives accept low risk healthy pregnancies, along with pregnancies that have risk factors but are being closely monitored.

Circumstances that are contraindications for a birth center birth include (not an exhaustive list): multiples (twins, etc…), VBAC, placenta previa, blood pressure issues, and breech presentations. Pregnancies that occur after 36 years of age (if a first birth), or before 16 years of age.

How does the birth center handle cases of a birth emergency?

If there is an emergency, there is backup plan in place to ensure the care you need. Emergency care is ~1% which means that most cases in need of transfer non-emergent (augmentation such as pitocin/ pain relief such as epidural). A close working relationship has been cultivated with supportive OBs and these hospital transfers are seamless and respectful. Transfers are accepted at Emory University Hospital Midtown (esp. NICU) or Atlanta Medical Center. In the case of Cesarean Birth a Family Centered Cesarean will be offered at either hospital.

Birth Center Cost and Payment Options

  • Insurance coverage will be available in 2017, with plans to include Medicaid, but until then all care is self pay with payment plans available
  • The total cost of care for a birth at the Atlanta Birth Center is $5000. Compare to Georgia home birth ~$3500 vs. hospital birth ~3-4x higher
  • There will be a billing specialist to help you navigate possible reimbursement for using a CNM, GAP insurance if Savannah is in network, or filing out of network until insurance is accepted directly

Interested in the Atlanta Birth Center?

Attend a Meet the Midwives event to get to know the team at the Atlanta Birth Center if you still have questions. You might even see me there. I am so excited to attend births with the amazing team at this dream-come-true facility… Maybe one will be your birth!

Atlanta Birth Center // 1 Baltimore Place NW, Atlanta, GA
Emory University Hospital Midtown //  550 Peachtree St, Atlanta, GA 30308
Atlanta Medical Center // 303 Parkway Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30312

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