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Frequently Asked Questions

Don’t see your question? Click here to email CBC midwife and founder Terri Chi Lee.

  • What’s a midwife?
    Midwives are independent care providers for expecting families. When you work with a midwife, you receive expert clinical care and support through your pregnancy, labor and birth, and postpartum period. Midwives practice according to the midwifery model of care. This means each family receives individualized care uniquely suited to their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and cultural needs. Research shows that families who work with midwives are more likely to have a positive start to breastfeeding and overall increased satisfaction with their pregnancy and birth experience (source). Additionally, studies show that midwives lower the risk of c-sections, labor induction, interventions like episiotomies, infant mortality rates, and preterm birth.
  • What is a birth center?
    Community Birth Center (CBC) in Lacey, Washington is a freestanding birth center. This means CBC is not affiliated with a hospital or obstetric practice. Clients who choose to have their baby at CBC receive comprehensive care with a licensed local midwife of their choosing. Community Birth Center offers the space and privacy some families do not have at home. Other families choose a birth center because of its proximity to the hospital should complications arise. For many families, a birth center can offer the best of both worlds: the comfort and low-intervention of home with the professionalism of the hospital. Because community midwifery is care for people experiencing normal, low-risk pregnancies, the scope of care provided at freestanding birth centers is smaller than what hospital “birthing centers” can offer. For example, CBC does not offer epidural anesthesia. Instead, our midwives rely on the non-pharmacological pain management used effectively for centuries, like massage, water immersion, freedom of movement, and heat therapy, among others. Learn more about freestanding birth centers here: Community Birth Center is fully licensed with the Washington State Department of Health and is working on national accreditation with the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers.
  • Is community birth safe?
    Yes. Ample evidence shows that community birth—birth out of hospital at home or in a freestanding birth center—is a safe option for people experiencing a normal, healthy pregnancy. A midwife’s main job is to know what’s normal in pregnancy, both generally and specific to each client. Part of that is routine monitoring of the birthing parent and baby throughout pregnancy and labor. In labor, that looks like regular vital signs checks, and listening to baby’s heartbeat with the Dopper. This monitoring allows the midwife to catch any “pink flags” that may come up in labor, providing plenty of time to calmly transfer to the hospital for additional monitoring if need be. It is exceedingly rare for true emergencies to occur without warning. As evidence-based care providers, Community Birth Center and its midwives maintain good working relationships with local EMS and obstetricans should the need for higher level care arise. For more about the safety and benefits of midwifery, check out this article from the Midwives Association of Washington State.
  • How long after the birth will I stay at the birth center?
    Families are typically discharged from the birth center 3-4 hours postpartum. In that first hour after birth, your midwife will help establish breastfeeding, take several sets of vital signs on both you and baby, and ensure you’re both stable and in good condition. After a meal and a shower, you’ll be ready to get home to rest up in your own bed.
  • What should I pack in my birth bag?
    Here are some suggestions for items you may want to bring with you: ● Clothing: ○ Birthing gown or comfortable outfit to labor in ○ Swim top or bra for you & swimwear for support person ○ A fresh nightgown, nursing bras, and spare dark underwear for post-delivery ○ Change of clothes for birthing person & support person for going home ● Toiletry bag including: ○ Glasses/contact lenses and solution ○ Hair ties and headbands ○ Makeup removing wipes ○ Soothing lip balm ● Labor Footwear: Comfortable flip-flops, non-skid socks, or slippers ● Favorite drinks like juice, coconut water or electrolyte drinks ● Nourishing snacks for both labor and postpartum. Honey sticks are a great labor snack. (Our birth center provides a microwave, crockpot, and hot water with coffee and tea options for you to use, so you can bring home cooked favorites with you for a well-earned post-labor meal!) ● Massage oil, essential oils, massage tools ● Music. We provide a speaker to bluetooth or plug into. ● Electronics: phone, camera and chargers ● Hard copy of your birth plan and a call list ● Insurance card and phone number ● Relaxation/distraction: books, magazine, movie watching device, games For Your Baby: ● Diaper bag: diapers, wipes, diaper cream ● Newborn scratch mittens ● Baby clothes: A few different outfits and hats, including accessories for newborn photos, plus the outfit you want baby to go home in ● Blankets, including a swaddle blanket and burp cloths ● A gift from baby for big brother or sister for that precious first meeting ● Infant car seat - install and test beforehand to avoid stress when leaving. We suggest preparing this bag a few weeks beforehand, so that when the time comes, it will be easy to grab and you’ll have everything you need.
  • What insurance does Community Birth Center accept?
    Community Birth Center is contracted with Washington Apple Health and most major insurance plans (excluding Kaiser and Aetna). As a birth center client, your insurance is billed twice, for the facility fee and the provider fee. Community Birth Center will bill for the facility fee, and your midwife will bill for their provider fee. CBC is committed to accessible care for all families. If cost is preventing you from birthing at CBC, please reach out.
  • What happens if two people are in labor at the same time?
    Thankfully, this is very rare! Babies usually wait politely so they can all be born at the birth center. That said, all our birth center clients work with their midwife to make a back-up plan for a home birth or utilized the second birthing suite in the Generations Midwifery office space.
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