Our Place is Your Place

Welcome…

Birth & Women’s Center captures the calm and loving essence of home birth while providing a safe location for your care. Our staff of midwives, birth assistants, postpartum assistants and office management who can provide an unprecedented level of care, support and experience to our families. While complications are rare, being next to a hospital can be invaluable. Our established physician and hospital relationships offer an incredible layer of support. The center, a 100-year-old home, is nestled among the quaint Victorians of the Swiss Avenue historic district and is only three blocks from a major hospital.

New mom holding twins
Father helping deliver his new baby

Frequently Asked Questions

We have the answers…

No, birth centers vary in many ways. Some are located inside hospitals, while some are in the community.  Most centers are owned and staffed by one or more midwives. A midwife can be either a Certified Nurse-Midwife (a Registered Nurse Practitioner with additional training and certification by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, www.midwife.org or a Professional Midwife (not a Registered Nurse, but trained and certified by the state or independent organization, www.dshs.state.tx.us/midwife/mw_history.shtm.

Experience and skill vary with each midwife. The transfer arrangements in place with a hospital and a physician depend on the center’s history and working relationships with the physicians and the hospital. CNM’s work in collaborative agreement with physicians, which allows for expanded care if health issues arise. Though all centers are created to take care of low-risk births, complications will develop at least 10 percent of the time. These mothers face the need to be transferred. However, if the birth center’s midwives have expanded skills and options, the client may avoid a transfer by having a modified birth experience. This allows a mother to give birth at the center, with some intervention to solve the immediate problem.

A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is a professional healthcare provider, a Registered Nurse (RN) who has graduated from any of more than thirty advanced education programs accredited by the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM). In addition, CNMs must pass a national certification examination and meet strict requirements set by state health agencies.

Insurance companies cover/honor the services and charges from CNMs.

Birth in a birthing center caters to the healthy, low-risk mother. Not all risk factors prohibit you from giving birth at the center. Some risk factors can be closely monitored by our staff and/or by our consulting physicians, and the patient may still deliver at the Center.

We view birth as a natural and healthy experience. Your labor can progress without unnecessary intervention. In fact, it is our lack of intervention that keeps our cesarean deliveries far below the national average.

While we specialize in the management of low risk women, some clients may develop risk factors, needing more advanced medical treatment.

In the event a woman develops a complication during her pregnancy or delivery, we can transition into traditional medical care with ease due to working with physicians who are sympathetic to desires and plans.

A recent Federal study determined that babies delivered by certified nurse-midwives were significantly less likely to die than those delivered by physicians. Another study, published by the New England Journal of Medicine, representing over 12,000 pregnant women, confirmed that births occurring in midwife-staffed birth centers were just as safe as births that took place in hospitals. An Institute of Medicine study has reported that births assisted by nurse-midwives result in fewer premature and underweight babies.

Having your baby at a birth center prevents the need for epidurals, pitocin, augmentation and medications. Mothers who abstain from medications deliver their babies much faster with far fewer interventions and complications. Their babies are born free of the drugs that are commonly used in the hospital environment.

The total fee for maternity care provided by the nurse-midwife and the birth center facility is less than half the cost of a doctor and hospital delivery.

For insured patients, our insurance specialist will verify the coverage with your insurance company and will work toward maximizing the benefits provided by your plan. Insurance companies will honor your care at Birth and Women’s Center unless it is a specific exclusion in your plan. To receive a cost estimate with your insurance coverage, click here to complete the Insurance Request Form on the Fees & Cost page. We will contact your provider and follow up with
you to discuss estimated fees at the Birth & Women’s Center.

For non-insured patients, the fee for uncomplicated pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum care is $5,450. If you develop risk factors demanding extended services, there will be additional charges. We are happy to provide you with a list of extended services and associated costs.

Yes, insurance companies will honor your care at Birth and Women’s Center unless it is a specific exclusion in your plan. Our insurance specialist will verify the coverage with your insurance company and will work toward maximizing the benefits provided by your plan. To receive a cost estimate with your insurance coverage, click here to complete the Insurance Request Form on the Fees & Cost page. We will contact your provider and follow up with you to discuss estimated fees at the Birth & Women’s Center.

Sometimes in the prenatal period or while in labor, a pregnancy or birth can become high-risk, which means medical intervention is required. At Birth and Women’s Center, we are able to work with certain complications by providing interventions that allow mothers to give birth outside of a hospital setting.  The most common complications we see are Hypertension during pregnancy and Failure to Progress during labor.

At times, a laboring mother may need to be transferred to the hospital to give birth under the care of one of our consulting physicians. Our physicians understand the desires and needs of mothers who have chosen an out-of-hospital experience. They will try to prevent the mother from having a C-section or excessive hospital interventions. Our C-Section rate is less than 5 percent, and our transfer rate ranges from 7 to 10 percent.

Understandably, mothers may feel disappointment or sadness when their births do not go as planned; and yet, our mothers still report great relief and thankfulness for the help when it was needed.  Our expanded skill in managing modified birth is an advantage that most facilities cannot offer.

It is always our desire for every mother to experience natural childbirth free of intervention. From years of statistics, we know that 9 out of 10 mothers will welcome their babies into the world at the Center, in moments that we deeply cherish. Only one out of every 10 moms who begins labor at the Center will give birth at the hospital. These special mothers still remain in our care after their births, returning for postpartum care and the Materna-Tea, where they are encouraged to share their feelings and receive emotional support from our caring staff and other new mothers.

Birth is a highly individual experience, and we encourage women to do whatever will make them most comfortable during labor and birth. This may include walking around, relaxing in our Jacuzzi, sitting in a chair, resting in bed, sitting on the birth ball, or doing anything else that will help you maintain a maximum level of relaxation.

During early stages of labor, we will encourage you to drink ample liquids and eat a light meal. Instead of using electro-fetal monitors that must be strapped onto your abdomen and keep a mother in the bed, we monitor your progress with a special electronic stethoscope in order for you to remain active and out of bed.

Our laboring mothers rarely request to lie down in labor and often never do. We will encourage you to find the position most comfortable for you. You can lie on your side, kneel, squat, sit upright, or float in the Jacuzzi. We will advise you on positions to optimize an efficient delivery of your baby.

Mothers having their babies at the Center usually do not need pain medications. In this supportive environment, our nurturing staff work with moms to achieve their goals of natural birth. Our mothers are active in labor, using freedom of movement to assist the baby to come quickly and to deal with discomfort.

Epidurals are not offered at the Center, but we do have I.V. pain medication, water therapy, or nitrous oxide if you find you need help relaxing. If stitches are necessary we provide lidocaine as a numbing agent.

The use of an episiotomy is an infrequent, rarely used event. We do not routinely perform episiotomies (surgical enlargements of the vaginal opening). We are qualified to do episiotomies should a medical emergency necessitate the need for one. We often use perineal massage and oil to increase stretching without tearing.

We can provide intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration if you are unable to drink enough liquid, have episodes of vomiting, have excess blood loss during delivery, or if your infant shows any signs of stress during labor.

We will provide you with information regarding the State of Texas requirements for newborns, such as antibiotic ointment for eyes, newborn screening, and vitamin K injections. We support your right to make responsible decisions regarding your newborn’s care.

No, a Certified Nurse-Midwife is present for the birth at the Center. However, we have consulting physicians on-call 24 hours a day to answer questions or provide services. If you need direct care from a physician you will be transferred to the hospital, and one of our female OB/GYNs or the labor & delivery Hospitalist will take over your care. We accompany you in transport and hope to attend your delivery as a patient advocate.

Our birthing suites have the same equipment that hospital labor-and-delivery units have to evaluate you and your baby during labor and after birth.We have emergency medical equipment available as well, including oxygen/suction to aid breathing, heat to keep your baby warm, and medication to stop bleeding, If a mother needs more medical intervention, she can quickly be transferred to the hospital.

The staff at Birth and Women’s Center is highly qualified to deal effectively with emergency situations associated with labor and birth. If a medical emergency arises, or you become high risk, you will be transferred to the hospital where more specialized care can be provided by an obstetrician & hospital equipment.

Having a baby is a highly personal experience, and we feel you should be able to share it with anyone you choose. This may include your husband or other primary support persons, as well as other children, relatives or friends. Your primary support person can actively participate in the birth experience. If you decide to have other children present, they’ll need to have advance preparation and be supervised by a secondary support person.

Most fathers deliver their babies, and fathers will decide how much they want to participate. Your birth will be attended by a CNM and a Birth Assistant. A clinical assistant will come in after the birth to discharge you and your baby. Our goal is to have your spouse be the best coach possible, and our staff will be in assisting your spouse to support you.

Doulas may accompany you to the Center; however, our support to the fathers allows them to act as your doula.

At Birth and Women’s Center we do not separate babies from their mothers. You’ll have as much time as you wish to bond with your baby, and you may have anyone you want touch or hold your baby. We do all of our care at the bedside and our main goal is to provide you with an environment of peace and safety to welcome your new baby into the family.

After your baby is born, all vital signs for both you and your child — including breathing, temperature, and cardiovascular systems — are assessed to ensure you and your baby are completely stable. Your baby will get a complete physical examination, and you will be checked to ensure you are breastfeeding successfully and are experiencing no complications or bleeding.

Most mothers and babies go home approximately six hours after birth.
Some mothers request to leave sooner, and some mothers stay longer due to medical concerns. We keep in close touch with you after you leave. First-time parents can receive a home visit from a member of our clinical staff. In addition, prior to the birth, we host a class that you attend around your eighth month of pregnancy that teaches your partner and family how to care for you once you arrive home.

You’ll take along specific instructions that will help you spot any abnormal developments. Well call you after 24 and 48 hours to discuss how you and your baby are doing, and we are available 24 hours a day to guide and support you. If it is your first baby, one of our birth assistants can visit your home 48-72 hours after you leave Birth and Women’s Center to make sure you and your infant are doing well.

Choosing Birth and Women’s Center will decrease your risk of complications to mother and baby, and your baby is born free of drugs that most women receive in hospital deliveries. Very few women who choose to deliver at our Center need epidurals or C-sections. Less medical intervention creates fewer complications, thus supporting your body to give birth naturally as it was created to do.

Our mothers experience an incredible sense of accomplishment and euphoria when their infants are born without the use of drugs. Their sense of power and strength often sustains them for the remainder of their lives. Giving birth totally numb from an epidural robs a woman of this sense of accomplishment and strength. We offer a drug-free environment that helps you achieve your goals of natural childbirth.

Our experience and professional relationships distinguish us: We have delivered approximately 3,900 babies with outstanding outcomes, transfer rates and C-section rates. We are located three blocks from a hospital that has 24 years of experience working with us, which can be an invaluable advantage should you or your baby need emergent care.

We offer circumcision to families requesting this procedure. It is done in our Center after the infant is eight days old. We want the infant to be adjusted to his new life, breastfeeding well, gaining weight, and have blood-clotting factors at their peak when performing the procedure.

We try to make this a family event, and most fathers come to this appointment. Lidocaine is administered for pain control, Sweet-Ease is given orally, and comfort of touch and talk from our staff and the parents is given. Mom breastfeeds the infant immediately following the procedure.

We offer Standard of Care to our patients, but do not insist on all routine labs and sonograms. We value your ability to make choices and decisions in your pregnancy. We work together as a team and help educate you about the Standards of Health Care and assist you in your decision about the treatments you may choose to avoid.

Our main goal is for you to have no intervention, induction or standard obstetrical procedure. Normal low-risk women will go into labor when Mother Nature dictates.

If a mother develops a medical indication that can be managed at the Center, yet necessitates earlier delivery, we can offer methods to prepare the cervix or start one’s labor when needed. This certainly is not our first choice. When it becomes necessary, it often provides women the opportunity of still having the birth they choose while avoiding being transferred to the hospital. We do not use Pitocin induction, but have good success with more natural options.

A mother receives all prenatal, labor & delivery, and postpartum care with us at the Center. If a mother develops a medical complication during her care, she may see a referral physician as needed. We may also supplement her care with additional fetal well-being observation such as added sonograms, hypertension medication, non-stress testing or more frequent visits. We help you adjust to the concept of a modified birth plan if needed in order to keep you and your baby safe.

We are staffed with two full-time and one part-time midwives. Birth assistants work beside your midwife, and an additional clinical assistant may come in to complete your after-birth and discharge care.

Our midwives work 24 hours on & 24 hours off. We rotate our clinics. When you go into labor, the on-call midwife will be called. This system allows our midwives to be fresh and well rested when you go into labor and allows our midwives to devote time to their families and children as well as time off for holidays and traveling.

Midwives who work in the Birth Center, instead of a hospital with scheduled shifts, dedicate their lives to the extra work and time it takes to provide you an out-of-hospital experience.

People who do not have education or personal experience with birth centers, or who gave birth in a hospital, do not understand the advantages of giving birth outside of the hospital environment. Less medical intervention creates fewer complications, thus supporting your body to give birth naturally as it was created to do.

I may be difficult or you to explain the advantages in a conversation that has taken many hours/days of personal study that helped you make this choice.

Advising them to watch the documentary “The Business of Being Born” by Ricky Lake on you-tube is a good start. Assuring them we are three blocks away from the labor & delivery unit where epidurals and emergent care is quickly available should your plans need to change also helps reduce their concerns.

We are certainly available to discuss the many benefits of natural birth at the Birth & Women’s Center. Please let any concerned friends and family know that they may call us at any time.

Your baby can be transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit by special ambulance and a transport team if your baby develops a complication. The hospital is located three blocks from the Center and has a hotel inside of the building where family can stay if your baby must stay several days.

The mother chooses any outside friends, relatives or support people to be with her. We will give your husband the best training and advice to be the best doula you will need.

Our ultimate goal is for you as a couple to bring forth your child as a family unit, depending on each other and bonding with your loved one and baby. The two of you are becoming the parents of a child for life, and we want the birth day to launch you into a life of loving each other and your baby forever.

We believe that the services of a doula are invaluable, particularly in a traditional hospital setting. According to the American Pregnancy Association, “studies have shown that having a doula as a member of the birth team decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%,… and requests for epidural by 60%.”

At the Birth & Women’s Center, your pregnancy journey is supported with love, kindness and a sense of empowerment. You are welcome to use the services of a doula; however, we provide the care and nurturing that a doula traditionally would. We are proud to offer an entire staff of midwives, birth assistants, postpartum assistants and office management who can provide an unprecedented level of care, support and experience to our families. Of more than 3,900 Birth Center families, less than 5% have resulted in Cesarean birth.

Additionally, one of our greatest goals, and gifts, is supporting the father to act as a doula during labor and childbirth. Fathers usually have limited participation when their babies are born in the hospital. When couples come to the Center we explain that Fathers are encouraged to be an active participant in their child’s birth by supporting the laboring mother, and even to help in the actual delivery of the baby. By creating a safe and nurturing environment, we empower the father to share in this intimate and transformative experience of becoming a family.  Click here to see photos and quotations from our many Fathers about their experiences…

Should you desire to work with a doula, we recommend contacting Linda Worzer of Natural Beginnings.

Rupture of the Membranes is an excellent sign that baby is on the way. One usually starts labor immediately or if already in labor the labor will increase which is what causes the birth of your baby.

Premature rupture of membranes means the water broke and labor does not begin. The body is not ready for labor and therefore it does not get the clues to put itself in labor. This can happen many weeks before your due date or even around your due date yet labor does not begin.

If labor does not start, most likely the mother will need some means of induction. The baby is exposed to bacteria entering the uterus which can cause an infection in the uterus or the baby itself. The longer the time from rupture of membranes to the delivery increases the exposure of infection and therefore puts mom and baby at a higher risk for complications.

Standard hospital procedure includes intravenous antibiotics starting at 18 hours and continuing until the baby is born, and blood cultures being taken on the baby to watch for infection. Your baby needs extra observation if 24 hours has lapsed and may need NICU admission if the baby is symptomatic.

Knowing that these added risk occurs, we start giving all Moms advice and assistance to get her into labor once the water breaks. We are pushing the clock knowing that the sooner the baby delivers the less chance of needing antibiotics or hospitalization. While some patients want to just wait for labor, we know that some Moms will not start labor until we intervene. Waiting too long has resulted in mothers and babies having to be hospitalized.

Why would a mother not go into labor? Cervical ripeness and the application of the baby’s head on the cervix is the key factor for the body to be stimulated to go into labor. If the baby has not engaged or the cervix is firm and not ripe for labor, the body will not be stimulated. Labor does ensue if your cervix is ripe and the baby is moving into the birth canal, hence most women go into labor once the water breaks.

What can I do if my water breaks and labor does not begin? Call your health care provider so we can confirm that your water broke. If confirmed we usually start with things such as walking, nipple stimulation, assistance with the baby’s head applying to the cervix. During your exam we determine if your cervix if not ready and decide the best plan of management to ripen the cervix and to get contractions to begin.

If a mother gets a fever or the baby is born with one, hospitalization is critical to prevent severe infection. Our goal is to prevent prolonged rupture of membranes and a fever or infection starting.

We wish that PROM was never a problem, yet if it is we will work with you to go into labor so your baby does not become exposed to an infection or need hospitalization. CALL US IF YOU ARE LEAKING WATER EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT SURE.

Babies will come before or after the due date. Babies after 42 week, and before 36 weeks have to be born in the hospital where they can receive specialized care if needed. Babies born after 41 weeks are considered post mature and are at increased risk of complications during labor or delivery. Our babies home the uterus is programmed to perform well until the 40 week mark, and slowly declines in its efficiency every day after 40 weeks. Therefore we will give you advice and homework to encourage your baby to come close to the 40 to 41 week point.

How do I know if my baby is okay? We will have your baby checked by a sonogram to determine if there is sufficient water around the baby, the placenta is working, and the baby has good body tone and breathing movements. We will watch your baby closely every 3 to 4 days thru sonography.

We are also checking your cervix to be sure it is ripening and getting ready for labor. We will give you advice as to things you can do to encourage labor.

Once a mother passes the 40 week point the cord of the baby begins to lose it curls and firmness. By 41 weeks it is thinner and less curled, and by 42 weeks it will be thin like a pencil with no curls. The lack of cord health and thickness means the cord can be compressed before or during labor and cut off the blood supply to the baby. This is the reason mothers are not allowed to go past 42 weeks and the need for extra surveillance to be sure all is well.

The cervix prepares itself by getting soft and open so labor will begin. If the cervix remains, high, thick, closed it is not being signaled to go into labor. Cervical ripeness is one of the key factors in a mother going into labor. What ripens the cervix? The baby dropping down into the pelvis stimulates the cervix to prepare itself. Why do some babies not drop down on the cervix? If the baby is not in the optimum position it often does not engage. Lack of engagement, stimulation, or poor abdominal tone of the mother can prevent the cervix from being ready and labor does not begin on its own.

We will work with any mother who goes post dates with daily suggestions and help to support your body going into labor. We will try to avoid you getting to 42 weeks and needing a hospital induction.

Our goal is a happy mother and baby close to its due date.

“We have been so pleased with our two births at BWC. The midwives are incredibly personable and have gone above and beyond to make sure we have the birth that we wanted. I feel like BWC is the perfect balance of a natural birthing environment and providing medical knowledge. I would recommend them to anyone.”
“The serenity of the birthing room at Birth and Women’s Center allowed me to focus. She reminded me of my strength whenever I started to forget.”
“My body was telling me to push but somehow I didn’t know how. The midwives were very understanding and coached me on how to push effectively. To me pushing hard and long was discouraging, but they would not let me give up.”

Schedule A Tour

The Birth and Women’s Center offers tours every Friday at noon.
Evening tours are scheduled the first Monday of the month at 7:30 pm
(excluding national holidays). 

214.821.8190