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Graduation Year

2016

Abstract

There are many risks and benefits of giving birth at a birthing center versus a hospital. Determining the location of birth is an important decision, as women in the world today have many options of where to have their child. Hospitals and birthing centers are two places where medical professionals provide prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care for the mother and fetus during this memorable time. While hospital nurses and physicians provide advanced medical care, birthing centers focus on holistic care of the family unit emphasizing mental, spiritual, and physical health. Doctors often perform cesarean sections (C-sections) for non-medical reasons, causing an increase in preterm births and health complications in both mother and baby. The rate of C-sections in the United States has increased astronomically since 1996 from a rate of 21% to 32.7% of births. Birthing centers have a decreased rate of C-sections in relation to hospital births and therefore have fewer health complications. This differences between hospitalized deliveries and birthing center deliveries are evident in relation to maternal and fetal health, and global, economical, and political implications. Overall, birthing centers provide healthcare to low risk pregnant women achieving better health outcomes than a hospital.