Who can birth at Natural Beginning Birth Center?
Our birth center is available to healthy women with uncomplicated term pregnancies. Clients of OBGYN North who desire a natural, nonmedicated delivery have the option of birthing at Natural Beginning or St. David’s North Austin Medical Center. Our midwives attend births in both locations.
Why should I choose Natural Beginning over other birth center or home birth options?
We are blessed to live in a city with many birthing options for women. Ultimately, what is most important is a woman’s sense of comfort and safety in her surroundings. We developed our birth center to optimize both of these through all masters degree senior midwives, all RNs as birth assistants, proximity to the hospital (immediately across the street from North Austin Medical Center – rated #1 by Austin Birth Awards), on-campus physician back-up (5 MDs with a shared philosophy of birth – including Dr. Sebestyen rated #1 by Austin Birth Awards 2011, 2012, and 2013, and Dr. Miller nominated for Best Ob in Austin 2012 & 2013), and beautiful hotel-like surroundings including jetted tubs. No other facility in central Texas has all of these attributes. While some birth centers might claim to have a collaborative relationship with ObGyns, these large practices have providers with widely varied beliefs about birth and cesarean section which may not always be compatible with your own. We encourage you to always ask for the names and contact information of the physicians providing backup to any home birth or birth center practice – and investigating the details of each doctors philosophy of practice and cesarean section rate.
Does my insurance cover Natural Beginning Birth Center?
Generally, yes. Birth incurs two fees; one for your doctor or midwife, and one for the location of the birth. We are in-network with most major insurance carriers for maternity and birth services (midwife or physician services), regardless of birth location. The facility fee for the birth center is considered out-of-network for most insurance carriers except Aetna, Cigna and Humana. This is true for all birth centers in Texas except these rare insurance carriers and will need to be prepaid. We are actively working to contract with those insurance carriers willing to consider birth centers, as some insurance carriers refuse birth centers outright. Until that time, we will provide reimbursement from your insurance carrier after the claim has been processed. Because in-network birth center facilities are rare in Texas, many insurances use a gap provision to allow the fee to be considered in-network as there are no in-network alternatives. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept Medicaid at the birth center. Please contact our billing staff for additional details.
Why is Natural Beginning Birth Center more expensive than other birth centers?
Due to the increased costs associated with staffing masters degree midwives and RNs, as well as the high lease costs for a facility adjacent to a hospital, the fee is naturally higher to cover our expenses. This fee includes: one-on-one RN and CNM care throughout labor, birth, and recovery; post-delivery herbal bath; newborn hearing, metabolic disease and congenital heart disease screens; 1 hour home visit by RN on the day after birth; and 3 day in office visit for both you and your newborn. Your childbirth class (taught by renowned local doula – Shelly Scotka), and breast feeding class (taught by Stork Maternity) are included in that fee. In addition, you can choose to join the Partners In Parenting group for postpartum support and parenting advise – also free of charge. Regardless of this, our fee is in line with other Texas birth centers that employ similar staff.
What if my pregnancy becomes complicated?
Because we are in a collaborative practice with board certified obstetricians, your care may continue with both the midwives and physicians of OBGYN north. If complications arise, the birth of your baby would be attended by one of our providers at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center, where more technology and additional staff are available to serve you.
What happens if I need to transfer to the hospital during labor?
Rarely is a transfer to a hospital an emergency, but rather a recognition by your midwife that labor is no longer following a normal course. Our midwives are highly trained to monitor the safety of you and your baby and when warranted, she will accompany you across the street to hospital. She will likely continue your care in the hospital unless a physician’s care is required. A physician from OGBYN North is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to serve you if needed. Uniquely different from many large ob/gyn practices, our small group of 5 physicians all share the same philosophy of birth as our midwives, and honor your participation in the decision-making process throughout your ongoing care.
Are epidurals available at the birth center?
The use of an epidural for pain management is not an option at the birth center. Epidurals provide superb pain relief but they are not without risk and require medical support only available in a hospital. If you prefer epidural anesthesia, you can deliver with one of OBGYN North’s doctors or midwives at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center. Natural Beginning Birth Center does have other options for pain relief including nitrous oxide (“laughing gas” used commonly in England for birth), Nubain (narcotic agonist/antagonist medication), TENS (electric nerve stimulation), prolotherapy sterile-water papules (back labor relief), and the “aquadural” jetted tub.
Can I have a waterbirth at Natural Beginning?
Yes! Each of our three birth suites has a jetted birthing tub for birthing or to provide comfort (hydrotherapy) during labor.
Does the pediatrician see my baby at the birth center?
No, but we recommend your baby see his or her healthcare provider within a few days of birth. Nurse-Midwives are certified to perform newborn exams and will thoroughly examine your baby after delivery. For your convenience and safety, we will provide the recommended hearing, metabolic, and congenital heart disease screens for your baby.
Does being over 35 mean my pregnancy is too high risk to deliver at a birth center?
We welcome women over 35 with healthy pregnancies. Age often brings the benefits of maturity, wisdom, self-awareness and patience. However, no matter how healthy and young at heart we feel, some women will develop complications that can affect the function of the placenta near the end of the pregnancy. We carefully monitor the wellbeing of mothers and their unborn babies and most remain healthy through pregnancy, labor and birth.
How long will I stay at the birth center?
You can settle in to the spa like surroundings of Natural Beginning Birth Center once labor is underway. Your midwife will remain with you through labor, birth and the initial hours after your baby is born. Both mother and baby are usually ready to return home 6 hours after birth. If you are not medically ready to return home, you will stay at the birth center for up to 12 hours. In the rare care of serious postpartum concerns, you would be transported to the hospital after 12 hours. We understand that going home can be intimidating only 6 hours after birth, but we find most families are anxious to return home at this point. If you desire to stay longer despite good health, you can opt to pay your nurse to stay for the additional 6 hours. Be reassured that our staff will be in close contact with you at home and will examine both you and your baby in your home (day after delivery) and in our office (three days after delivery).
Do you attend VBAC’s (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) at the birth center?
We do not attend VBAC’s at Natural Beginning. Our physicians and midwives regularly attend VBAC’s at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center where our client’s success rate of achieving a healthy vaginal delivery is over 80%!
Can I deliver twins at Natural Beginning Birth Center?
Twin pregnancies have a higher likelihood of complications so the physicians of OBGYN North attend all twin (or triplet) pregnancies at the hospital.
Can I bring a doula with me for labor support?
Yes! Austin is home to many gifted doula’s, trained to support you and your partner through labor and birth. We welcome anyone whose presence will help make your birth a satisfying and empowering experience.
Will your midwives attend a homebirth with me?
No, the nurse-midwives at Natural Beginning Birth Center specialize in attending births at this birth center and St. David’s North Austin Medical Center. If you desire a home birth, there are many skilled midwives in the Austin area willing to serve you.