Working With a Birth Center During My Pandemic Pregnancy

Houston Moms is grateful to have partners like The Addice who continue to provide exemplary care and experiences for our parents.

I had just attended my first midwife visit at The Addice birth center in January before the world went to chaos with COVID. Having made the decision to use a birth center with my second pregnancy {I had already done it with my first} I was not as concerned about exposure and restrictions at the hospital, and I knew generally what to expect. Working with a birth center really lowered my stress level during my pandemic pregnancy. With the fear of exposure to COVID and the hospital restrictions put in place as a result, more and more people might be considering out of hospital options for giving birth these days. After using a birth center for both of my children’s births, I thought sharing my experience may help those who may be curious.

Select photography provided by Renee Street/Domus Aurea Photography

Fast Facts

  • Birth centers are designed for women with low risk pregnancies and births.
  • They are staffed by midwives, and may partner with an OBGYN for consultation.
  • They specialize in unmedicated birth, although most have nitrous oxide available. Basically, an epidural is not an option.
  • They have specific plans for emergency situations that arise, and you can choose to transfer to the hospital at any time during your pregnancy or labor.
  • Most are going to be out of network for insurance, but the cost can still be lower (about $6500 out of pocket) than some in network care with an OBGYN. This of course depends on your specific insurance situation. 

More Autonomy and Choices

Birth centers aren’t limited by the policies and procedures of hospitals, so they can often be more flexible in your care. Want more ultrasounds? Less? No invasive checks? Want to eat and drink during labor? Have specific music? You can! The general attitude is very collaborative with the patient, which feels empowering and caring. In each visit, and during labor and birth, my midwife explained what she was going to do, asked for consent before touching me, and if needed processed with me after the fact to see if there was anything I needed to talk through or wanted to adjust in my care.

Select Photography provided by Renee Street/Domus Aurea Photography

Home Like Environment

One big appeal of The Addice is how beautiful their facility is. Each room is carefully curated to be beautiful, functional, and cozy. It has the clean feel of a doctor’s office with the twist of making you feel like you are in your stylish friend’s living room {Check out their website or Instagram for pics}. Personally, I would never do a home birth, because I don’t want all of that birth goo anywhere in my home, or the memory of the mess of birth in my bed or bathtub. With a birth center I can get the feel of home without the mess in MY home, and the safe feeling of still being in a clinical environment.

Calm and Normalizing

Midwives specialize in low risk pregnancies, which means pregnancy and birth is what they do all day every day. They don’t treat the issues that may come up in pregnancy as abnormal, or as diseases. Especially with my first pregnancy, I found this incredibly calming. They could say with confidence that something I was experiencing was normal, because they had seen it all before. 

One on One Individualized Care

Since they focus on one thing, midwives are able to devote their time and energy solely on you during your visit. They ask about your physical and mental health throughout, and never rush you through an appointment. With my first pregnancy, I came with a list of questions for almost every visit, and each time our midwife patiently answered every one of them. 

Accommodations for Needle Fears

In what I like the call the “Hierarchy of Birth”, unmedicated birth seems to be celebrated more than other types of birth. First, let me say that ALL birth is phenomenal no matter how it happens. Although people have told me they are impressed I would choose this method of birth, I have to confess one of the biggest motivating factors in my decision to use a birth center and have an unmedicated birth was my phobia of needles. I’ve had this since I was a child and it is something I have struggled with in my mental health as an adult. I so appreciated the midwives we worked with being empathetic to my phobia, rather than shaming me, which I’ve experienced with other medical providers, and really taking steps to minimize my stress in this area. 

During my prenatal visits at The Addice, one of the midwives suggested using nitrous oxide during blood draws and for the first time in my life I had an encounter with needles that didn’t also involve a panic attack. That was HUGE for me, and I never would have had that experience without them making that creative suggestion. For those of you who share this fear, using a birth center means you don’t automatically have to have an IV during labor, and as stated above there is no epidural option. Personally I was more scared of an epidural than the pain of labor. 

Select photography provided by Renee Street/Domus Aurea Photography

Hands on Support During Labor

I feel like you get the best of both worlds with a midwife and birth center. During labor they are a combination of doctor and doula, making sure you and baby are safe and also coaching you each step of the way. With my most recent birth at The Addice, my midwife literally had her hands inside my vagina helping stretch and make room as I pushed {Shout out to Jaylynn!}. Talk about hands on. 

Short Stay

Assuming everything goes well and mom and baby are healthy, you are able to leave the birth center within 4-6 hours after baby is born. This may seem daunting, especially for first time parents, but I loved it. The relief of being in my own home with my bed and stuff and food and support people so soon after baby arrived was a great feeling both times. It gave us more opportunity to rest and recover without people popping in all of the time. To top it off, the midwives come to your home for a 48 hour visit, so you don’t have to leave the house! 

Having done it twice, I can say that my experiences giving birth at a birth center have both been positive and empowering. I realize that part of that was just luck that things went mostly according to plan during my pregnancies and deliveries with no emergency interventions needed. But a large part of that success in both of my births was due to the care and skill of the midwives who safely delivered both of my babies. I will be forever grateful for that, and will continue to advocate for birth centers as a great option for those who may want to consider it. 

Connect with The Addice

Website | Facebook | Instagram

8845 Six Pines Dr. Suite #150
The Woodlands, TX. 77380

[email protected] 

Bonus:: Check out our pre-pandemic tours at The Addice here and here!

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Thank you to Renee Streett with Domus Aurea Photography for the beautiful images of The Addice. 


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