The Difference Between Birth Center & Hospital Deliveries

May 11, 2017

The Difference Between Birth Center & Hospital Deliveries

With delivery options ranging from home births to hospital births, sometimes it’s hard to decide where you want to have your little one! But there is one option that is on the rise — birthing centers. 

Since 2015, the CDC reports that 1.5% of births were out-of-hospital, with 1/3rd of these being in freestanding birth centers! If you’re torn between delivering in a hospital or a birth center, don’t be. We’re going to lay out some of the pros and cons for each to help you out!

birth centers hospitals delivery


If you’re a mama who wants to use a birth center but also have the security of having a doctor on call if necessary, you can! While this might sound counterintuitive (since birth centers focus mainly around natural births), these types of birth centers are practical for those moms who prefer to have an obstetrician in case of medical emergencies.

However, if you’re not wanting to have a doctor around, you can also search for a freestanding birthing center! 

And now to the part you’ve been waiting for! 


  • Provides natural options for pregnant moms 
  • Allow for your doula to be with you during delivery
  • Free movement, eating and drinking, and family involvement are encouraged before, during, and after birth 
  • Many birth centers offer a large tub or a shower for relaxation during labor or for water births if that is part of your birth plan
  • Shorter stay after delivery than at a hospital — in many cases hours instead of days
  • Usually less costly than a hospital birth
  • Maternal and newborn care is provided immediately and to the extent the mom needs


  • Not all birth centers accept insurance and not all insurances cover the use of a birth center
  • In the event of an emergency, a freestanding birth center, will need to transfer you to a hospital or grant privileges to an obstetrician
  • You must be in good health and have had a stable, low-risk pregnancy 


While birth centers are on the rise, a majority of women still opt to have their labor and delivery in a traditional hospital setting. That being said, if a mom would like to use a midwife for the delivery, it can be done! Be sure to speak with your midwife and the hospital to ensure he/she is given privileges at the hospital! 

Now let’s take a look at the good vs not-so-good about hospital births!  


  • In the event of an emergency, you will have access to an obstetrician — whether your own or an on-call doctor
  • Epidurals and other medications are readily available for moms who request them
  • You may still be able to have your doula and Certified Midwife with you for delivery
  • Some hospital rooms are now equipped with large tubs and showers to relax in during labor
  • Insurance is usually accepted more easily


  • Many hospitals limit the amount of family or help that attend the birth
  • There are strict protocols and therefore, your personal wishes might be impeded
  • It is not a personalized, comfy environment
  • If you are in a shared recovery room, your privacy will be limited
  • Might have more invasive maternal and newborn care to ensure hospital rules are followed 
  • Longer stay after delivery (days vs hours) 

While both delivery options have their pros and cons, it is important to determine which makes you feel most at ease! If you’re not entirely sure you’re ready for a freestanding birth center, be sure to see if your hospital offers a birthing center! 

Wherever you choose to deliver, we wish you a quick, happy, and healthy delivery!

By Myra Aslam @ Bliss Creative

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