The Alternative Birthing Care Center (ABC) at Providence Hospital offers expectant mothers a low-risk birthing option in a homelike setting.
Birth is a healthy, normal, positive experience for many families. The philosophy of the Center is to provide a natural birth experience – one that does not routinely require medical intervention – and one that respects your privacy while encouraging family involvement.
The ABC was created to offer expectant mothers a safer alternative to home birth as well as an alternative to traditional hospital birth. The Alternative Birth Care Center provides a birthing option that respects families’ feelings, assists them in joint decision-making and encourages them to have control over their own birth event.
Our professional staff is committed to the philosophy that birth is a healthy, normal event that does not require medical intervention except in specific, problem circumstances. Because we are equipped to handle problems should they arise and because we respect the uniqueness of each individual labor and birth, the Alternative Birth Care Center offers the best advantages of a home birth with an additional margin of safety for both you and your baby.
We look forward to helping make the birth of your child the personal experience it should be.
Keeping you safe
The ABC is located near, but separate from Labor and Delivery. We keep medical equipment, some medications and IVs in the Center should they become necessary. Additional medical inventions is available for patients in emergency situations during labor.
Patients needing additional assistance are quickly and safely escorted to the Labor and Delivery Center. Due to the unpredictable nature of childbirth, a room in the Alternative Birth Care Center may not be available upon your arrival to the hospital.
In the event this occurs, a similar experience will be offered to you in the Labor & Delivery Center which has comfortable LDR (labor, delivery, and recovery) suites.
A Family Affair...
If you would like to give birth in the Alternative Birth Care Center, you must be cared for by an obstetrician, family physician or certified nurse midwife with obstetrical privileges at Providence Hospital. You will be required to complete our educational program that prepares you and your family for labor, birth, baby care and early discharge (see the Alternative Birth Care Center Guidelines and Requirements below).
Working with your personal physician or nurse midwife, our professional staff of experienced perinatal nurses is committed to helping you and your family create the birth experience you seek. Teaching, sharing and caring, our nurses are dedicated to the concept of total family-centered care. We make ourselves available not just at the time of birth, but during your pregnancy as well, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have. We want to do whatever we can to make your birth comfortable, satisfying and pleasant, and we work with you to help decide our role in your birth. Because we respect your privacy, we can be merely a stand-by support system if that is what you wish or we can be a more active participant if you prefer.
We work on a one-to-one basis with our families, and we try to have the same nurse with your family throughout most of your labor.
Committed to the family concept of childbirth, the Alternative Birthing Care Center is designed to be comfortable, open, family-oriented and flexible. You may wear your own clothes if you wish. Our attractively decorated rooms — more like bedrooms than hospital rooms — are comfortably furnished with CD players, televisions, refrigerators, easy chairs and queen-sized beds. Jacuzzi tubs are also available to increase a mother’s comfort level in labor.
We provide the option for you to include your other children in this important experience if you wish. Visitors are welcome anytime during your stay, and you may choose to invite grandparents, other family members or friends to be with you during the birth or after.
Meals are provided for mothers. Our "At Your Request" program will allow you to choose your meal and meal time. There is a small kitchen, equipped with a microwave oven to make food preparation for family members more convenient. You may bring in any food you wish. Juice and pop are available to you. Tell your nurse of any special dietary needs you have. Visitors may obtain snacks and beverages from the Hospital cafeteria (ground floor) or the vending machines in the 3rd floor Family Lounge.
Together to Stay
One of the most important features of the Alternative Birthing Care Center is our non-separation policy. We encourage you to keep your new baby at your side at all times (unless, of course, a medical problem arises). All necessary care is done at the family bedside. Until you are discharged, you can care for your newborn infant in the warm, intimate circle of your family and friends. We keep any intrusions to a minimum, because we know this is a special time for you to be with your baby. Also, dad and other family members of your choice may stay overnight with you.
We ask that all visitors are respectful of the needs of the other families. Use of alcohol or drugs and excessive noise are not acceptable.
You may stay with us for six to 24 hours after the birth of your baby. Before being discharged, your baby is examined by a family practice physician or pediatrician of your choice. Complete instructions are given to prepare you for your first days at home. These include instructions on observing your baby for respiratory (breathing) patterns, jaundice, adequate feeding problems, voiding and general activity.
For your own well-being and as a condition of being accepted into the Alternative Birthing Care Center, you must provide for another adult to be in your home for the first 72 hours after discharge to help you.
Once you are home, our nurses telephone you for the first two days to check on your progress and answer any questions you might have. You are free to call the Center 24 hours a day if you have any questions or concerns about either yourself or your baby.
Alternative Birth Care Center
The mother will:
- Be in good health
- Be cared for by an obstetrician, family physician or certified nurse midwife with obstetrical privileges at Providence Hospital who is willing to attend the birth
- Complete prenatal forms with her physician or midwife who submits the information to the Center
- Remain at low risk throughout her prenatal development and during labor
- Complete Alternative Birth Care orientation class which includes Alternative Birth Care Center procedures
- Attend a prepared childbirth class series
- Agree to immediate transfer to Labor and Delivery should the doctor or nursing staff decide it is necessary
Guidelines and Requirement
Factors which could indicate exclusion from the Alternative Birth Care Center:
- Premature labor (less than 36 weeks' gestation)
- Postmature labor (greater than 41 weeks' gestation) After 41 weeks gestation, the risk of Cesarean section or stillbirth increases. Therefore additional maternal-fetal testing is required.
- Premature rupture of membranes — more than 18 hours before the onset of labor
- Breech fetal position
- Fetal distress
- Estimated fetal weight of less than 5 lbs. or more than 9 lbs. 12 oz.
- Significant meconium staining of amniotic fluid
- High blood pressure — during labor or after birth (greater than 140/90)
- Failure to progress in labor as determined by your physician or certified nurse midwife
- Prolapsed cord
- Unusual bleeding during labor or after birth
- Excessive protein in urine
- Symptoms of infection
- Any condition requiring more than 24 hours of observation after birth
- When labor begins, you may come to the Alternative Birth Care Center after checking with your care provider and the Center
- Mother’s vital signs are monitored
- Fetal heart rate is checked frequently
- Liquids and light nourishment are encouraged since IVs are not routine
- Mothers are encouraged to move around, walk, shower or use whatever labor positions are comfortable
- Please discuss your preferences with your provider including frequency of vaginal exams, artificial rupture of membranes, birth positions and use of Oxytocin after delivery.
- Siblings may be present if there is another adult besides the mother and father present to oversee their activities
- Any family members or visitors may be present at the birth if the couple wishes
- Pain medication is available, if needed. Local anesthesia is available for episiotomies
- Labor-inducing drugs (Pitocin) and epidural anesthesia are not administered in the Alternative Birth Care Center
- An electronic fetal monitor is available to the Alternative Birth Care Center from Labor and Delivery. It can be used for up to one hour to determine if there is a need for transfer.
- Cesarean section is available only in Labor and Delivery
After the Birth
- Has her vital signs monitored frequently
- May eat as soon as she likes
- Should walk as soon as she likes — but with a nurse present for the first time
- Will be encouraged to nurse the baby as soon as possible
- Must attain the specific criteria for discharge:
- Stable vital signs
- Firm uterus with no excessive bleeding
- Must be able to care for her infant and be physically self-sufficient
- Must be able to urinate on her own
- Receives appropriate follow-up for Rh-negative blood type
- Is monitored for temperature, heart rate and respiration at regular intervals
- Must be examined by a pediatrician or family practitioner previously selected by the family (The Center notifies the physician of the birth)
- Can be circumcised in the Center prior to discharge, if this is your preference
- Must achieve the following standards to remain with the family in the Alternative Birth Care Center:
- Apgar score of at least seven at five minutes
- Birth weight of five lbs.
- Normal vital signs
Your admission to the Alternative Birth Care Center Center is at the discretion of your care provider and may include other conditions and criteria not discussed in this booklet.
Immediately after the birth, we will make sure that your baby is breathing easily and that he/she is dry and covered. We encourage you to hold and cuddle your baby as soon as possible after birth. Skin to skin contact is one of the best ways to promote bonding as well as keeping the baby warm. If your room is cool, a warmer may be placed over mom and baby. We recommend that you keep the baby cuddled near while you are awake. When parents are sleeping, the baby MUST be placed in the crib.
Our prenatal education program is an extensive learning process designed to guide parents throughout the childbearing cycle. Families wishing to give birth in the Alternative Birth Care Center must complete a required orientation to acquaint themselves with our program.
Preparation for the labor and birth process is also required. You may take the Providence Hospital childbirth classes or other childbirth preparation classes (such as Lamaze or Bradley) taught in your doctor’s office or in the commCentery.
It is imperative that the mother and partner of her choice complete the required classes. Refresher childbirth preparation classes are recommended for returning families.
When determining if your child(ren) should be present for the birth, please take into consideration the maturity of each child.
Any child who will be at the birth should be prepared primarily by the parents to share in this experience. All children in the Alternative Birth Care Center MUST be accompanied by an adult who is NOT a primary support person to the mother and will stay with the child(ren) (even if it means missing the birth). Waiting areas are available for children accompanied by an adult. Children MUST be free from any infectious diseases, to protect the newborn and the others in the Center. Children are encouraged to stay in your room or in the family lounge if at the hospital waiting to be present for a birth — not in the hall. They should bring:
- A change of clothing
- Pajama's, slippers, etc.
- Diapers (if necessary)
- Special toys, favorite pillow, blanket, sleeping bag
- Enough food for their stay, including snacks If the mother is transferred, the support person must be able to stay with the children in the lounge or transport them home if needed.
Things to Remember
When you think you are in labor:
- Notify your physician/midwife first and follow their instructions
- Always call the Alternative Birth Care Center before coming in to allow us time to get a room ready and to adjust staffing
- If you reach a recording, follow the directions and the system will put you through to the Nurse
- Free parking is available at Providence Hospital. During the day, you must enter through the Nine Mile/Main Entrance. Park in the Nine Mile lot or use the Valet.
- During the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., ABC patients should use the Emergency entrance on the Northeast side of the Hospital
- If you are in very active labor and need assistance, ask the security guard for a wheelchair and escort. Tell them you are going to the Alternative Birth Care Center on 3 West.
Although birth is a special event, it is also a very private and personal experience. Sometimes having too many visitors during labor can inhibit the birthing process. Family members may wait in the Family Lounge, near the elevators.
What to bring for Mom:
We will supply sanitary pads and mesh panties.
- Own pillow (if desired)
- Robe, two (2) gowns, slippers, T-shirt, etc.
- Nursing bra
- Toiletries (brush, comb, shampoo, lotion, hair dryer, etc.)
- Appropriate labor snacks
- Clothes/diapers to wear home
- Blanket/bunting - appropriate for weather
- Car seat - know how to use it before coming
- Have a thermometer at home for the baby
- Camera(s), film, flash, batteries, tapes/CD's
Your primary responsibility is to care for yourself and your baby. Good food, time for yourself and rest is very important.
Contact us or visit today!
The staff of the ABC is dedicated to helping you have the most rewarding birth experience possible. If there is any way in which we can make your childbearing experience more rewarding, please let us know. We're available around-the-clock. Tours of the ABC are available. To arrange for a tour, please give us a call at 248-602-2592!