Frequently Asked Questions
About our center...
Why choose a certified nurse-midwife?
A midwife is a trained health professional who provides medical care to clients during labor, delivery, after the birth of their babies, and throughout their lifespan. Our midwives at RMC have graduate-level educations as certified nurse-midwives (CNM). This means that not only are they are registered nurses who have continued their education in a nurse-midwifery program, but also have achieved masters degrees in their field, have passed a national exam to receive their certification, and are licensed in the state of Pennsylvania.
Our CNMs provide care to low-risk clients who give birth out-of-hospital, at the birth center, or at home. A CNM can perform many of the same services as an OB/GYN, but uses a holistic, whole-family centered model of care with a particular focus on empowering clients. Our midwives support and facilitate families to make their own informed decisions regarding their medical care.
There are other types of midwives, such as direct-entry midwives. When choosing what type of provider is right for you, consider the benefits of choosing care with our CNMs. Because of our accreditation as a birth center and our collaborative agreement with an obstetrician, we have the ability to: prescribe medications, have attending privileges at Reading Hospital to attend births in the event of transfer, and accept most insurances. CNMs are also required to hold malpractice insurance, follow strict continuing education requirements, and are qualified in newborn care for up to the 28th day of life.
Can I come to RMC for my annual exams and gynecological care?
Yes, you can! We offer full-scope gynecological care for all ages, including annual exams, preconception care, pap smears, STD testing, and treatment of common gynecological problems. If you have a need we are unable to address at our practice, we will refer you to an appropriate provider.
Do you take insurance?
We are happy to share we are now in network with:
Capital Blue Cross*
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield*
Independence Blue Cross*
United Health Care (commercial plans)*
UPMC (commercial plans)*
*Some of the marketplace insurances may not be accepted. Facility fees and/or professional fees may still apply.
We can bill out of network for OB/GYN care for the following insurance:
United Health Care
Most major insurances, including Medicaid, should be in network shortly. Please contact us regarding fees so we can give you an accurate quote for the services you require.
What is a birth center?
A birth center is a freestanding healthcare facility where care is provided to low-risk clients during their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period, and where they may give birth under the care of midwives and nurses specially trained to assist during birth. Birth centers support physiologic birth and respect a client's right to make informed choices about their health care, and provide holistic education on prenatal care and nutrition, family adjustment, the labor process and pain management, breastfeeding, and more. Our birth center is a warm, home-like setting and birth environment that provides high-quality care.
About out of hospital births...
Why choose an out-of-hospital birth?
In an out-of-hospital birth, you are encouraged to labor and birth on your own terms. When you arrive at the birth center after speaking on the phone with the on-call midwife, you will be led right to your room to labor. With both birth center births and home births, you are free to move about the space, step out for a walk, eat and drink as you wish, labor in the bathtub or birth pool, and enjoy birthing in a peaceful setting. Your midwife and nurse will be with you during your labor. Choosing an out-of-hospital birth allows you to have more agency over your birth experience.
For low-risk clients, out-of-hospital birth is very safe. Large-scale studies tell us that choosing an out-of-hospital birth with a midwife means you are less likely to receive unnecessary interventions, resulting in positive outcomes. Out-of-hospital birth does not carry a higher risk of negative outcomes for low-risk clients.
What about pain management for my birth?
Most women in the US give birth with an epidural, which provides pain relief from reduced sensation, but also limits movement. We can't administer epidurals at the birth center. We can, however, offer numerous options for pain management such as hydrotherapy (water), heat and cold, counter-pressure and massage, positional techniques and movement, and relaxation techniques. Most people find that the calming environment of a birth center or their own home, and the ability to move freely during their labor, help immensely with their ability to cope with the sensations of labor and birth.
Who can be with me at my birth?
There are no restrictions on who can attend your birth. We do ask that, if you choose to have an older child present, that child has a support person specifically for them. *For birth center births, there may be changes to this policy in light of COVID-19. Please check with your midwife.*
Am I a candidate for birthing out-of-hospital?
Most clients can safely birth outside of the hospital. However, there are some circumstances and special cases that could mean you "risk out" of care at the birth center, such as certain medical/pregnancy conditions or medical history. If your pregnancy is not low-risk, or if your low-risk status changes during your pregnancy, we will refer you to an appropriate provider to plan a hospital birth. We currently work closely with a local practice, and have the ability to continue to care for our clients who choose to transfer there.
About birthing with us...
Can I have a water birth?
Yes! At the birth center, we have tubs and birthing pools that allow you to labor in the water, and you may stay in the water to give birth if you wish. If you're interested in a water birth, please let your midwife know during one of your appointments.
What happens if I have a complication during my pregnancy or birth?
If you are planning to birth at the birth center and your status changes to "high-risk" during your pregnancy, we will refer you to an appropriate provider to transfer your care for the remainder of your pregnancy.
Our midwives and nurses are highly-trained and equipped to handle many emergent situations at the birth center or during home births. We have equipment and tools on hand to provide resuscitation efforts if necessary, and we have a smooth transfer protocol if you or baby experiences an emergency and you need to go to the hospital during or after labor. Your midwife will be with you at the hospital.
How long will I stay at the birth center after having my baby?
Most families go home after 4-6 hours. Really! We will give you information on your at-home recovery, and we won't discharge you until we've determined you are safe to go home. We will check up on you frequently. If you give birth at home, we will provide the same immediate postpartum care and leave when you and baby are settled.
What will my postpartum care be like?
After leaving the birth center, you are encouraged to rest at home. About 24 hours after delivering, you will have a home visit from one of our nurses, who will ensure that you and baby are recovering well. Your nurse can help answer any questions you have at this time, as well as provide guidance on breastfeeding and newborn care if needed. There is also a 1 week appointment and a 6 week appointment. Lactation (breastfeeding) consultant referrals are also given as needed.
What about the tests and procedures babies normally have right after birth?
Some of the typical newborn procedures, such as the Vitamin K injection, are performed at the birth center before you are discharged, or at home after delivery. Others, such as the metabolic and hearing screenings, are performed by your nurse at your next-day home visit. You will receive the results of these tests as soon as they are available.
I'm pregnant and currently have my prenatal care with another provider. Is it too late to switch to the birth center?
We are happy to accept transferring clients from other practices. We prefer transfers to occur before 28 weeks, but will consider case by case. Please reach out to our office for more information.