Licensed Midwife-Run Community Birth Center in Sacramento, California
Birth Center Closure
It is with at once a deep sadness and an overwhelming gratitude to all of our clients that Welcome Home Midwifery Services, Inc. will be closing our freestanding birth center effective October 31, 2023. Our practice is committed to continuing care for families already booked into our birth center and due before October 15, 2023.
Welcome Home Midwifery Services, Inc. providers will continue to offer doula services, home birth midwifery care, and lactation services to families on a case-by-case basis through their own practices.
If you have received care with WHMS, your records will continue to be housed in ClientCare in perpetuity and are accessible at any time via your login information. Our midwives are accessible via the messaging system in ClientCare for specific questions through the end of the year, and the Welcome Home e-mail will be checked on a weekly basis through December 2024.
What is Welcome Home Community Birth Center?
Located in South Sacramento, Welcome Home Community Birth Center is a California Licensed Midwife-run freestanding birth center and the first such facility to accept Medi-Cal. We offer high-quality, family-centered care that allows healthy people to give birth in a calm environment. Our provider is a California Licensed Midwife and Certified Professional Midwife, holding memberships with the California Association of Licensed Midwives (CALM) and the National Association for Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM). Our center operates as an exempt birth center under the California Health & Safety Code, which states a center operating as part of a Licensed Midwife's practice is exempt from facility licensure. For more information about the rigorous training of and quality of care provided by Licensed Midwives, visit the Medical Board of California website.
Welcome Home Community Birth Center works in partnership with Welcome Home Midwifery Services, Inc. as an education organization to provide safe training opportunities for MEAC-enrolled student midwives. Our experienced, California Medical Board-Licensed Midwives are deeply committed to providing access to community birth for Sacramento's families. In addition to perinatal care, our midwives offer interconception care including annual exams, family planning services, and lab testing.
A birth center is a homelike facility with a program of care designed in the wellness model of pregnancy and birth.
Birth centers are guided by principles of prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention, and cost effectiveness.
Birth centers provide personalized, family-centered care for healthy people before, during and after normal pregnancy, labor and birth.
Freestanding birth centers achieve better outcomes than hospitals on quality measures such as cesarean rate for low risk clients, elective delivery prior to 39 weeks, and breastfeeding.
Birth Centers are a safe option for clients experiencing a healthy pregnancy.
Birth centers use fewer medical interventions than hospitals; this saves health dollars and reduces the risk of complications during and following childbirth.
What types of services are provided in a Birth Center?
Prenatal Care Nutrition and exercise counseling Routine diagnostic testing including lab work and ultrasounds Childbirth preparation Visits lasting an average of 60 minutes
Labor and Birth Care Continuous support from midwives, midwife assistants, and doulas in active labor Skilled, client-centered healthcare Specializing in birth without pain medications Breastfeeding and skin-to-skin as routine No separation from the newborn Nitrous Oxide ("Laughing Gas") as needed or desired
Water Birth A safe and gentle way to welcome a baby Click here for information on the safety of water immersion in labor and birth specific to birth centers.
Immediate Postpartum Care Help facilitating breastfeeding Full newborn exams Parenting with confidence
Postpartum Care Routine home visits at 24 hours, 72 hours, and 1 week. Office visits at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks. Routine follow-up care with information on family planning, breastfeeding, recovery from birth, and infant health Appropriate resource referrals to local doctors and complementary providers
What is different about Welcome Home Community Birth Center?
Our freestanding birth center is staffed by providers who have specific licensure, training, and experience in out-of-hospital birth including home birth. Our model of care, policies, and equipment are very similar (but not identical) to a planned birth at home.
We understand that for many families, birth at home might not be a safe or affordable option due to:
Distance from a client's home to their closest hospital
Distance from a client's home to the closest VBAC-friendly hospital
A shortage in maternity care providers
Moving or unstable housing during pregnancy
What amenities are available for families birthing at WHCBC?
We strive to create a "home-away-from-home" atmosphere that is comfortable, safe, cost-effective, and individualized for each family's needs. Our facility includes...
Memory foam beds
Safety equipment and staffing for a normal birth
A nourishment room with microwave, toaster oven, refrigerator
Private, gated entry so your family and belongings can stay safe during this sensitive time
Easy freeway access and a short drive to Sacramento's hospitals (including Kaiser South Sacramento, UC Davis, Sutter Medical Center, and Mercy General)
We absolutely welcome birth doulas and encourage each family to have a doula.
Do You Offer Water Birth?
Yes! Water immersion in a tub is a safe option for nearly all of our clients, and can be a comfortable way to relax and have reduced pain during your labor and birth. It can also be a way to lower your blood pressure, facilitate labor progress, and reduce the likelihood of perineal tears. We have a labor tub available in each birth suite.
How Do You Monitor Safety at a Birth Center?
Prenatal care visits are scheduled in 60-minute blocks to ensure all of your questions are answered. This also gives the midwife time to take your blood pressure and pulse, measure your growing belly, and determine the position of your baby. We use a stethoscope, fetoscope (a special stethoscope for hearing the fetal heart beat), a handheld doppler, and/or occasionally a bedside ultrasound to carefully determine how your baby is doing.
During labor, we routinely check each client's vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, temperature) every four hours or more frequently if there is a need. We use a handheld doppler to monitor your baby's heart rate every 15-30 minutes in active labor and every 5-15 minutes during pushing. Using a handheld doppler for fetal monitoring is proven to be effective, and usually does not restrict your ability to move freely and use water for pain relief. We are able to offer intravenous fluids and some medications, but we do not use IVs unless there is a reason. Our clients are encouraged to eat and drink throughout labor and immediately following the birth.
A freestanding birth center cannot safely offer epidurals or medicine to intensify labor, both of which require continuous fetal monitoring. We can use antibiotics to prevent GBS infection. We also have medicines to facilitate the delivery of the placenta and reduce postpartum bleeding. We have local anesthetic available for stitches if you need them. We also offer nitrous oxide, which can be used for relaxation and pain management. We have oxygen, and have devices to perform suctioning. These interventions are not routine in our practice.
Following the birth, we immediately place newborns skin-to-skin with the client. Clients and newborns usually remain skin-to-skin as long as desired. All routine procedures (such as monitoring heart rate, respirations, and temperature) are performed without interrupting skin-to-skin contact. Before you go home from the birth center (3-5 hours after the birth), we clamp and cut the umbilical cord and conduct a head-to-toe newborn exam. At this time we offer the Vitamin K shot and erythromycin eye ointment. Following the birth, the midwife will visit you and your baby at home at 24 hours, 72 hours, and 1 week in order to conduct additional assessments, provide infant feeding support, and complete routine blood tests. Additional checkups take place at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 6 weeks in our office or in your home. You and your newborn are within the midwife's scope of practice as a primary care provider to 6 weeks postpartum, and having a pediatrician see your well baby is optional (not required). If your baby is unwell, your midwife will facilitate a referral to a pediatrician. All clients are welcome to schedule additional postpartum office visits, gynecological visits, and family planning visits on an as-needed basis.
What are your statistics at the birth center?
Since we opened in 2018, our clients have the following outcomes (last updated September 2022):
Cesarean Birth: 9% of all clients cared for at WHMS, <6% of clients admitted in labor to birth center Intact Perineum with Vaginal Births: 40% of clients admitted in labor to birth center Perineal Laceration Requiring Sutures: 11% of clients admitted in labor to birth center Gestational Age at Birth 41-42 Weeks: 15% of clients admitted in labor to birth center Active Labor <6 Hours: 45% of clients admitted in labor to birth center Nitrous Oxide Use During Labor: 23% of clients admitted in labor to birth center Neonatal Transfer (Transfer of Newborn Following Birth): 1% of newborns born at birth center Neonatal Resuscitation (Needing to Breathe for a Baby Following Birth): 2.4% of newborns born at birth center Postpartum Hemorrhage: 12% of clients admitted in labor to birth center Manual Removal of Placenta: .5% of clients admitted in labor to birth center Intrapartum Transfer (Transfer from Birth Center to Hospital During Labor): 16% of clients admitted in labor to birth center Postpartum Transfer: .5% of clients admitted in labor to birth center Clients Planning VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean): 31% of all WHMS Clients Successful VBAC: 96% of clients admitted in labor to birth center Waterbirth: 23% of clients admitted in labor to birth center Vacuum-Assisted Birth: 1.5% of clients admitted in labor to birth center (births occurred in hospital)
On average, our midwives spend 60 hours with each family through the course of their prenatal, birth, and postpartum care.
What if I become "High-Risk" during care?
Healthy, clients are able to birth in our freestanding birth center. Occasionally, our midwife may determine that a hospital birth would be safer for an individual client or baby. This determination may be made during the course of prenatal care, or while the client is in labor. We assess each client’s risk status at regular intervals throughout the pregnancy. If a risk factor is identified, your midwife talk with you about recommended hospital-based midwifery and physician practices.
Do I need to also see an OB-GYN?
The Licensed Midwife is a primary provider during your pregnancy and seeing an OB-GYN throughout your care is not necessary for clients within the midwife's scope of practice. Occasionally the midwife may have you consult with a recommended physician in order to clarify whether or not you are a suitable candidate for community birth.
Do You Train Students?
WHCBC serves as a facility where future midwives and future doulas can receive evidence-based, supervised, and supported experiences as they become skilled care providers. While our programs include students, the participation of students (just as with any other providers) is determined by the client's comfort level and birth plan.
Should I Have a Doula or take a Childbirth Class?
Yes and yes. Our midwives strongly encourage you to choose a doula and enroll in a childbirth class. Your midwife can direct you to both.
Do You Accept Insurance?
Yes, we accept many major insurance plans and we accept Medi-Cal. For instructions on verifying your benefits (finding out what your insurance plan will cover and what you are expected to pay), please watch our orientation video (above).
What is Welcome Home's position on diversity, equity, and inclusion?
Welcome Home seeks to be an inclusive and welcoming environment that is accessible to our clients and their families. We strive to provide culturally appropriate and reflective care that both preserves and enriches the communities we serve. We work to make our practice, facility, and training programs accessible as possible and we invite you to share your feedback about anything more we can do to meet your needs.