I know a little bit about birth after having experienced it twice. What I know to be undeniably true is that birth is (1) rather messy and (2) reliably unpredictable.

When confronted with the image of one’s placenta being deposited on your living room floor or with one of the 101 things that could possibly go wrong actually going wrong, for many people, home birth involves too much cleaning and too many “what ifs” — and is quickly taken off the table.

However, for many women, giving birth in a hospital conjures up feelings just as intense. Whether it’s due to a previous traumatic experience, the desire for little-to-no intervention, or the hope of spending less money out of pocket than one would at a hospital, seeking alternative birth options is becoming increasingly common.

Since its doors opened last November, Baby+Co., a boutique birth center located on Providence Road in the heart of Elizabeth, has provided one alternative option for expecting mothers in Charlotte and surrounding areas. Its staff of certified nurse midwives (CNMs) provide not only labor and birth services, but also personalized clinical care including various forms of contraception, extended education and wellness support, as well as newborn, breastfeeding and postpartum care.

In less than a year, Baby+Co’s 6,000-square-foot center has welcomed more than 60 babies into the three light-filled suites with hardwood floors, deep egg-shaped soaking tubs and oversized showers — rooms that could easily be mistaken for a West Elm showroom, by the way. They also have two classrooms used for workshops and prenatal exercise classes.

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Midwifery is often seen as an unconventional route in the Western world. As Stephanie Godfrey, one of the birth center’s CNMs pointed out, choosing midwifery care as a birth option is hardly revolutionary, though it isn’t necessarily the best approach for everyone.
Godfrey said, “We believe that all women need a midwife. It’s just that some of us need a doctor, too.”
Currently, VBACs (vaginal birth after Caesarean) are not allowed at the birth center, nor are births involving other life-threatening pregnancy complications; other extenuating circumstances are decided on a case-by-case basis. In those instances, Baby+Co will often refer those particular patients to colleagues at Providence OBGYN.
With another 200 newborns expected to make their debut in the coming trimesters, is it safe to assume that women and families are catching on to Charlotte’s progression in prenatal care? Godfrey seems to think so.

“This is where the magic happens,” she said, “and I think every expecting mother wants a whole lot of magic.”
Baby+Co131 Providence Road

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