Birth Roots is a freestanding birth center located at 236 F Street in Chula Vista, California. Founded in January of 2010, Birth Roots is in a unique position to help women of San Diego’s South Bay region by providing them with a safe, out-of-hospital option for childbirth.
Caregivers: Birth Roots is staffed with direct-entry midwives; the midwives have served extensive apprenticeships and are very well-trained, although they have not attended formal medical school. Sarah and Darynée have 16 years of birth experience between them. Both are Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) as well as California Licensed Midwives (LM). Both practice the midwifery model of care, sometimes called the physiological model of care.
“We have encountered all common complications of labor and delivery, and several uncommon complications as well. We have supported women through home, birth center and hospital births, including vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), breech, twin, and cesarean birth. We maintain certifications in Neonatal Resuscitation and adult, infant and child CPR.”
There are also several apprentice midwives at Birth Roots, at various stages of their training.
Home Birth: Birth Roots offers home birth services for women who are interested.
Labor/Delivery/Recovery Rooms: Birth Roots has one main birth room, equipped with a spacious birth tub and a comfortable bed. There is a second birth room as well, on the off-chance that there is ever more than one women in labor at the same time. (As of yet, that has not happened.) But the midwives stress that women can labor wherever they so desire in the center; the large bathroom has seen more than one baby born there.
Standard Care During Labor: The midwives monitor both mother and baby once they arrive at the birth center; this includes vitals, fetal monitoring as necessary, and possibly vaginal exams. Mothers are encouraged to eat and drink throughout labor if they desire. For the most part, the midwives to try to be as unobtrusive as possible, letting mother labor however feels best to her. There are not “standard” procedures such as women face in most hospitals; interventions may be performed if necessary, but always on a case-by-case basis. And, as noted before, the midwives opt to try less invasive interventions first. Birth will be attended by at least one of the midwives, plus at least one other assistant, usually one of the apprentice midwives.
Women can birth at the center anytime up to 42 weeks gestation.
VBAC: Birth Roots does accept women desiring VBAC on a case-by-case basis.
Pain Management: Freedom of movement, water (showers & deep tubs), and massage can help women cope with labor pain. The midwives also offer emotional support and a wide range of other comfort measures to help women get through labor. Medication (such as an epidural) is not available at the birth center.
Medical Equipment on Site: Oxygen and IV fluids are kept on site, as well as medications to control postpartum bleeding.
Transfer Rate: When I visited Birth Roots, I was unable to get a specific transfer rate; however, it was emphasized that the overall transfer rate is very low. The midwives are very good at keeping things “on track” even during the prenatal period, and when labor deviates from a “normal” course, they are expert at using less invasive interventions (such as position changes or getting the mother to eat/drink) to get things flowing smoothly again. I was given an estimated transfer rate of well below 10%, but this is not an exact number. The most common reasons for transfer are exhaustion, a need for pain medication, or true failure to progress.
Newborn Procedures: Immediate skin-to-skin is encouraged, and mom and baby are given as much uninterrupted time as possible after birth for bonding. A complete newborn exam is performed by the midwives.
Postpartum Care: Families generally stay at the birth center for 4-6 hours after the birth. The mother is checked out fairly soon after the placenta has been delivered, and will be sutured if necessary. During the first 24 hours, the midwives check in with a phone call to see how mom and baby are doing, although they will come for a visit if needed. There is a home visit on day 2 and again after a week has passed. The week 2 visit may be either at home or at the birth center, and a well-baby/well-mama checkup will follow at around 6 weeks.
Breastfeeding Support: Both of the midwives are certified lactation consultants, and they are committed to helping get breastfeeding started before the new family leaves the birth center. Additional breastfeeding support is available during postpartum appointments, and the midwives are only a phone call away whenever questions or concerns arise.
Accreditation: Midwife Darynée Blount is one of the founding members of the National Association of Birth Centers of Color, to the birth center is certified by that organization. Birth Roots is not, however, accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers.
Fees & Insurance: Birth Roots uses a sliding scale to determine fees. They do accept some PPOs, but currently no HMOs, Medi-Cal, or Tricare.
Birth Roots obviously has a lot to offer to women in San Diego’s South Bay! Go check out their website, www.birthrootsbabies.com, to learn more.
Looking for some personal stories? I do not know anyone personally who has given birth at Birth Roots, but here are some stories and additional reading to start with.
Birth Roots Testamonials
Birth Roots Reviews on Yelp
Our Home Birth Story (attended by midwives from Birth Roots)
Eco-Friendly and Frugal Featured Local Business: Birth Roots
Have you given birth at Birth Roots, or at home with the help of their midwives? Tell your story here!