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​BirthWise Birthing Center

Family-Centered Maternity Care in a Homelike Setting

Deaconess BirthWise is a safe, comfortable alternative to the traditional hospital maternity environment available at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital.

What is Deaconess BirthWise?

BirthWise is a birthing center that supports the natural-childbirth experience desired by many women. As the only in-hospital birthing center in Spokane, we deliver family-centered maternity care in a comfortable, homelike setting.

Patients who receive routine prenatal care with a qualified provider, meet eligibility requirements and desire a non-medicated birth experience can choose to deliver at BirthWise. It is a safe and comfortable alternative to the traditional hospital maternity environment, and includes:

  • Three newly remodeled birthing suites, each with hydrotherapy tub and shower
  • Periodic monitoring (intermittent auscultation) of the baby's heart rate with Doppler ultrasound
  • Rocking chairs, birth stools, birth balls, TENS units
  • Family room with refrigerator and microwave oven

Childbirth is a positive and normal experience, but emergencies can arise without warning. As an in-hospital birthing center, BirthWise offers immediate access to full medical support if necessary. You can take comfort that your safety and the safety of your baby is our first priority at all times. At Deaconess BirthWise, you still have the freedom to make important decisions regarding your birth experience, but can relax knowing that you are just seconds away from the latest technology — including a Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Is BirthWise Right for My Delivery?

Healthy women of any age with low-risk, uncomplicated pregnancies can give birth at BirthWise. The following eligibility criteria are designed to keep you and your baby safe:

  • Take a prepared childbirth class or have previously had a successful un-medicated birth (exceptions to this only at the discretion of your provider)
  • Take a BirthWise Tour
  • Be expecting a single baby
  • Baby is head down (not breech)
  • No prior C-sections (VBAC births are safest with continuous monitoring, which is not available at BirthWise)
  • Labor begins between 38 weeks and 42+ weeks of pregnancy
  • Mother does not have gestational diabetes and is not taking medication for uncontrolled chronic illnesses
  • Mother does not smoke cigarettes, vape nicotine or use other drugs, including marijuana
  • Prenatal test results do not indicate a need for fetal monitoring
  • Mother is receiving routine prenatal care from a provider-oriented with BirthWise
  • Pre-pregnancy BMI (Body Mass Index) <35
  • No other medical conditions that require extra maternal observation
  • Mother has a provider chosen to care for the baby and a plan for follow-up within 24-48 hours after discharge (baby’s provider must be aware of this plan)

Transfers During Labor

During your delivery at BirthWise, there may be medical reasons that make the Deaconess Labor & Delivery Unit the best place for you to give birth. Some of those reasons include:

  • Your labor begins before 38 weeks
  • Your labor needs to be induced or does not begin before 42 weeks
  • You need to receive labor-augmenting medication such as Pitocin (which requires your contractions and baby’s heart rate to be continuously monitored)
  • You decide to receive an epidural or narcotic medication for pain relief
  • There are concerns about the health of the baby or mother that require continuous monitoring (such as fetal heart rate or a maternal condition)

Your midwife or doctor will remain your primary care provider during transfers from BirthWise to Labor & Delivery and will continue to care for you until you are discharged. If the need for a C-section arises or other complications occur, a doctor will manage your care and your midwife will provide support throughout your hospital stay.

Criteria for Discharge

The estimated length of stay after delivery at BirthWise is six to 12 hours. This gives us time to ensure that both mom and baby are stable enough for discharge home and gives the nursing staff time to assist with baby’s first feedings. Mother and baby are ready for discharge when:

Mother

  • Vaginal flow and postpartum pain is controlled
  • Able to eat and drink
  • Able to urinate
  • Able to walk around the room without feeling dizzy

Baby

  • Two successful feeds
  • Urination
  • Stable vital signs
  • Physical exam completed by a provider credentialed to perform newborn exams (if your provider is a Certified Nurse-Midwife s/he can do this for your newborn)
  • Testing recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is completed and/or started per their recommendations
  • Agreement to return with baby at 24 hours of age for other necessary AAP tests and follow-up

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any limits on who can be with me during labor?

This is your choice. Partners, children, parents, siblings, and doulas are all welcome. We encourage you to choose people who will support you and your choices during labor. Please understand that we do not provide childcare at BirthWise. All younger children with your party must have a responsible adult to care for them. And please, no pets.

Is there any other reason I would not be eligible for BirthWise?

BirthWise is for healthy women who are having low-risk, uncomplicated pregnancies. Most women are eligible, but there are certain medical conditions that require women to give birth in our Labor and Delivery suite.

What if I am Group B Strep positive and need antibiotics during labor?

You may still deliver at BirthWise if you are Group B Strep positive. Your nurse will start an IV saline lock upon your arrival and administer your antibiotics in the birth center. Patients may labor and birth in BirthWise but must stay 24 hours, if they’ve received two doses of antibiotics, and 48 hours if they have not received two doses.

Will I get help with breastfeeding if I deliver in the birth center?

Yes, all postpartum patients have access to our experienced breastfeeding-friendly nursing staff, as well as dedicated lactation consultants.

Is there a time when all the BirthWise rooms are full and unavailable?

There is a small chance that the BirthWise rooms might be full. If this does happen, you will go to Labor & Delivery and be cared for by your provider. We do our best to create a birth center atmosphere in our Labor & Delivery Unit and give you as many of the BirthWise options as possible in Labor & Delivery. After giving birth, and a short recovery time, you and your baby will be transferred to the Mother-Baby Unit where your provider will continue to care for you until your discharge home.

I want a natural birth and am concerned that this will not happen if I am in a hospital setting. Can you reassure me?

We understand your wish to give birth without interventions and will do our best to help you in that goal. We will listen to your requests and act as partners in your care. There are times, however, when birth does not go according to plan, and part of our job is to guide you as your labor progresses, making recommendations for the wise and respectful use of interventions. Our midwives have a consulting OB/GYN available should there be a need to involve them in your care.

Can I have a water birth?

Unfortunately, BirthWise is not currently approved or credentialed for a water birth. You can labor in our tubs, and many women find this extremely helpful.

Can I have pain medicine in the birth center?

BirthWise is designed to support your choice in a non-medicated labor and delivery. You can use hydrotherapy, TENS units, birthing balls, birthing stools, massage, walking and breathing techniques for pain management. Narcotic pain medication and epidurals are not used in BirthWise because they require increased monitoring of you and your baby.

Supplies You May Wish to Bring with You to BirthWise

For mom: Relaxation material (aromatherapy, and so on), slippers or flip flops, pillow, any herbs or essential oils that you prefer, honey sticks, lip balm, suckers or hard candy, yoga mat, gum or mints, comfortable pajamas/robe with easy nursing access, nursing bra, breast pads, comfortable clothes to go home in and toiletries. Please remember, nothing flammable is allowed at BirthWise.

For partner: Toiletries, change of clothes, healthy snacks, pillow, swimsuit, music, cell phone/camera and chargers, and student materials from birthing class.

For baby: Blanket, newborn clothes, diapers (if using cloth), infant car seat, baby book or canvas for footprints.

Contact Us

To learn more about whether BirthWise is a delivery option for you, please contact our OB Admissions Coordinator at 509-688-4792

Schedule a Tour

We personally invite you to see for yourself our high-quality standards of comfort and care.

See our tour calendar and schedule your visit.