What are my birthing options in Anchorage?
Can I choose which hospital to have my baby at? What is a birthing center? Do I need a doctor and a midwife? What is a doula and do I need one? So many questions. So many choices….. which is a good thing! You’re in luck – Anchorage has a variety of options to choose from for your birthing locations. I will give a brief overview of what’s available in Anchorage. As you make plans for the birth of your baby, I’m sure you will find what you are looking for.
Here in Anchorage, there are four hospitals with birthing centers and full maternity services (click on the hospital you’re interested in):
Providence Hospital, Alaska Regional Hospital, the Alaska Native Medical Center and the military hospital on JBER, open for military families only. Providence and Regional are open to anyone. To receive care at ANMC, either you or the father of your baby must be an eligible native. To deliver at JBER, you or your husband must be military.
All of these hospitals offer tours for prospective parents (virtual for now, but in-person prior to COVID) and you can find information on their websites. During these tours, many of your questions will be answered, and you’ll have an opportunity to ask any additional questions.
Most of the obstetrical offices in Anchorage employ both obstetricians and midwives, who work together to take care of you and baby. Sometimes you will see the obstetrician for prenatal care, and sometimes the midwife. Ask your provider if one or both will attend the birth of your baby and if you get a choice. Often there is a call roster and you don’t get to choose the person who delivers your baby. It will usually be someone you have already met during your prenatal visits.
If you are interested in delivering your baby in a non-hospital setting with a midwife, contact one of these birthing centers to see if you are eligible.
Many of these birth centers accept Denali Kid Care/Medicaid as well as most insurances. Be sure to ask them about your specific insurance when you call. Here are several birthing options listed here in Anchorage: Haven Midwifery, Geneva Woods Birthing Center, One Family Birth Center, Anchorage Birth Center. More are being added, so a quick a web search of “midwife anchorage” or “birth center near me” will let you know if there are any new options.
All pregnancies are different and some women are not good candidates for non-hospital deliveries. Your midwife or obstetrician will help you make this decision. Pre-existing conditions or pregnancy complications may require the attention of an obstetrician for your baby. This may require additional services only available at a hospital. Your midwife will help you make this decision or in an emergency will make the decision for you.
Wondering what is a doula?
A doula is a person who assists you during labor and deliver by coaching and encouraging you and your partner. A doula is hired privately and is there to assist you, but not offer medical care. You will still need an obstetrician and/or midwife to oversee the delivery. Ask your friends for a referral or do a web search to find someone in your area if you are interested in this extra help.
If you are struggling to make decisions about prenatal care, one of our nurses would be happy to talk to you. Please call 337-9292 or contact us for an appointment. If you require a proof of pregnancy for ANMC so that your native partner can apply for benefits on behalf of you and baby, we can assist you.