27 answers

What's the Best Hospital to Deliver at for a Natural Birth?

I'd like help choosing a hospital that is most likely to allow a natural birth without unnecessary interventions. From the few questions I asked at my current OB's office, I felt as though she uses "scare tactics" to get you to do what she wants...even about something as simple as whether to be induced at 41 or 42 weeks. I'm afraid I'll be vulnerable to an alarmist, especially during labor, so I want someone who is factual without being overly dramatic or manipulative. (e.g. Instead of "If you don't do X, you're risking the death of your baby" I'd rather hear, "If you don't do X, there's a 5-10% chance of..."). I know part of this is the doctor or midwife I choose, but I also imagine different hospitals have different attitudes (mom-friendly vs. cover-their-butts-at-all-costs) so I want to choose a hospital first, then a doctor.

I've heard that some hospitals have strict time-lines where if you haven't progressed at a certain rate, or you've been in labor for "too long" they want to take steps to speed things along. I'd really appreciate feedback from people on various hospitals in the area.

I'm leaning toward the ABC Center at Providence, but I wonder if I'll be happy with the "regular" side if I'm transferred. Does anyone have any experience with the "regular" Providence vs. other hospitals?

I've also heard from two people that they had a good experience at Crittenton. I wonder if a smaller hospital puts less pressure on the patients to progress at a certain speed (since larger hospitals may need the rooms turned over more quickly)?

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I planned on having my son at the ABC center at Providence but my son was a week late and I had to be induced because the aminiotic fluid was too low. I ended up having a c-section at Providence and the staff was awesome. I had my daughter there just a few months ago (via c-section again) and I just can't say enough good things about it. My doctor was Dr Marback from Metro Partners. She delivered my son and Dr. Lacoste delivered my daughter. They have an office in Livonia and one in Novi...yeah it's a bit of a drive if you live on the eastside, it's totally worth it!!!

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I was at the ABC unit and loved it. I went with Mary Gadbaw-Davis a Mid-Wife from Metro Partners for Women's Health. Awesome care. Loved her and all of the other Mid-Wives from her office. I have not been to the L&D of Providence for delivery but my mom delivered there five times (including my delivery) and loved it. She was always very happy with the care. Of course it is much different as far as the style of care but I am very confident that if you had one of the midwives and if you did have to transfer to L&D that they would make the transition for you feel very smooth. I don't think I could have felt more comfortable than with Mary:)

I would recommend checking in with some Doulas or therapists that specialize in Pregnancy Massage. They may know this answer also. Doulas are best as they assist you throughout your pregnancy and in the delivery room. Some hospitals will welcome them or try to 'out' them. I think they have a good idea on the ones as they are very natural!

Good Luck!

(I do not know of any off hand, but the Center for the Healing Arts does have one. Her name is Mary. Or you can search Local yahoo and research with a few calls.)

well i had my first baby at a birthing center that was in dearborn 11 years ago. it was a pleasant experience. it was warm and nurturing and no problems at all and the methods during contractions are more hands on and really work. the only reason i didnt go with my second child is because they closed the center. however i heard that they are doing homebirths. I do feel like i had a better experience at the center u may want to research on line reputable midwives,etc. u can look in the dearborn area because a lot of other cultures definetly have more resources in this. I have heard that hutzel hospital has a great midwife dept. Good luck

I was on the regular side at Providence for both of my boys. My first (June 06) was C-section under general anesthesia for fetal distress; second (12/07) was a VBAC with an epidural. I LOVED my OB (Metro Partners in Women's Health, Dr. Lacoste was my primary, Dr. Marback delivered #2). The nurses were WONDERFUL & AMAZING on both occasions! I cannot say enough about the staff there - even the housekeeping and food service departments were outstanding.
Best wishes to you - enjoy this journey!

You are a wise woman to be asking these questions and check things out. I had my kids many, many years ago during the natural childbirth craze; now it seems that everyone is getting epidurals; I admire your desire to go with what will work for your family and to look elsewhere when your doctors do not seem to be hearing you. Keep looking - it is SO worth it!

That is so awesome you are doing this wonderful research! A couple things... two of my girlfriends also delivered at Crittenton for this reason. One took the Bradley Method course & thoroughly enjoyed it. From my understanding it gives you so much information and insight to what to expect. The other was overdue and did end up being induced with water breaking and pitocin, but was completely satisfied with her experience & that's what's important.

I delivered our first here in Germany and am convinced that if I had delivered in the US I would have had a C. My labor was 36 hours in all, but my midwife (everyone here gets one) and the hospital I delivered at were VERY patient and not pushy at all with us. I loved it and have even thought about timing it to have just one more here right before we move home. Anyways, this experience has taught me trust my body and to appreciate midwives and that's what I'll be having when we move back & have our other children.

I've looked on the Internet and found some great sites to find a midwife. You can hire to support/advocate for you in a hospital. In my opion this is very important in a hostipal setting. Or you can have the baby in their facilities. I'm sure you'll research it in depth. Here are some links I found.


http://www.nineshortmonths.com/index.html - I found this to be a great site. If you look in the About Us section you can also find other links of interests and other midwifes also.

Some other good reads were Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife, memoir by Peggy Vincent - I couldn't put it down. Also The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence by Judith Lotian. It's not a book on breathing but how your body was made to give birth and all of the natural things it will go through.

Here is some other information you might find helpful. A friend of mine who's a nurse told me the following... "So you want to do the midwife route, which kind of midwife, there are 2 ways, like we see on T.V. all natural in the birthing tubs, or some OB practices have midwifes and you deliver with them in the hospital, but no birthing tub, and you can still use epidural's etc.. A friend of ours is the number 2 midwife, and one of my girlfriends at work delivered that way. I think her practice has 3 midwifes an she only see's the midwife for her appt's. unless something is alarming, then she has to see one of the OB's. She delivered at Troy Beaumont with an epidural, just with a midwife. I know neither Beaumont's have a birthing tub, you have to go to a birthing center for one of those. I know Huron Valley is one in Commerce Township and I think Providence has one in Southfield. I do not think St. John's is one and I know St. Joe's or Henry Ford Macomb as it is now called has one. One thing to look into if you choose birthing tubs, is if there are complication where do you get transfered too. Providence you stay there, but Huron Valley, you are transfered to the DMC."

Hope this helps you. Good luck and best wishes for the delivery of your dreams!

Congrats on your happy news.

I went to Providence ABC and it was great. I too had my OB through Metro Parners. They really support the natural birthing way. If you feel your doctor is going to push you into having your baby in some way other than how you want to, then maybe you need to switch doctors. I would do it now instead of later.

You do only have 24 hours from the time you are admitted to the ABC to have the baby otherwise they will switch you to the regular L&D rooms. Then once the baby is delivered you have 24 hours from that point to leave the hospital. I wasn't progressing so they put me on a breast pump to naturally kick up the ocitocin instead of pumping me with pitocin to get the contractions going. I still had my baby within the 24 hours and didn't have to go to a regular L&D room.

There are different delivery methods out there. I decided to use the Bradley method and loved it. Start looking around now if you want to find a Bradley instructor near you. They start classes at different points but you need to make sure you will have enough time to complete the classes (I think it was 12 weeks long) before you have the baby.

My sister deliverd both her babies at the regular L&D rooms at Providence and those experiences were great too, although they do monitor you and the baby constantly (i.e. you have a strap around you to monitor baby's heart rate and contractions basically from the time you get there). At the ABC they periodically check the babies heart rate, but you don't have a strap around your stomach. At the ABC I was given food and drink as I wanted it, in the regular L&D you are limited to just ice chips for the entire time you are there.

Good luck.

Hi P. K,

I delivered my daughter just over a year ago at Providence Hospital. I was on the "regular" side and they were wonderful. They spent time with me during my labor and comforted me. It was my first baby and I was scared. I wasn't progressing so they had to induce me with pitocin. They checked on me frequently. When I asked for pain meds I received it without wait. When I received my epidural, I also didn't have to wait. The epidural wasn't painful either.

After I delivered they were great as well. The nurses were amazing and took such great care of me. I felt like it was my mom there when she couldn't be. There was only one nurse who my husband and I did not like. She was a young nurse and not very understanding or friendly. That was the only negative about the experience. We were visited by alot of staff in regards to education and having questions answered. I hope this helps you. Overall, the experience at Providence was a good one. Take care and good luck.

I had my second son at the abc providence. I don't have any experience with the regular side because my birth went according to plan. I would highly recommend it. I went there with a midwife from metro partners in Livonia. It was the best decision I ever made. There was no intervention at all, the labor progressed naturally, I was able to walk around (which actually helps labor progress quicker naturally), get into the tub to help with labor pains. I wasn't hooked up to any machines or given any unneccessary treatments. My midwife told me to "listen to my body", gave me the direction I needed and told me when to start pushing and when to ease up on pushing which helped me deliver drug free without any stitches. I left the hospital the same day (delivered at 7.30am, was home by dinnertime) just as I wanted. Everything was done in the same room aswell, I didn't have to be moved around at all.
I loved having a midwife because it's what I had with my first child in England but I think an OB who delivers at a natural birthing center would be just as good. I did have an OB until I was 30 weeks pregnant and decided I didn't feel quite right with her so I changed to a midwife (the Ob tried scare tactics to keep me as a patient, telling me it was dangerous to change so late because the new carer wouldn't have been with me throughout my pregnancy and didn't know my history well enough). I'm so glad I changed.
Whatever you decide you have to feel comfortable with the hospital and OB/midwife for the birth to be the experience you want.
Good luck, I hope you find what you're looking for and congratulations on your pregnancy.

I've heard great things about ABC from friends who wanted a natural birth. Have you considered the Birth Center in Taylor? It's another option if you'd like a homebirth.

I've heard some poor things about Critenton.

PM if you want more thougths.

The movie is really enlightening. I had a homebirth that was WONDERFUL.. 7 hours TOTAL from beginning to end, no problems.. and we're 5 minutes from Critenton if there was a problem.

As a doula and a mama of 2 soon to be 3, there is no better place (well, except at home) to deliver a baby than at the ABC with the midwives. I've been to many hospitals and with clients who have had many different care providers and the ABC has been awesome. Perfect? No, but great. You get the confort of a home like atmosphere and a fully staffed hospital if needed just on the other side of the door. There is no triage to go through; you get pretty good nurses; the best part: the 2 person hot tub!
Good luck

Dear PJK,
Hi kiddo, I am from "the no drug era!” I have had three children, my first, born at Beaumont, Royal Oak, She was induced at two weeks overdue, so I had to do the "Labor & Delivery thing,” But my experience at Beaumont was nice. The Second one was born at Providence, Southfield. Back then they had a Birthing Center were you could go in a home environment, where you delivered then within 24 hrs. You went home. They also had birthing rooms in the hospital. That is where I delivered, that was very nice, and the staff was good too. The third one was also born in the birthing room there. In fact, I was again going overdue so they went ahead and put me in and broke my water (in the birthing room). I think the rooms in the hospital are a good idea, My son decided to play football on the way out and didn’t tuck his shoulder in so he got stuck, after much manipulation by my Dr. he finally came out. They were able to call emergency Pediatrics to come and check him out, they thought he might have broken his collarbone, Thank goodness, it was only a fracture, but at any case, it was avaible if you need it. So, you get best of both worlds!! A home environment with a hospital back up. In addition, my Dr. is really laid back and will let you do pretty much anything you want. He has been my Dr. for 24 yrs.. He is in his (I think) Late 50's so he has been around long enough to know what he is doing. The only thing, He is very professional, so it takes a long time to warm up to him, but I trust him with my life. If you want his name or want to talk more, E-mail me.
P.S. Go to the Hospitals and visit, they want your business, so, they will show you what they have to offer! In addition, this is your baby, you make the choices, do not let people tell you to do stuff your heart tells you not to!

Hi There!

I delivered at Providence on the "regular side" and I loved it everyone was very nice and attentive and the rooms were nice and switching from the birthing room to my stay room was not as bad as it sounded when they present at the ABC presentation because I too was going to deliver naturally but when my contractions started I changed my mind..LOL

I highly recommend finding a midwife if you're going to deliver at Providence ABC - I recently spoke with a nurse in the ABC and she said that none of the OBs are actually delivering there now that the new Novi Providence is open. They will say they'll deliver at the ABC, but then they'll talk you into going to the Park (Novi). Apparently only midwives are actually going to the ABC!

I delivered at Providence L&D - I had a less than ideal birth, but I didn't really have the support team I needed to get through a regular "hospital" birth, since I thought I'd be at the ABC with a one-on-one nurse.

Have you considered talking with a doula? The research shows that women who have doulas with them at their birth are less likely to desire pain medications, less likely to have a cesarean birth, less likely to have routine interventions, and more likely to be satisfied with their birth experience.

Would you consider a birth center? There's The Birth Place in Taylor and The Greenhouse Birth Center in Okemos. They're both great options.

I think it's wonderful that you've discovered there are other options to a medicalized birth during your first trimester! So many of us end up with a disappointing first birth, and then discover the possibility of natural, normal, intimate, and empowered birth!

Best wishes - contact me if you'd like to talk more about your options!

I think that it is great that you are trying to plan for a "natural birth"; however, keep your options open because your pregnancy/birth may not be as smooth as you imagine it to be.

With my first, they discovered that I had a high pelvic bone and no matter how hard I tried to push or not push - she wasn't coming out - so I ended up with an emergency C after being in labor 20 + hours.

With my second, I planned my C and even though the doctor kept hoping that I could go natural - I knew the C was the best thing. Turned out that I was right because - again - high pelvic bone and due to "high risk status" the more than usual ultrasounds showed that baby couldn't stay head down. He was a wiggler then and a wiggler now!

It was nice having it planned and scheduled. DH had advance notice to give his employer and there wasn't a big rush to the hospital. It was a lot more calm and relaxing than my first. That's what we were striving for.

Also, choose your doctor first. That way you can shop around to find the right fit. You don't want to be stuck with a good OB who works in a crappy hospital.

I gave birth to my first child 2 years ago, completely naturally, at Troy Beaumont. I had a great experience at Troy Beaumont and will deliver my next child there in the spring.

I see the midwives at Oakland-Macomb OBGYN (which is also in Troy, a stones throw away from Beaumont). I think this practice is FABULOUS and I've been recommending it to other mothers in the area. The practice consists of 4 midwives and 6 well-respected doctors.

I was 100% sure that I wanted a drug-free delivery and they supported me every step of the way. I created a birth plan that we followed. I had my husband and 7 other family members/friends in the room supporting me (along with a Beaumont nurse & my midwife).

Troy Beaumont has 2 birthing rooms with Jazzuzi (sp?) tubs that they reserve for midwife patients. I didn't make it to the tub because I progressed too quickly but I plan to try it this time.

The Beaumont nurse did try to discuss "pain management options" i.e. drugs, with me and she pretty much told me I was crazy. She also wasn't too interested in my birth plan. It felt great when I gave birth to a 9lb.+ baby without drugs, I felt like superwomen! My nurse admitted that I proved her wrong!

The main thing is to make sure your doctor/midwife is on the "same page" as you. Choose a provider that has the same beliefs as you do about childbirth. I know all hospitals have their policies that they follow, and although us "natural" moms don't really like it, they probably have our best interest in mind. My midwives encouraged me to labor at home for as long as I felt I could.

Good luck! Send me a message if you have any questions or would like to discuss natural childbirth more.

I had the same issues when I was looking for a place to deliver. I was not happy with my OB either, so I did tons of research. First I will tell you where NOT to go: Oakwood and Beaumont are absolute no-nos for natural deliveries. This is based on actual incidents that happened with family and friends. I ended up going to Hutzel's midwives. This is the oldest midwife training hospital in the state and their c-section rate is very low compared to surrounding hospitals. As a testament to how great and low-pressure they are, I will tell you about my delivery that took place in May. I was two weeks over-due and my midwife said that she would let me go three weeks before seriously discussing other options with me. I did have to be monitored 2x/wk to make sure the baby, placenta and fluid were in good shape. They allowed me to wait 18 hours after my water broke before inducing. And I was in labor 39 hours and 15 minutes before my son was finally delivered vaginally. Granted, my delivery was not as natural as I had hoped (I did not want to be induced), but I was allowed to deliver naturally. Due to the baby being in some distress, a doctor came in and tried to pressure me to agree to a c-section, however my midwife was very supportive and empowered me to refuse a c-section, telling me that even though it appeared that the baby may appear to be in distress, all will be well....and it was. My beautiful son was born totally healthy with apgar scores of 8 and 9. I don't think a baby in real distress would have scores that high. I wish you luck and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

PS: My son was 10 pounds 2 ounces, so don't let people tell you that the baby is "too big" to be delivered naturally. Our bodies are capable of great things...as evidenced by the miracle taking place inside you right now.

I had a wonderful experience at Royal Oak Beaumont. Everyone was so nice and helpful.

P. K -

I had my son at Providence Hospital (Southfield) on the regular side in September 2007. I was treated well from the moment a security officer wheeled a wheelchair out for me and helped my distressed husband at 2 o'clock in the morning, until we left for home three days later. I had a natural birth. The staff suggested I start a Pitocin drip because I'd come to the hospital after my water had broke two hours earlier and I hadn't started feeling contractions yet. I had two shots of Stadol to help with the pain, which I think could have been TOTALLY manageable if I hadn't gotten the Pitocin. I agree with an earlier post, that the atmosphere was very nice. The staff was knowledgeable and nice - I loved my lactation consultant, she was great. And there was a nurse there that made me feel like she was my gramdma because she took such gentle and attentive care of me. The food was okay, but I drank SOOOO much water there - they must infuse it with crack or something because I couldn't get enough of it! :) It was sooo good!

Just talking with the various staff that came and went gave me so much information on caring for our son. Lots of the nurses there were moms themselves, so they helped us out with a lot of questions we had and never seemed too rushed to make sure we were comfortable. The staff laughed, swapped stories, and joked with us like we were family. My only regret is the OB I chose. She was my GYN for two years before I got pregnant, and was great, but she did nothing but infuriate me as my OB, so much so that I dropped her as my GYN after I had my six-week post-baby checkup.

My family and I have moved since then, and we're not as close to Providence Southfield now. We'd pass a dozen other hospitals on the way there. That's the only reason I probably wouldn't go back.

My auntie works in the Medical Center in Detroit and raved about all the upgrades and revamping of Hutzel Hospital. She says the Women's Center is awesome, and definitely worth checking out.

Good luck with your decision! Hope this helps!

The phrasing of your question is wonderful..."choosing a hospital that is most likely to allow a natural birth..."
I believe from the research you have already done, that in your heart of hearts you know that not only is this not likely to happen, but it is an obstetrical oxymoron.
13 years ago I researched just like you did, but did not have the benefit of such great films as The BBB, etc.
I went to Providence ABC with a "medwife".
It was a disaster. I was overdosed with morphine and became unconscious from the OD. I was transferred to the regular hospital. I ended up with a C-Sec. under general anesthesia with my husband forbidden from attending. I didn't see my baby for 26 hours. They kept him in the the NICU "just in case..." for a week. I went home after 3 days with NO BABY to bring home with me.
I encourage you to keep on researching. I encourage you to spend your time really, really learning that your body was specifically designed for all to go well in birthing your baby. Saturate your psyche and your mothering soul with timeless wisdom. Everything else that has been distilled through the media and the AMA is a scare tactic designed to remove any thought that you have personal power in the birth place.
Your baby deserves the safest birth possible. You are on your way to discovering more of these deeper truths.
I honor you for deciding to dig deeply inhto this subject.
Feel free to contact me for more support.
Warmly, C.

Hello- I went through the same thought pattern when I was pregnant. I went to the orientation at ABC in Southfield- but I didn't want the other side. I stayed with my doctor's office in Rochester Hills (whom I love- Contemporary OB/GYN). I delivered at Crittenton and I loved it. The staff was great. Very open to natural births (birth balls and showers in each room) and very helpful. I was induced at 42 weeks and didn't have the birth I planned, but it was great nonetheless. Also- very quick response time when I requested an epidural...

I delivered twice at "regular" Providence and had great expereinces - I ended up with 2 C Sections, but never felt pushed toward that. And after seeingt he size of my boys - (9/9 and 11/11), I realyl felt we all did the right thing :) I have a friend who had 2 births at Providence ABC with very good experiences - she ended up moving to the regular side post birth for the placenta and said that was fine as well.
My only other comment is that, for me, the most important part was feeling really good about our doctor. I felt really comfortable following her advice in the moment because I already knew we hoped for the same outcome and path to get there. So I knew when she recomended the CS, it was a last resort and the best option.
Good luck and congratulations!!


I think it's admirable that you want this baby to have a drug free natural child birth. It shows you've done your homework and really have the highest standard for your new loved one.

You also might want to consider creating a safe and healthy home environment for you and your baby by using products in your home that contain no harsh chemicals or preservatives. All laundry products are baby safe. These are all for about the same price (many are less) than regular store brands.

If you'd like to know more I'd be glad to go over it with you. Just click on "Get More Info" at www.ThisFamilyCounts.com

There's no pressure, just an opportunity for you to learn about this.

I planned on having my son at the ABC center at Providence but my son was a week late and I had to be induced because the aminiotic fluid was too low. I ended up having a c-section at Providence and the staff was awesome. I had my daughter there just a few months ago (via c-section again) and I just can't say enough good things about it. My doctor was Dr Marback from Metro Partners. She delivered my son and Dr. Lacoste delivered my daughter. They have an office in Livonia and one in Novi...yeah it's a bit of a drive if you live on the eastside, it's totally worth it!!!

I haven't had a baby in 25 years, but I don't think the actual birthing has changed in 1000's of years! I do think doctors are a little too happy to push things faster than needed, c-sections are at an all time high and no one wants ANY pain. Any drugs for pain aren't good for you or baby. I was induced once, for my second baby, because my doctor was in some sort of a hurry. I think it might have been Monday Night Football. I was dialating 1 cm an hour...which is normal, and it wasn't fast enough for him. He put me on the Petosin and things went from do-able to ridiculous. The labor was much more intense and my baby went into distress. I demanded to be taken off the drip, baby settled down and all in all I delivered within 4 1/2 hrs...no problem. I would contact a local Le Leche League leader. Those moms usually know about the best "nature's way" doctors and midwives and could really ease your mind. I feel sure you will get a good recommendation from a Mamasource Mom. Congrats and good luck!

Congratulations! What an exciting time this is for you. I'm so glad you have done research. One thing I would start with is making up your birthing plan. Write down exactly what you want during your childbirth and exactly what you do not want. Make sure your husband/birthing coach is in full agreement with you. This is so that if you are busy breathing during the birthing and someone wants to change things on you, you have an advocate on your side who knows what you want.

As for hospitals, I gave birth to my son (first child) at Macomb County General Hospital on 16 and Groesbeck. I had some great nurses there and for the most part, a good experience. I was induced and delivered without pain medication. I didn't really have a plan other than the fact that I did not want pain medication. The consent form scared it out of me, plus I know that if women in third world countries can give birth and immediately go back to the fields, I can certainly give birth without medication in a hospital. This was my thought process going in. So, other than having the worst doctor ever, unfortunately of my own choosing, it was a good experience.

I gave birth to my daughter at the birthing center at Providence Hospital in Southfield. I absolutely loved it. I was able to walk around and they let me try what I wanted to do. I was able to get into the hugh bathtub for a bit. I gave birth on a queen sized bed and was actually able to hold my daughter immediately after she was born. (I didn't get to hold my son until 45 minutes after he was born!) It was sooo wonderful. They didn't interrupt me all night long like my first experience. I can't say enough good things about the birthing center. If you go there and end up being transferred to the other side, I wouldn't worry too much. Your nurses at the birthing center will talk to your new nurses and explain what you would like for your birthing experience.

I hope this was helpful. Good luck with your decision. God bless you and your new family.

I'm interested in the answers here! I'm living in Japan and moving back to FH soon. I've had 2 children here in Japan - one at a birthing center and one at home. I figure my third will be born in MI.

One thing that I do hightly recommend is hypnobirthing. I heard about it by chance and bought the book about it. After reading it I was really interested and found someone teaching classes on it. Hypnobirthing made a huge difference in my labor. My husband didn't think it was time to call the midwife yet, because I was so calm and relaxed (in complete contrast with my first labor).


Good luck!


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