MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – More American babies are being born outside of hospitals. Birthing centers are rising in popularity.

It’s a model that uses a home-like environment and the care of a midwife to deliver babies. While most moms choose hospitals in the United States, birth centers are becoming more popular.

Any day now, the Minnesota Birth Center – with Minneapolis and St. Paul locations – will host its 2,000th birth. WCCO went inside the St. Paul location to learn more.

It’s one of the most important decisions a mom will make. For Rebecca Vavilov, mother of 14-month-old Andre, it was a clear choice.

“It was really important to me to experience all of birth and what that looks like from a natural perspective,” Vavilov said.

She chose the Minnesota Birth Center in St. Paul, which does not use pain medication, to facilitate that wish. The center is an inconspicuous building a mile from United Hospital and that’s by design.

“We are trained to notice when things may be going a little abnormally and know when we need to move to the hospital when there’s a critical problem,” said Christy Anderson, a certified nurse midwife.

Anderson is one of 10 midwives on staff. She worked in hospitals for 12 years before joining the Birth Center.

“I love the intimacy of just being able to really be in with the family when they are laboring and just watching women going from being a pregnant woman to being a mother,” Anderson said.

Anderson delivers babies in comfortable and homey suites.

“Having the environment here of having a queen-size bed instead of a hospital bed and more of a comfortable environment versus a hospital, more sterile environment was super appealing to me,” said Lauren Holmer, who gave birth to her son in one of the suites.

She had two of her babies in the bathtub, one of the pain management accessories in the room. Holmer, of St. Paul, had all four of her kids in birth centers. Her youngest had a slower heart rate, so her midwife accompanied her to the hospital.

“As soon as she said it was time to go to the hospital, I was like, ‘Yep, I trust you,'” Holmer said.

And it seems more and more mamas do.

“I look back at my birth and think that was the most incredible experience of my life and I can’t wait to do it again,” Vavilov said.

A physician started the Minnesota Birth Centers in St. Paul and Minneapolis six years ago. The first year, they delivered 42 babies. The past year they delivered 446.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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