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Woman and newborn at Geneva Woods Birth Center

Geneva Woods Birth Center in Anchorage

Anchorage’s first nationally accredited birth center

At Geneva Woods Birth Center, our mission is to meet the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of our clients, and to provide the physical space – whether in the birth center or hospital - where women can trust in birth and in the power of their own bodies. 

Birthing at Geneva Woods Birth Center

Geneva Woods Birth Center at The Nest is a ‘closed facility’ meaning that only our midwives have privileges, so having your doctor or your midwife from another practice deliver your baby at Geneva Woods Birth Center is not an option. Our practice does accept transfers of care, even in the third trimester, as long as we have enough time to establish a trusting relationship.

Can I give birth at The Nest?


You are the perfect candidate for giving birth at The Nest if:

  • You are low-risk

  • You plan a natural birth without medication

  • You are between 37-42 weeks pregnant

  • You have a normal pregnancy without complications

  • You have good support at home

  • Your labor progresses normally


That’s it. It’s pretty simple. It’s safe for most women to have their baby in a birth center because 85% of women are low risk. 


Waterbirth is becoming increasingly popular throughout the US, and for good reason! Warm water is soothing and comforting, and quite effective as a pain management tool in natural birth.

Is It Safe?


There has been a lot of controversy surrounding waterbirth in the last few years, with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issuing a 2014 Opinion Statement denouncing the practice as ‘experimental’ and suggesting it should only be offered in the context of clinical trials. The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), American Association of Birth Centers (AABC), and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) all disagree with this position, and have endorsed it as a safe, evidence-based option.

Read more about the evidence on the safety of water birth.

Laboring and Birthing Tubs


While all three major hospitals in Anchorage have at least one tub, they are strictly for laboring only, and women are prohibited from giving birth in them. Therefore, a birthing center or your home are the only places where you can have a water birth in Anchorage.

Our Birth Center

waiting room at Geneva Woods Birth Center

Family Room

Our family area is cozy and comfortable. We have toys and books for kids, and a microwave, hot pot, coffee machine and fridge for family use. We encourage women to eat and drink freely in labor as well as before going home with their newborn.

Hummingbird birthing room at birth center

The Hummingbird Room

The Hummingbird Room faces East 42nd, and with its higher ceilings and large windows it is by far the lightest and airiest room - but can also be made very cozy with the shades drawn and the fireplace-style heater turned on.

Hummingbird birthing room shower at birth center

The Hummingbird Room Bathroom

The Hummingbird Room bathroom features a large shower with an endless supply of hot water, as well as a bidet.

Swallow birthing room at birth center

The Swallow Room

The Swallow Room has its own shower and private restroom. We do ultrasounds and non-stress tests in here, as well as breastfeeding support visits, and we can also use it as a "step down" room for families wishing to stay a little longer than normal after discharge.

Room with birthing tub at birth center

The Ptarmigan Room

The Ptarmigan Room has a queen bed, tub, and bathroom with shower and bidet. This room is comfortable and cozy, with a south-facing view of the many trees that surround our birth center. Patients love The Ptarmigan Room’s egg-shaped tub. It's the perfect size and shape for laboring and giving birth in comfort.

Ptarmigan birthing room shower at birth center

The Ptarmigan Room's Bathroom

The Ptarmigan Room also has a shower and bidet. Using a birth ball in the shower is a great way to ease the intensity of the contractions and also opens up the pelvis.

Pain relief in birth center Ptarmigan Room

The Nitronox Unit in the Ptarmigan Room

We added an electric fireplace heater to the Ptarmigan room as well, since it proved so popular in the Hummingbird room. The Nitronox unit can go into either room, bringing relaxation and relief during those tough moments in labor where you "hit the wall." Nitrous has no effects on baby and it is cleared from mom's system in a matter of minutes after breathing room air. It has been widely used in Europe for labor pain relief for close to four decades, so its safety and efficacy is well-documented.

Neopuff Infant Resuscitation at Anchorage birth center

Neopuff Infant Resuscitation System

We are the only birth center in Anchorage with a "Neopuff" infant resuscitation system. This is what major hospitals use, as it allows for greater control of the pressure into the baby's lungs as well as the ability to mix oxygen and room air in any proportion desired. Fewer than 1% of infants require resuscitation, but if and when the need arises, we provide the best system available.

Happy meditating woman

Freedom to Move & Take Your Time

happy pregnant woman

Evidence-Based Care

meditating woman in flower

Birthing Tub & Warm Shower

meditating breathing woman

Natural Pain Management

birth center mom with newborn

Immediate Bonding With Baby

Our Birth Approach

Nationwide Recognition for Birth Centers

The safety and care quality of nationally accredited birth centers is well-documented. While research has been conducted on birth center safety and outcomes since the 1970’s, many major breakthroughs in nationwide recognition of birth centers have been more recent.

In 2006, the American Association of Birth Centers asked its accredited birth center members to collect data on outcomes for the second National Birth Center Study which was published in 2013. Geneva Woods Birth Center is proud to have been part of the study, along with 78 other accredited birthing centers across the country. Just recently in 2015 the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) formally integrated birth centers into their Uniform Levels of Care designations.

Obstetric Intervention Rates

The 2013 study demonstrates the safety of the midwifery-led birth center model of collaborative care as well as continued low obstetric intervention rates, similar to previous studies of birth center care. In this study that encompassed approximately 15,000 births nationwide at nationally accredited birth centers shows the risk of bad outcomes for low-risk women to be the same as those for the hospital. What this basically means, in plain English, is that nationally accredited birth centers can achieve the same level of safety for low-risk women and their babies as a hospital can, without the use of as many medical interventions, and with a much higher rate of satisfaction with their experience for the women and their families.

Neopuff Infant Resuscitation at Geneva Woods Birth Center

Geneva Woods Birth Center has a Neopuff Infant Resuscitation machine. This is the same equipment found in most hospitals, which is used to help a newborn breathe. In addition to this safety feature, everyone on our staff is trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and neonatal resuscitation. We hold staff drills 4 times each year to practice our skills should they ever be needed. In addition to being prepared to assist a newborn with breathing, many prospective parents want to know how we handle emergencies like excessive maternal bleeding after childbirth. We have IV fluids and three different medicines to help control bleeding. We don’t use them routinely, but if bleeding is excessive they are available in our birth center. We take safety very seriously!

Our Cesarean Rates

Geneva Woods Birth Center has an overall cesarean section rate of 4%. This means that of all the women who started labor at the birth center, only 4% have ended up with C-sections. This is data collected over the 13+ years we have been open. The national C-section average is 32%, with the overall C-section rate at Providence being 34.9%, but 50% for first-time moms.

For clients choosing hospital birth (or developing risk factors before labor and becoming ineligible for the birth center), our cesarean rate has remained under 10%. Our midwives take care of clients with intermediate risk factors such as mild hypertension, [diet-controlled] gestational diabetes, bleeding disorders and on occasion twins, so the risk of cesarean is greater when women have other risks. Our cesarean rate matches up with what is predicted and expected for safe care according to many national organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO).  According to the WHO, a cesarean rate below 10% may indicate underutilization, and a rate over 15% indicates over-utilization.

Myths Surrounding ‘High-Risk’

There are many myths out there as to what constitutes a high-risk pregnancy. Many women believe (and this belief is often fostered and perpetuated by physicians) that they are high risk because they are over 35 years old, or have had 1st trimester miscarriages - whether it be one or several. Many women also believe that if they had to use fertility drugs or techniques to get pregnant, they have a high-risk pregnancy. None of these are high-risk conditions. Neither is having ovarian cysts or having a personal history of cancer. None of these conditions would risk you out of the care of CNMs, OR out of having your baby at a birth center, if that is what you desire.

What “High-Risk” Really Means

The women who are truly too high risk for a birth center are:

  1. Having a breech baby (that was not successfully turned)

  2. Have a history of a previous cesarean section (the state won’t allow VBACs in birth centers)

  3. You have a clotting or bleeding disorder, or are severely anemic

  4. You develop preeclampsia or high blood pressure this pregnancy

  5. You have twins

  6. The placenta is covering your cervix or you have unexplained heavy bleeding

  7. You have too much or not enough amniotic fluid surrounding the baby


These lists aren’t meant to include every high-risk condition, so if you have any questions, please call us. Certified Nurse Midwives can take care of patients with some of the conditions listed above, and can attend their birth in the hospital.

What is a “Normal” Labor?

What constitutes a “normal labor curve”, or in other words, how long should a woman’s labor last? There are many factors that determine the length of labor. Some of the most important factors are:

  1. Fetal positioning-labor is usually longer when babies are face up

  2. Genetics: If your family history (mom and sisters) is for fast labors, you may have a fast labor also.

  3. Preparation: Women who are relaxed and prepared generally have shorter labors

  4. Level of fitness: women who exercise and keep their pregnancy weight gain down will typically have slightly shorter labors

  5. Condition when labor started: Being well rested and hydrated help labor move along

  6. Epidurals and sedation may slow down labor

  7. Being induced generally results in a longer labor compared to labor starting on its own


Read an excellent article on the increase in the diagnosis of “failure to progress.”

See the actual length of labor in stages.

Each Woman is Different

At Geneva Woods Birth Center, we understand that labor is different for each woman. We have been fortunate to have cared for many women who have three to four babies with us and we know that each labor can be different for individual women.

We don’t have hard and fast rules about when someone isn’t progressing enough and needs to go to the hospital. Progress is sometimes measured in cervical thinning, or the baby turning her head and dropping lower. We won’t expect you to dilate 2 cms every hour according to some medical curve developed in the 1950’s… But there are ranges of normal, and if your labor is stalling out, we more than likely will try some natural ways to encourage your uterus along. We may use herbs, a breast pump, IV hydration, a nap, sterile water papules or other techniques to get more efficient contractions.

If we have exhausted these natural techniques, the decision to transfer to the hospital is a shared decision with you and your midwife. We have hospital privileges and can take you there without interrupting your care, but we strive to preserve the birth center experience if at all possible, and don’t transfer you unnecessarily or against your will.

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