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Birth Center (Natural Childbirth)

The Birth Center, one of the birthing options at UC San Diego Health, supports the natural birth experience desired by many women. As one of the only in-hospital birth centers on the West Coast, we deliver family-centered maternity care. It's a safe and comfortable alternative to our traditional hospital maternity environment.

Patients who receive their prenatal care with our Nurse Midwifery Service and meet eligibility requirements can choose to have their babies in Birth Center rooms at Jacobs Medical Center. This includes:

  • Spacious birthing suites (furnished with double or queen beds) 
  • Hydrotherapy shower or tub
  • Rocking chairs

Labor Support and Pain Medication

Our certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are specialists in labor support techniques that can help women give birth with little or no pain medication. These techniques include:

  • Walking during labor
  • Hydrotherapy (shower or tub)
  • Birth stools
  • Birth balls
  • Breathing techniques
  • Massage
  • Music
  • Women delivering in the Birth Center or Labor & Delivery can also request a volunteer doula. If a doula is available, she will provide continuous one-on-one support throughout labor, delivery and the postpartum period.

Should the need arise, intravenous fluids and pain medication are available. If the pain is too challenging, or if a complication should arise, the option of transferring to a Labor & Delivery room for epidural anesthesia or more intensive medical care is available. Regardless of whether care is provided at our Birth Center or in Labor & Delivery, each mother will continue to have the support of her midwife throughout her delivery and postpartum period.

Keeping You and Your Baby Safe: Why Choose An In-Hospital Birth Center?

Ready for the Unexpected

After a low-risk pregnancy and birth in our Birth Center, Sarah Johnston learned her newborn had an unforeseen heart complication. Alert care providers and our Level III NICU kept him safe.

Read their story

Birth is a positive and normal experience, but emergencies can arise without warning. Laboring women can take comfort that their safety and the safety of their babies are greatly increased with immediate access to full medical support.

Our Birth Center rooms provide an alternative to home birth or an out-of-hospital birthing center. You will still have the freedom to make important decisions regarding your birth experience, but can relax knowing that you have the support of our NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) teams if necessary. 

We offer NICU care at both of our hospitals, including: 

  • Level II Intermediate NICU at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, for babies who require short-term intensive care after birth
  • Level III NICU at Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla, for babies who require critical or more complex medical care

Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla 


See your options for delivering at Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla, including our Labor & Delivery and Birth Center rooms.

Information and Appointments

Delivery Location

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