The Family Health and Birth Center (FHBC) is a full scope birth center providing prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in NE Washington D.C. FHBC is a special place for pregnant women, children, and their families. We view pregnancy and childbirth as normal, healthy events. We promote wellness and confidence related to birth and parenting. We provide women with care that is respectful and also responsive to their individual needs.
FHBC welcomes all women and their families, with a primary focus on residents of Wards 5 and 6. Our goal is to bring affordable, family-centered maternity, well-woman, and well-child care to all who need it.
FHBC is housed within a larger umbrella organization, the DC Developing Families Center (DCDFC). The DCDFC promotes the empowerment of low-income families through the collaboration of three nonprofit service providers: the Family Health and Birth Center, the Healthy Babies Project (HBP), and the United Planning Organization (UPO).
A unique umbrella organization, DCDFC is the first collaboration model of its kind to offer continuous, uninterrupted care for women and their families during the important childbearing and early child-rearing years. Through DCDFC, women and their families have access to the healthcare services offered by the FHBC as well as to childcare services through UPO and a wide array of family planning and other services through HBP.
Specifically, services offered by the Family Health and Birth Center include:
Prenatal Care/Childbirth Education:
Regular visits during pregnancy help women monitor their health and the health and growth of their babies. At each prenatal visit, FHBC helps women learn about their bodies, their babies, and the choices they have in their care. Included in this care is a series of group Childbirth Education Classes attended by moms who are due within the same month. The classes provide an opportunity for expecting moms to sympathize and share information while participating in a themed activity such as prenatal yoga.
Prevention of Premature Delivery:
FHBC believes that women themselves play the most important role in preventing their babies from being born too soon or too small. During a woman's prenatal care, we help the woman to understand the warning signs of premature delivery, and talk with her about what she can do to help her baby be born healthy.
Labor and Birth Care:
FHBC is a fully-equipped, free-standing birth center with trained nurse-midwives and doulas on staff. Whether a woman has her baby in our center or delivers in a hospital, an FHBC nurse-midwife and doula are there to provide support and encouragement, and to help the woman gently welcome her baby into the world. The baby's father, as well as other family members and friends, may participate in the birth to the extent that the mother wishes.
Postpartum Care and Follow-Up:
FHBC teaches women about the changes they and their babies will go through after birth. We teach women about baby care, feeding, and parenting. Even after the birth, FHBC staff remain available to help.
Breastfeeding Peer Counselors:
As part of our effort to improve pediatric outcomes in the population we serve, FHBC has introduced a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program designed to increase breastfeeding rates by empowering women throughout the breastfeeding process. Our peer counselors are all women who have successfully given birth and breastfed with FHBC and are thus in an ideal position to help other women do the same.
FHBC offers yearly physical exams for women of all ages, including Pap tests and breast exams. HIV and other STD testing and treatment are available. We provide birth control in the form of condoms, pills, shots, the patch, IUDs, and other methods. Women receive diagnosis and treatment related to general gynecological problems, and may request care for "change of life" symptoms (hot flashes, mood swings, heavy bleeding, etc.).
FHBC provides yearly physical exams for children, as well as specific exams for day care, school, and sports. Services include well-baby/well-child care, sick-baby/sick-child care, and youth/young adult health care (to age 21).