A natural, life-changing event

young pregnant woman with her partner holding her belly together, life-changing experience, place to give birth, birth plan, postpartum support, prenatal support, lowest C-section rate, dr tara gustilo, dr laura nezworski, natural birth, pain management options

Birth is an intimate and life-changing experience that is different for every mother. To learn how the Birth Center at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) respects and supports that experience with a comprehensive care team, we sat down with Dr. Tara Gustilo and Dr. Laura Nezworski to learn more about what makes The Birth Center a great place to give birth.

What is your overall philosophy on pregnancy, delivery, and birth?

We want you to be well, and your baby to be well; that is our common goal. Each birth is unique and every mother wants to create a birth plan that fits their needs. At The Birth Center at HCMC, our providers respect the natural process and want birth to be a special day, we will keep an eye out for anything that might need special attention and work to understand your preferences so we can respect your wishes and create your ideal experience. If birth is not going as it should or if there is a problem, we will be there and give you the best care and clinical options.

-Tara Gustilo, MD

What kinds of birth experiences are available at The Birth Center?

The Birth Center at HCMC offers mothers a wealth of choices and resources for every stage: pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care. Parents can create the birth experience that works best for them and choose to receive care from midwives, OBs, or family medicine clinicians. These three groups continuously collaborate, so if you would like to explore other options you do not have to find alternative facilities, everything you need is in The Birth Center.

Some examples of available birth options are water births, natural cesareans, and skin-to-skin with cesareans. We also offer a variety of pain management options, including nitrous, aroma therapy, and 24-hour anesthesia. Providers can help you plan for the experience you want, and support you if that plan needs to change.

-Tara Gustilo, MD

What are some of the benefits of having a baby at The Birth Center versus other hospitals?

The Birth Center can support all types of births, from low-risk to high-risk for mothers and babies. We have the lowest C-section rates in the metro area and excellent success with VBAC.  We hold a balance between OB expertise and midwifery compassion that offers two different perspectives to support families. We believe in the inclusion of family members and provide a variety of arrangements for family involvement.

-Laura Nezworski, MD

In addition to birth services, The Birth Center offers prenatal and postpartum support services such as:

  • Lactation consultants
  • Centering groups
  • Meet the midwives and meet the OBs educational sessions
  • Online birth education
  • On-site NICU
  • Mother Baby Program
  • Early childhood family education
  • Inpatient and outpatient acupuncture
  • Physical therapy for pelvic floor disorders
  • Services available through MVNA such as a pregnancy support program, postpartum and newborn home visiting, and long-term home visiting to support families during pregnancy and up to age 3.

We take care of everyone. We work as hard as we can to ensure that everyone, regardless of race or background, receives a healthy, safe, and happy experience – regardless of how you get to us.

-Tara Gustilo, MD

What is your favorite thing about The Birth Center?

My favorite thing is having the privilege of witnessing and supporting the power of the patient’s body. Birth is when the art of medicine comes together with the science of medicine.

-Tara Gustilo, MD

One of my favorite things is the team outcomes from outpatient care to inpatient. We do a great job of managing complicated medical situations and working as a team. Carrying that from the clinic to inpatient and bringing that communication and collaboration all the way through is so rewarding. We have great outcomes by coming together, making a plan, and working with the patient.

-Laura Nezworski, MD

What advice would you give mothers who are choosing between birth facilities?

Parents should think about birth as a medical experience. There are some important things to look at when choosing between birth facilities. Some examples of questions to ask are:

  • If needed, how does transferring care within the hospital happen?
  • What procedures are they good at? What is available/what isn’t?
  • Are mom and baby covered at the highest levels?
  • Is there strong collaboration across providers?
  • What is the blood availability, how many units of blood are kept on hand?
  • What are the hospital’s C-section rates?
  • Do they perform VBACS?
  • What kinds of safety precautions and backup plans are in place?
  • If your baby needs special care, is it available in that hospital? Is there an NICU?
  • What clinical care is provided during birth?

– Laura Nezworski, MD

birth, life-changing experience, place to give birth, birth plan, postpartum care, lowest C-section rate, dr tara gustilo, natural birth, pain management options

Tara Gustilo, MD has special interests in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic abdominal or pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding, fibroids, abnormal pap smears, menopausal concerns, and general women’s health. Dr. Gustilo is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Medical Acupuncture.



birth, life-changing experience, place to give birth, birth plan, postpartum care, lowest C-section rate, dr laura nezworski, natural birth, pain management options

Laura Nezworski, MD thinks of her role as an obstetrician/gynecologist as a bridge to information about women’s health and works collaboratively with her patients to explore solutions that will work best for their own personal needs.

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