Congratulations! You are having a baby! Now comes the list of all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) things to plan for. One of the things on your list will be where to have your baby. My mom had all five of her children in a hospital. Each experience was different, but that was where she felt most comfortable. My Grandma had some of her children in a hospital and some in her home, but this was more because she had to rather than she wanted to.
Now, however, there are so many ways and places to deliver your baby. Today I’m going to focus on the places. They all have “reasons to do them” and “things that can interfere”, but they are all places that are common to have babies.
Reasons to do it:
- Wanting to give birth in a familiar, relaxing environment with people you love.*
- You have control of labor position and birthing process, and what you do while you wait.
- Ability to have birth without medical intervention (ex: pain medication).
- Cultural or religious beliefs or norms.
- History of fast uncomplicated labor.
- Lower cost.
- If you have diabetes, chronic hypertension, a seizure disorder, or any chronic medical condition.
- If you have had a C-section.
- If you develop a pregnancy complication (ex: Preeclampsia).
- If you are having multiples or if your baby doesn’t settle into a position that allows for a headfirst delivery.
- If you are less than 37 weeks or more than 41 weeks pregnant.
- ACOG recommends that if you choose a midwife to make sure they are certified through American Midwifery Certification Board. Also ask about qualifications, experience, home births attended, and who her backup OB is.
- Home births can be done by a Midwife or a Doctor.
- If any complications come up you might have to be transferred to a hospital.
Reasons to do it:
- If you have a high risk pregnancy or if you are having a VBAC.
- Access to latest medical technology.
- Traditional-deliver in one room, recover in another, may have a semiprivate room. Baby can go to the nursery while you sleep.
- Family centered- private rooms where you can deliver, recover, and end up in the same room. Baby usually stays with you.
- Hospitals may also offer- childbirth and parenting classes, lactation consultants, certified nurse-midwives, birthing pools or tubs for water births, birthing stools or balls, option to wear your own clothing, option to have family and friends attend birth.
- Hospital staff will check in at any time day or night.
- Compare rates at hospitals you are considering (cost of C-section, Episiotomy, etc).
- Will try to honor your wishes, but your safety and baby’s come first.
- Be aware of different medical or surgical procedures that could happen.
- Have to follow hospital rules (ex:limited number of people in delivery room).
Reasons to do it:
- In-hospital Birthing Center-either in hospital or next to it, offer natural childbirth in home-like setting, really close to expert staff if needed.
- May offer childbirth and parenting classes, lactation support, little medical intervention, and tubs to relax or have water birth.
- Friends and family can attend.
- Home-like environment, private rooms, able to drink and eat what you want
Things that can interfere:
- Minimal medical support- handheld Doppler ultrasound to monitor baby, IV Fluids, Oxygen, Local Anesthesia, Infant resuscitators and Infant warmers.
- Only healthy women with normal pregnancies should give birth at standalone birth center.
- Ask about center’s rates for hospital transfer and what circumstances would require a transfer.
- Find out who is the back up OB or Doctor.
- What is the emergency backup plan? What hospital would you go to? How long does it take to get there?
- Do not provide anesthesia. This means no epidural or other type of pain management.
- Make sure the center and staff are licensed by the state and accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Birth Centers.
Wherever you decide to deliver your baby, make sure it is right for you. Doing research and having a birth plan are good ways to prepare and make the whole process less stressful. If you have questions about these options or pregnancy, call Help Me Grow at 801-691-5322.