Not long ago, pregnant women had few choices about where to give birth. These days, women have more choices than ever. You can have your baby:
- At a hospital with the doctors and services you like (though some may be far away depending on where you live)
- At home with the help of a midwife
- At a birthing center
Hospital birth has some rewards
Most mothers still give birth in the hospital, often for good reason:
- You most likely won't have to be taken anywhere else if you need urgent care
- C-sections can only be done in hospitals
More and more women who want to have the safe feeling of a hospital birth with the privacy and comfort of a home birth choose a birthing center. Birth centers are:
- Staffed by midwives and doulas (birthing helpers) who work closely with doctors if you need urgent care
- Designed to give healthy women with normal pregnancies the chance to have their babies in a more home-like setting
- Mainly focused on childbirth without drugs and most often don't do any surgery or give epidural anesthesia
- Sometimes are located next to or within a hospital, but more often are free-standing
If you're thinking about using a birthing center, you'll want to do some homework long before the big day.
- Birthing centers vary depending on each state's laws
- They can also differ in their own philosophies, including their thoughts about pain
Good birthing center questions
- Are the birthing aides licensed doctors or nurses?
- Is the center licensed?
- What happens if there are problems?
- How far away is the hospital?
- How many women have to be taken to a hospital and how often are those situations emergencies?
Some women want to have their baby at home because it feels more normal, but home births are not for everyone.
- Even though more women are doing it, less than one percent of American babies are born at home
- The American Congress of obstetrician s and Gynecologists (ACOG) opposes home birth
- ACOG says that birth calls for "standards of safety which are provided in the hospital setting and cannot be matched in the home"
- An ACOG study said that babies born at home may be twice as likely to die during delivery
- The same study said that it is very unsafe to try a vaginal delivery at home after having had a C-section before
The dangers of home birth
- Home birth isn't a good idea if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or are likely to go into premature labor
- Both you and your midwife should be ready to go to the hospital if your labor isn't going well or your baby seems to be in pain
- Try to use a midwife who has a relationship with a medical practice so you have back up in case you need urgent care
Whether you decide to have your baby at home, in a hospital or in a birthing center, some planning now can help you have the birth that's right for you.
[references] Copyright © 2010 LimeHealth