You spend about 40 weeks or 280 days being pregnant. Geez that seems so long now that I'm typing it out and looking at it. Anywho, during this time you're busy doing a lot of things but the main thing you are doing is preparing for that big moment. Giving birth! There are quite a few ways this can be done so we want to make the best choice we can when it comes to choosing a place to welcome your new bundle.
We can have c-sections (both planned and unplanned) and we can delivery vaginally, whether it be natural, with the help of medications that help us relax, or VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). We also have the option to give birth at home, in a birthing center, or in a hospital. Deciding where to give birth typically depends on your pregnancy and health.
I never really put much thought into the decision. I always found a doctor who accepted my insurance and just went with it. Not saying my providers weren't good however, knowing what I know now, that I have options, I probably would have done a little more searching before I made a decision. So what needs to be considered with choosing a place to give birth?
Hospitals still seem to be the most common place to deliver. The process in the hospital will typically move mothers from the delivery room to a room to recover once the labor and birth are over. Hospitals have pain medication available (like epidurals) if things get to the point where the mother feels that she needs something to help her through the discomfort she may feel. There is also the option to be induced at the hospital. Medication is given to start contractions if you and your provider agree on it. Doctors are there to help their patients through the labor and delivery process. Different hospitals have different rules about the number of people allowed in the delivery room. During a vaginal delivery up to three people may be allowed in a room.
When I delivered my first two girls, I was only allowed to have two people in the room. For girl number three they let me have three. When you do your hospital tour find out what's allowed and what isn't just so you will know what to expect ahead of time. They also offer birthing classes and prenatal courses to help prepare for the big day. Hospitals now give women the option of giving birth in their own "suite". They can do everything in one room. Hospitals are also the place where c-sections are done. As long as it isn't an emergency one person is allowed in the room where the c-section is performed (usually). Midwives are also able to help their clients/patients deliver in hospitals.
If you decide to give birth in a birthing center this means that you've had pregnancies before that were low risk or your pregnancy is currently low risk (without complications and you've been pretty healthy throughout the journey. Birthing centers don't offer epidurals so this allows women to move around as they like while they are in labor. With an epidural you're numb from the waist down (or at least you should be, I was given an epidural during labor with pregnancy number three only one side of me was numb). So you won't be able to walk. Being able to move around allows the mom to be to find positions that help comfort her. Women can do hydrotherapy, use visualization techniques, and so on to help her get her mind and body where it needs to be for delivery.
Midwives, doulas, and nurses typically work in birthing centers. Doctors and interventions are rare at these facilities. Birthing centers do have medical equipment and mild narcotics for the mother if she chooses. However if complications do arise the mother will be taken to the hospital. When you decide to choose a facility make sure you look into whether it is accredited and check out the credentials.
I honestly would have liked to try a birthing center. Who knows maybe I will one day :) Now if you decide to have your baby at home this means there will be no medical interventions at all like no pain meds. Women usually choose this path because home is familiar to them and they want to be comfortable. A midwife and doula are the ones that assist in home births and like the decision to deliver at the birthing center, if any complications arise you will need to be transported to the hospital.
With anything you want to do your research to determine what will be the best option for you. A safe environment for mom and baby is what matters most no matter where you decide to give birth. Where did you give birth? If you haven't have you thought about where? Please share your thoughts and comments!
Until next time sending you all peace love and light!
Pregnancy Health Coach
Postpartum Support Advocate