Most women choose to deliver their baby in a hospital, but in recent years more and more women are seeking out alternative methods of delivery. This decision is entirely up to you, and so you should be properly educated on what options are available when you are considering where to give birth to your child.
Traditional Hospital Birth
A large majority of women continue to stay in a hospital during labor and delivery. A hospital can provide comfort and peace of mind for those who are engaged in a high-risk pregnancy, as there is always a team of professionals right there to guide you through each step of the birth and to take action should anything go wrong.
Some hospitals will conduct each stage of the birth in a different room of the hospital. For example, the mother may be in one room during labor, another for delivery, and then another room for rest and recovery.
Other hospitals will stay in one room for the duration of the birth. This is typically known as family-centered care, as it is focused on keeping the family together at all times. Your designated birthing partner is often able to remain in the room throughout this process as well.
A birthing center is separate from a hospital, though some birthing centers may be located within the hospital to provide a sort of safety net in case of any sort of birthing emergency. Other birthing centers are entirely their own facility.
Birthing centers often provide a more comfortable, homey environment. These centers are run by nurse midwives or certified midwives, though no obstetrician or anesthesiologist. Due to the lack of obstetrician or anesthesiologist on staff, cesarean section births are not a viable option unless the patient is moved to a hospital. For this reason, stand-alone birthing centers are typically best for those with a low risk of pregnancy complications.
What You Need to Consider When Weighing All of Your Options
One of the best ways to determine the best birthing method for you and your baby is to objectively compare all of your options side by side. Some of the most important considerations include:
- The current state of your pregnancy. If you are already facing a number of risks prior to the birth of your child, then it is not very wise to add more possible complications to the mix.
- Individual success rates. Do a little research to figure out the statistics of your local hospital or birthing center. Do not be afraid to ask your obstetrician directly about their rates regarding emergency C-sections, or to ask your midwife about their rates regarding emergency transfers to a hospital.
- Your proximity to emergency care. It is always advised to have a backup plan. A home birth may be much more safe if you are close-by to a hospital in case there are problems during delivery.
- Your comfort level. Many women have difficulty with the rules and regulations set forth by hospitals. You are going to be given much more flexibility with a birthing center or home birth, meaning you can likely eat, drink, or wear whatever you like during the birthing process. Being more involved during the birth is usually what will lead women away from the traditional hospital setting, but it is of course important to carefully consider all options available.