Birth Options


Research studies have shown that the hospital is not the safest place to give birth for the average, healthy, expecting mother. C-section rates are dangerously high due to the myriad of interventions that take place during labor. And hospitals are currently very restrictive as to who can be there with the mother. This leaves her without support and advocates helping her navigate through the choices in labor that she must make.

Regardless of the length of your labor, you should expect to have turnover in hospital staff if birthing in the hospital. You may encounter a myriad of different nurses and other staff, and this could also be true of your doctor. If he or she is part of a group of physicians/OBGYN's, your birth may not be attended by the doctor you were expecting. This can be nerve-wracking to the laboring mother and can cause labor patterns to change and potentially lengthen the hours of your labor.

Both during labor and after delivery, in the hospital, there are many interventions that will undoubtedly take place. These cause additional frustration and discomfort to the laboring woman. Anything from unnecessary vaginal exams and excessive monitoring to IVs and catheters, or from tests and treatments to separation of the mother and her new baby. All of these can be both overwhelming and disappointing to a new mother. Before entering a hospital every parent should think about how the hospital birthing process will affect their labor, delivery and bonding time in the early postpartum period. Research indicates that choosing to give birth outside of the hospital is a safe and reasonable option for expecting mothers. So, what are our options for birthing elsewhere?

Home Birth

The vast majority of deliveries are uncomplicated and do not need medical intervention. Therefore, generally speaking, it is safe and reasonable to give birth without going to the hospital. The environment of a homebirth is very different than that of a hospital birth. At home you have control over where you labor, mobility during labor, laboring and birthing positions, lighting, environmental noise, eating and drinking, those in attendance, and much, much more. Giving birth in the comfort of your own home can relieve stresses and pressures that could otherwise impede the progression of your labor. Labors tend to be shorter and easier when women feel comfortable and are uninhibited. There is no need to impress and no pressure to progress within a certain time limit. A woman at home is free to be herself, to be intimate, and to be at liberty to do what she feels is most beneficial for her and her baby.

Most homebirths go smoothly and when they do you can easily keep your baby attached at the umbilical cord and immediately hold him/her for as long as you want. This prolonged attachment ensures that your baby receives every possible benefit from the placenta, including nutrients, blood, and oxygen. With baby still attached, you can be certain that your baby will remain right with you and not be taken somewhere for routine work. At home your midwife will check your baby's initial condition and may encourage you to begin breastfeeding right away. Breastfeeding also helps to expel the placenta naturally and in a timely manner.

This initial and immediate bonding that takes place in the first few moments helps to solidify and encourage the natural, intimate relationship that quickly develops between a mother and her new baby. These babies tend to breastfeed better and become lovingly and emotionally attached to mom in a healthy way.

Birth Centers

Birth centers are a concept that has really taken off in the last several years and are a great alternative to parents wanting a personalized touch and midwifery care without the pressure of turning their home into a birthing space. Birth centers are often run by midwives and contain all the comforts of home with the convenience of any necessary birth equipment for an uncomplicated delivery.

Midwives strive to make the birthing environments in their centers quiet, relaxing and professionally decorated to provide the comfort and feel of a home-like setting. Birth center birth is a very reasonable option for anyone wishing to feel at home and loved while laboring yet not quite ready to be at their own home.

A Note about Midwives

Midwives are professionally trained to deal with any unexpected situations that could arise during birth including recognizing the need for more medical care. They will provide comprehensive, compassionate care throughout pregnancy and all the way through the delivery process all the while remaining mindful of your specific needs. This care can take place either in the comfort of your own home, or at a quiet and peaceful prenatal office.

Prenatal care with midwives is also very different than your typical doctor's office visit. Time is taken at each visit to thoroughly address your questions and concerns, to educate you about your pregnancy and to prepare you for the upcoming labor. Often times an entire hour will pass while your discussions about birth dig deep into your midwife's wealth of knowledge. You will develop a relationship with your midwife that extends far beyond a simple business relationship. Midwives are masters of natural birth and the perfect advocate to walk alongside you throughout your birthing process.

In Conclusion

It is of vital importance that each and every woman plan to give birth in an environment that she feels safe in and with support of the people/professionals that she desires. Homebirth, hospital birth, birth center birth, midwife attended birth, unattended birth... these are all choices. No one way is right or wrong. Your birth choices should be made with careful consideration of the benefits and risks associated with them. You deserve to be treated with love and respect during your entire pregnancy, delivery and postpartum period. This is a day that you will remember for the rest of your life so make your choices wisely.

Develop an honest and trustworthy relationship with anyone who will be in attendance at your birth. If there is friction at your birth, there may be delays in progression. All of your energy and attention will need to be focused on the task at hand. Labor can be the toughest yet most satisfying job you will ever do. Doing it your way will be not only rewarding but empowering to you as a mother.