Giving birth can be an amazing experience and something moms wait up to nine or even close to 10 whole months to experience. However, it’s often thought that moms-to-be can only give birth in a hospital. While this may be one of the more common birthplaces, knowing you have many options is important! It will all depend on what you envision for your birth, your health, and the type of care provider you see throughout your pregnancy.
In this article, we will discuss the four different birthplace options for you to consider. This can get you thinking about what type of birth you would like to have. It may also help ease some anxiety surrounding birth. If you know you have options, it can take some of those fears and anxiety away.
Choosing Where To Give Birth
Here are four different birthplace options for moms to consider, including their pros and cons:
The most common place to give birth is in a hospital.2 Hospitals offer several benefits, like the ability to get an epidural if wanted, a medical team in case of an emergency, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in some cases, and, of course, an operating room in the event of a C-section. Hospitals feel safer for many women since many interventions are available. A hospital is likely where a mama will give birth if she has to be induced for any reason.3
However, while a hospital may feel safe to some moms-to-be, others may experience anxiety in a hospital setting. You do not want fear and anxiety on the day you bring your bundle of joy into this world. That is not a feeling you want to experience on one of the happiest days of your life, and it can also stall labor.4,5 If you are looking for an intervention-free birth, and your care team has agreed that you and your baby are healthy enough for you to give birth outside of the hospital setting, consider one of the options below.1 These could be good options for moms who want a more natural birth or simply do not like hospitals.
2. Freestanding Birth Center
Birth centers are another popular option for pregnant mamas. Birth centers are becoming more mainstream as more moms are looking for fewer interventions for birth.6 Usually, a birth center offers a more natural experience than a hospital. Some may even provide birthing tubs for water births. Giving birth in a birth center almost always means you get to go home with your baby much sooner than if you give birth in a hospital. Most moms go home the same day!
Birth centers are a great option if you are looking for a controlled environment to give birth with midwives present but don’t want all the interventions that a hospital setting can bring. Many birth centers have birthing rooms that may look similar to a room in your home. Many mamas feel much more relaxed and comfortable in this type of setting. Birth centers do not offer epidurals or the ability to perform C-sections, so this is something to keep in mind when making your decision.7
When choosing a birth center, find out where the nearest hospital is and their hospital transfer rate. You can also ask if the midwives will be present for your little one’s birth if you must be transferred to a hospital for any reason. You may also want to ask if they offer pain relief options such as nitrous oxide if this is something you want available to you during labor.
Birth centers are an excellent middle-of-the-road option for moms who want a natural birth but still want a care team. And moms will still have the opportunity to transfer to a hospital if it’s absolutely necessary.
3. Birthing Center Within a Hospital
Another option that is becoming more popular is a birthing center within a hospital. Some hospital maternity suites now offer a separate section for those looking for more of a natural birthing center experience. These areas of the maternity suite may have birthing tubs and midwives instead of OBGYNs. This is an excellent option for moms who want to have an unmedicated birth but would rather give birth in a hospital setting.
And then there’s the home birth option. Many moms choose a home birth to eliminate the possibility of medical interventions during birth.8 While this option is not for everyone, moms who’ve had one home birth often swear they would never have it any other way. Some moms give birth in their homes with just their support system present. The more popular option is to work with a midwife who assists with home births. One of the many benefits of this is that your midwife will often come to you for prenatal and postnatal visits. Another significant benefit is that you can access your own home, food, and bed during labor and after your baby is born. Home birth is becoming a fairly popular option among women who want an intervention-free birth.9
When it comes to giving birth, know that you have more than one option. Don’t let the fear of thinking you can only give birth in a hospital cause you anxiety! Knowing and understanding your options will make for a more empowering birth. If you are pregnant, there’s no better time than now to start planning what you want your birth to look like.