Pregnancy and Birthing Q&A

What  are my choices for birth location?

     Really, you can have your baby just about anywhere, but generally, people choose to have babies either in hospitals, birth centers or at home.
Births in hospitals are generally attended by doctors or nurse midwives. The hospital is the ideal place to have your baby if you are experiencing a high risk pregnancy. Some women choose hospitals because they wish to have medicinal pain relief during labor, because they like the service and experience of the hospital, or because they feel safer there. It is important to note, however, that the vast majority of studies have found tat for low risk pregnancy, hospitals are no safer than birth centers or a planned home birth with an experienced midwife.
     If you are lucky enough to live near a birth center, you may find their services and care more intimate and luxurious than a hospital. Birth center births are generally attended by midwives who provide constant care during labor and birth, unlike the intermittent care provided by nurses and doctors/midwives in hospitals. You will also likely have more options for where and how you birth; standing, squatting, in a birth tub, etc. Medicinal pain relief such as epidurals are not generally available in birth centers.
Home births are generally attended by midwives, although some doctors still attend home births. Midwives come to your home with everything needed for a normal birth and to handle common complications. There is nothing an EMT can do that a home birth midwife cannot also do. Some women are much more comfortable in their own homes than they are traveling for birth, and the risk of infection in a home birth is much lower, because the mother already has immunity to all the germs in the house. A home birth midwife can also bring a birth tub, if you are hoping for a water birth.


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