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Having a baby? View Our Frequently Asked Questions
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.
A few women would prefer to give birth to their baby within the comfort of their own home. This birthing option has increased in popularity in recent years, but still accounts for only 1-2% of births each year.
Home births can be very beneficial for the family, as they allow for the parents to have more control over the experience. However, home births can also be extremely dangerous if there are any complications as there may not be enough time for the mother and child to reach a fully equipped medical center.
Some nurse midwives or certified midwives may agree to be present for a home birth, though different state regulations will determine their liability during a home birth, which may make it difficult to find someone who will agree to attend to you and your baby during a home birth.
Home births are ideal for women who are experiencing a normal, healthy pregnancy, and have given birth at least once before.
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: