Where Will You Deliver Your Baby?Katlyn Joy |30, August 2010
While the majority of births in the US take place in hospitals, families today do have choices. You may opt for a traditional hospital birth, a birthing center or a home birth.First things first, however. You must know what your priority is. Do you have your heart set on a particular type of environment or a particular birth attendant or type of birth attendant?
If you love your OBGYN and he or she only delivers babies at certain hospitals, then you will be restricted to those places if you want that physician to deliver your baby. If you are dead set on a comfy home-like environment or have a strong aversion or fear of hospitals, you can start by choosing the site for the birth then find a caregiver who works at that facility.
However, certain conditions will restrict your birthing site options. If you are giving birth to multiples, it's likely that you'll need to deliver at a hospital. If you anticipate requiring a cesarean delivery, you can forget a birth center or home birth. Should you or your baby have any special health concerns, or your pregnancy considered a high-risk one, you'll need to choose a hospital preferably with a neonatal intensive care unit. Conditions likely to land you in the high risk category include gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, placental problems or a history of difficult or complicated deliveries.
If an expectant mother would prefer electronic fetal monitoring throughout the labor, or wants to receive an epidural for instance, a birth center or home birth are not appropriate settings for the birth. While birth centers have such medical options as IV's, oxygen, resuscitators, infant warmers and local anesthesia for repairs, other interventions are not available.
Questions for Hospitals
- What interventions are routinely done in the facility?
- What type of room will I labor in? Will I be able to labor and deliver all in one room?
- Are the rooms private or semi-private?
- How are the rooms furnished and decorated? Are they more medical or home in appearance?
- What kind of support members can be present during the birth? Is there a limit to the number of family members allowed or ages permitted?
- What kind of care is available for high risk deliveries and premature infants?
- What is the patient to nurse or physician ratio?
- What percentage of births are C-sections? How many women receive episiotomies?
- Can I have a doula or midwife at this hospital?
- What special accommodations are made for families? Can the father stay in the room comfortably with mom and baby?
Questions for Birth Centers
- How are emergencies handled? How far away is the nearest hospital and how often do births require emergency transport?
- What types of birth attendants are available to the mother and what is the patient to caregiver ratio?
- What types of rooms are available and how many are there?
- Does the center offer classes or prenatal care through the center?
- What pain management methods are utilized during birth at the center?
- Are pediatricians available once the baby is born?
- What does a typical birth center birth entail?
- Who may be present during labor and birth?
- How long after the birth does the average mother and child stay?
- Will my insurance cover the costs of the birth center?
Questions To Ask for Home Births
- How close do I live to a medical facility capable of handling a birth emergency?
- How comfortable are other family members with a homebirth?
- Was my last delivery complication-free?
- Will I have a certified midwife or other medical professional present at the birth?
- How will we prepare for a potential emergency situation?
- Who will provide my prenatal care and are they supportive of homebirth?
- What can I do to ensure a smooth birthing process at home?
- Am I educated about this option and prepared for typical birth scenarios?
- Is my home conducive to a positive home birth experience?
- Do I know the potential risks and benefits of a home birth?
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