One decision you will need to make fairly early in your pregnancy is where you want to have your baby. Your basic choices here are a hospital, a birthing center or homebirth. The choice you make will depend upon your philosophy of childbirth and the atmosphere where you will feel most comfortable. Your comfort level is an important consideration in choosing a place to give birth. When the laboring mother is comfortable, labor progresses better.
Most women give birth in a hospital setting. Here you can have either a doctor or a midwife attend your birth. One benefit of a hospital is all the medical technology is in place in the event of an emergency. A downside of the hospital is you are more likely to encounter interventions, such as the use of pitocin, increased monitoring, IV fluids and medication.
A birthing center is generally staffed by midwives. Most work in conjunction with a doctor. If an emergency arises, you can quickly be transported to a hospital. A benefit of a birthing center is the atmosphere is more home like. You will have more options as far as a water birth, birthing chair and alternative birthing positions, such as squatting when giving birth. You will generally use natural pain relief methods as opposed to drugs to deal with the contractions. Although some birth centers offer analgesic medication, such as Demerol.
Your stay will be shorter. You will be able to go home within several hours of your baby’s birth. If you don’t want to stay in a hospital for a few days or prefer a more low tech approach to child birth, you may like the birthing center.
A homebirth takes place in your home. You will generally see a midwife at her office or a birthing center for your prenatal visits. When you go into labor, the midwife will come to your home to deliver your child. Many women feel comfortable delivering at home and love the low tech approach. Women have been having babies at home since the beginning of time. It is only in the last fifty or sixty years that women began to go to the hospital for childbirth. As with a birthing center, if a complication should arise, your midwife will have you transported to the hospital quickly.