Making the Best Decision for Your Childbirth

With certainty, childbirth is one of the most breathtaking and empowering experiences in the life of women. Despite being considered as one of the most painful events in human experience, every woman goes through labor differently and the pain, pressure, and discomfort they undergo are unique to them. Nowadays, due to the advancement in medicine and technology, vaginal labor is not the only option, but there are other proven methods like C-section and vacuum extraction.

When there is no medical reason to perform a C-section, women are advised by gynecologists to go with vaginal delivery due to benefits like shorter recovery, minimized risk of infections, and less chance for respiratory issues in the baby. Nowadays, delivery methods are not the only aspect of childbirth that women need to take into consideration, but where to give birth too, i.e. at a hospital or at home.

The Increase in Freebirth Worldwide

Although there is no current statistics showing the percentage of women who opt for giving birth at home without medical supervision, a lot of experts claim that this practice has been growing exponentially. Often times, women wonder if they can give birth at the comfort of their own home, and in most cases, this is possible if they are healthy and have a normal pregnancy without any risk factors.

A lot of women decide on a freebirth because of the familiar surroundings, the presence of family members, more self-confidence and the higher control over the birthing experience, like choosing the most suitable positions and setting. However, it is highly recommendable that mothers-to-be who plan a homebirth have someone qualified at their side during the labor, i.e. a certified midwife or a trained doula and to openly discuss the potential risks associated with out-of-hospital childbirth with their doctor and create a birth plan together. When it comes to the safety factor regarding homebirth that worries a lot of pregnant women, several studies point out that freebirth, when properly planned, is as safe as hospital birth.

Nevertheless, home birth has its downsides too. To illustrate, one’s insurance policy may not cover the costs for homebirth and there is a need of being nearby a hospital in case complications arise and the midwife or doula advises transfer to the hospital. And, home birth can be quite the messy process, so one needs to be well-prepared with clean towels and sheets, as well as other necessary items (pads, peri bottle, absorbent pads, cord clamps, gloves, gauze, trash bags, blankets, etc.), which definitely demands for a detailed beforehand preparation.

It should be emphasized that there are situations when expecting mothers need to go with hospital birth, that is, if they had/need a C-section or are carrying twins or triplets. Nonetheless, the topic of giving birth at home is still a controversy in the U.S. and the AMA and ACOG are openly against it and claim that hospitals are the best and safest place to give birth due to the professionalism and skillfulness of the medical staff.

The Considerable and Enduring Popularity of Hospital Childbirth

A lot of mothers-to-be prefer to give birth in a hospital because they consider it to be a more comfortable place due to the presence of medical staff and the necessary backup. In-hospital birth is particularly recommendable to women who have a high-risk pregnancy, that is, if they are over the age of 35, if they have been diagnosed with gestation diabetes, or if they are expecting twins, triplets, etc. Hospital birth differs from birthing centers and in-home births, which are usually “supervised” by midwives, in having an OB-GYN, a midwife, or a family physician to perform the delivery, as well as labor nurses, anesthesiologists, and other specialists, nurses, and medical students present. However, it is crucial to note that depending on the hospital’s policies, women may request for another nurse or say no to the presence of students during their labor.

The difference between OB-GYN and midwifes is in the education they receive. Namely, obstetricians specialize in pregnancy and birth and have attended medical school and are trained for surgeries whereas midwifes do have training in pregnancy and birth, but they do not attend medical school and do not hold a medical degree. They do not perform C-section and can be present during in-home birth or only work at a hospital.

Same as freebirth, hospital birth has its advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, expecting mothers decide on a hospital delivery to the high level of safety which increases the chances for positive outcome in case of some complications and hospitals have operation rooms where C-section can be performed if needed, which cannot be done when giving birth at home. Without doubt, a lot of women highly appreciate, especially nowadays, the ability to receive pain relief meds regulated by the anesthesiologists, which is not an option during freebirth. Last but certainly not least, the experienced staff and the advanced medical technology can be of great benefit in case the mother or the baby needs medical assistance.

The downsides of hospital birth, according to a lot of mothers, are several. Many consider it frightening to give birth in a hospital because it looks so impersonal and there is no family feel. What’s more, privacy is not something you can get if you decide to give birth in a hospital because there will be constantly doctors and nurses and other specialists coming and going while attending you, which minimizes the chance of getting some rest. With certainty, as every institution, hospitals have their own policies which they need to abide by, i.e. various protocols and procedures. When the mother delivers successfully, there will also be times when she will be separated from her newborn, due to tests or screening or other policies.

Final Thoughts on Where to Give Birth

Even though childbirth is one of the most amazing moments, not just in the life of the mother, but in the life of her closest family members, this challenging period requires a lot of decision-making, and one such decision is where to give birth. Ultimately, after showing the major advantages and disadvantages of both in-hospital and freebirth, any decision the mother brings should be in accordance with her personal needs, beliefs, and type of pregnancy, all with the aim to enable the best birthing experience possible and the least complications.

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