There’s More Than One Way To Have This Baby: Discussing Out-Of-Hospital Delivery

From the moment you see those two blue lines on your pregnancy test stick, there will be no end of options and decisions to make about your pregnancy, your baby and the health and well-being of your family. We sympathize with the bombardment of choices, not to mention the onslaught of voices trying to push you in one direction, or pull you in another.

Whatever choice you make about how you will have your baby, remember: the choice is yours. Welcome Baby Care isn’t committed to one birthing method over another, but we encourage you to make the most educated decision possible, and to advocate for your right to decide. We support parents to have the freedom to make this choice and oppose any legislation that would mandate how and where parents choose to deliver their babies.

When considering birth outside of a hospital, the main concern in parents’ minds is safety. We are naturally conditioned to think that a hospital with a lot of machines and monitors is the safest place to deliver a child. Quite honestly, this isn’t always the case. The following is a short list of options for you to explore if you are considering an out-of-hospital delivery. Check back here throughout the week as we cover the topic from a few different angles.

Birth Center. According to the American Association of Birth Centers,The Birth Center is a homelike facility, existing within a healthcare system with a program of care designed in the wellness model of pregnancy and birth. Birth centers are guided by principles of prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention, and cost effectiveness. Birth centers provide family-centered care for healthy women before, during and after normal pregnancy, labor and birth.”

Your birth center is your one-stop shop. They handle your prenatal care as well as education and counsel right up through the delivery of your baby. These births are midwife assisted, and following delivery the birth center staff is there to help get you started with breastfeeding, and make sure you feel comfortable and confident as you prepare to take baby home. Birth center deliveries are natural births (drug free), but your comfort and care is top priority.

For more information about birth centers or to find a birth center in your area, visit the American Association of Birth Centers website.

Home Birth. Having your baby in your home is the right choice for many women. Working with a midwife, you can have your child in the environment that is most comfortable and natural for you. While home birth may seem strange, we must remember that having a baby is one of the most natural life processes you will go through. It is only in recent years that pregnancy has been classified as a medical condition. Many women love the option of having their baby in their home, where family and other children can be present. There’s also the benefit of no transition. This decreases stress for a lot of parents.

Water Birth. A water birth takes place in a large tub designed specifically for delivery. You benefit from the comfort of the water to soothe and relax you during labor. And women report not only an amazing experience, but significantly decreased labor pain as well. Water births can take place in a birthing center or you may rent a special birthing tub for your home. Water births are typically accompanied by a midwife and/or doula. The Waterbirth International website can help you learn more about this delivery option.

A Note About Non-Hospital Birthing Options: The birthing options described here may not be advisable in the case of a moderate to high-risk birth. If your pregnancy has been classified ‘high-risk,” speak honestly with your doctor or midwife about which options will be safest for you and your baby.

Do you have experience with an out-of-hospital or “alternative” birthing method? How did it go? If you are pregnant, are you considering one of these delivery options? Why or why not?