Where to give birth is probably going to be one of your main focuses throughout pregnancy. You'll be planning, thinking, wishing for a certain type of experience and putting in place whatever you need to achieve that.
Wherever you choose to give birth one of your main priorities in preparing for the big day, needs to be getting a healthy pregnancy diet and also physical preparation in the form of prenatal exercise.
The place where your baby is born is important for two or more reasons. Firstly it has to be the best place for you; where you’re going to feel as relaxed as you can be. The right place for you will be wherever you're going to get the care that's most appropriate for your individual needs.
Secondly it needs to be a wonderful calm place for your baby to enter the world. After enjoying the benefits of a natural pregnancy a natural birth is a normal progression. We’ll go into more detail on both.
We’re presuming that you’ve had a trouble-free healthy pregnancy; known in the medical profession as ‘low risk’. Of course you may have experienced natural pregnancy ailments like anemia, backache, tiredness, morning sickness, headaches, mood swings and anxiety etc! A healthy natural pregnancy gives you the most choice of where to give birth.
If you’ve had any medical issues such as pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, hyperthyroidism, baby not growing enough (small-for-dates), growing too much (large-for-dates) and/or anything which has taken your pregnancy out of the normal realm; this will often mean going into hospital. This may happen either in late pregnancy or once you're in labor. Your Ob/Gyne, Midwife or family Doctor will advise you on where to give birth.
To achieve the natural peaceful arrival for your baby that you desire and deserve; you need people around you who have 100% faith in you and a positive attitude to labor and birth. This includes your Midwife, Ob/Gyne, other doctors, assistants, labor support partner and anyone who’s with you while you’re laboring.
Obviously if you’re experienced any complications in pregnancy you will probably need to have your baby in hospital. All this means is that you don’t have a decision to worry about on where to give birth; it’s been taken out of your hands. Relax and start planning for your calm hospital experience. There's no reason why you can't optimise your hospital experience. Maternity Hospitals can be the perfect place to experience a wonderful labor and delivery. That is whether it's a natural, assisted or surgical delivery (Cesarean section).
Birthing Center or Clinic As well as home and hospitals many countries now have Birthing Centres or Clinics. These are half-way between a Maternity hospital and home; some are more homely than others.
Sometimes women just labor and have their babies here then go home to their own beds. In other places you can stay a few nights and receive ample support with
breast feeding and baby care as well as getting lots of rest.
We’ve kept Home Birth for last. This is the place where the majority of healthy babies should or could be born. Most people feel relaxed and ‘at home’ in their own homes! Well one would expect that.
Years ago most people gave birth at home surrounded by their women-folk. Grandmothers, mother, sisters, aunts and friends would surround, support, encourage and cook for you. Bliss. You would have had positive encouragement, optimism and women with many years experience to keep you going through labor.
Nowadays we often live in situations where our nearest family members may live in another country or continent. Friends may be too busy or simply unable to help. This is where Independent Midwives and Labor support people (sometimes known as a doula) can come in.
Think about where you would have liked to be born. That may sound strange but it’s important. Most people are proud or want to be proud of where they come from. That includes the country, town, village and building we were born in!
Couples have been known to move house so that they can give birth in a specific country, town or building (hospital or home). Where your baby is born will be recorded forever on their Birth Certificate!
I’ve known babies who’ve made the decision on where to be born. They’ve taken the choice of where to give birth out of their parent’s hands by turning around or going into the breech position prior to labor starting! Your unborn baby is already a person with a free will and a personality of their own. You may be planning for a Waterbirth while your baby may have other ideas! Although I don't know any baby who didn't love being born in water. Your baby needs to be given credit for having some input here! Well it's his Birthday after all.
It’s important to talk to your baby while he is inside you. Ask him where he’d like to be born……why not? Of course you won’t hear his answer; but your intuition will tell you. Trusting your inner voice or intuition is extremely important during pregnancy and at any time.
For newborns the two strongest senses are smell and hearing. What your baby smells and hears will have a strong imprint on him. Think about hospitals and all the smells of disinfectant, noises of many different voices, machinery, traffic maybe. Now think about the sounds and smells of your home.
At home the sounds will be mostly of you and your partner, your pets if you have any, your midwife who you’ve known hopefully throughout your pregnancy. Your baby will recognize these familiar sounds and feel reassured by them.
So what do you think? More importantly what do you feel? 'Where to give birth' needs quite a lot of thought and preparation doesn't it? If you're having trouble deciding where to give birth and you want more information go to the A.I.M.S. website for loads of very useful, well researched, information.
Was it an easy choice for you ? Please tell us how you chose the birth place
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