Where is the Best Location for a Woman to Give Birth?
First-time mothers (and even veteran moms) ask themselves this question often. Hospital births saw a huge increase in the beginning of the 20th Century, and home births were the norm before that. With that being said, birthing centers have been around since the 1970s— but all three of these options are just as relevant today as they were in the past.
The shift to giving birth in hospitals came along with the many medical advances, but this is also the same reason for a shift back to home births and birthing centers. All three birthing options have their costs and their benefits, and the best option depends on a variety of factors. Here’s a look at the good and the bad with these three birthing options.
Home births that are planned are generally safe, although it’s safer for some pregnant women than others. Women who are giving birth to multiples, have a breech baby, have previously had a C-section, or are at risk of other pregnancy challenges are not advised to have a planned home birth.
The Rewards of a Planned Home Birth
Planned home births are becoming more and more common among women today. This is because giving birth is a very difficult and stressful process, and being at home provides a more familiar and comfortable environment. Home births also offer more freedom and can cost much less than a hospital birth.
The Risks of a Planned Home Birth
Although many planned home births are done successfully and without complications, there are still some risks. There’s a slightly greater risk for newborn seizures and death with a planned home birth than with a hospital birth.
Birthing centers are kind of like a bridge between home births and hospital births. They can be located inside of hospitals in the maternity ward, or they can be standalone facilities. Like planned home births, more women are moving away from hospital birthing to experience a more natural and controlled labor and delivery.
The Advantages of Birthing Centers
Birthing centers are set up like home environments, making the mother feel more comfortable during labor and delivery— but there’s also access to medical intervention if needed. Some birthing centers even give epidurals for pain relief, but most use alternative methods of relieving pain.
The Disadvantages of Birthing Centers
Again, only certain women make better candidates for birthing centers. Women with high-risk pregnancies may still be advised to give birth in a hospital setting— except for maybe those birthing centers that are located within a hospital. Either way, high-risk pregnancies need quick access to extensive medical care if needed.
Even though many women are moving towards home births or birthing centers, the majority of births in the U.S. are still taking place in hospitals. Many women feel more comfortable delivering in a hospital setting, and it’s still the safest delivery location for women with high-risk pregnancies.
The Pros of Birthing in a Hospital
Though there’s not as much freedom in a birthing center or planned home birth, women still have access to some different options in how they want their birthing process to go. Women can still choose to have a natural birth in hospitals, or they can choose to have pain medications. They also have immediate access to surgeons if a C-section is necessary.
The Cons of Birthing in a Hospital
The majority of hospitals don’t allow women to move around or eat much during labor, and many also don’t provide more natural pain relief options. Although hospital births are safer (depending on the pregnancy), they’re not free of birth injuries, including cerebral palsy. Many birth injuries can still occur in a hospital setting— even in the U.S. Parents of children that experienced birth injuries should contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, whether it occurred in a hospital, birthing center, or during a planned home birth with a midwife present.
The best birthing location is different for every woman, so each individual must weigh out all of their options before deciding on a location to give birth. Generally, women who have no known pregnancy complications and who’ve never had a C-section are good candidates for any type of birthing location. On the other hand, women who do experience complications during their pregnancy or have experienced complications during previous births are advised to give birth in a hospital— or at the very least, a birthing center located within a hospital.