Choosing your birth location

January 15, 2024, cassieley

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted kids. But for as loPregnant woman in labour, labor, during childbirth, giving birth, birthing pool, water bath. Water as I can remember, birth came with connotations of fear and pain- that is, until a few years ago. In my final semester of college, I took a women’s health class, and the instructor shared the stories of her three homebirths. Starting with this class and continuing with more research, birth became a beautiful and transformative experience in my mind. That is not to say that I think every woman should have a homebirth, but to share that 1) Birth can be a positive experience and 2) You have choices throughout your pregnancy and birth.

Check up with a midwife at homeBy the time I became pregnant, I was confident that I wanted a home birth with midwives. I established care with a homebirth midwife practice and eagerly awaited each appointment. I loved that the midwifery model of care considered my well-being beyond merely the physical. I was not rushed in and out the door, and my midwives took the time to get to know me and answer any and all questions. I also loved how I was consistently presented with evidence to make the right medical decisions for myself and my baby. Furthermore, I looked forward to my homebirth and postpartum with my midwives. I found a homebirth to be the right fit for me because I wanted the freedom to move around, eat and drink during labor, and have a water birth. These options are not always possible in a hospital setting. I would also see my midwives several times between birth and six weeks postpartum. I felt confident that choosing midwifery care best fit my needs for a positive pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

In the Hospital Mother Hold Newborn Baby, Supportive Father Lovingly Hugging Baby and Wife. Happy Family in the Modern Delivery Ward.

However, at 33 weeks pregnant, preterm labor landed me in the hospital for several days. Even though giving birth in the hospital was not my plan, I was happy to be in the place that was safest for my baby, given the circumstances. Thankfully, labor stalled, and I did not end up giving birth in the hospital. Still, I experienced excellent care from the doctors during my stay in the hospital, and I do believe I could have had a positive hospital birth experience. Hospital birth is also a great choice if you are at higher risk or plan to have a medicated birth.

Birth centers present a third option to homebirth and hospital birth. There are freestanding birth centers as well as birth centers attached to hospitals. Birth centers can provide some of the similar benefits of home birth, such as midwifery care and water birth, but offer an alternate location to homebirth.

Are you low-risk, or do you have certain conditions that require a higher level of care? What options do you want available to you during labor and birth- for example, do you want the choice of a water birth, or do you want access to an epidural? Where do you feel safest? Researching your options for pregnancy and birth can help you make the right choice for you to have a positive experience.