The experiences of birth are almost as varied as the unique humans it brings earth-side. There are various locations in which births can take place as well as an immense amount of variables along the way. Sometimes the location, or type of practitioner, can lead a birth in a certain direction. There are more medical-focused options like the ‘traditional’ hospital birth, and less medically managed options such as home birth, with a birth center option somewhere in between.
Just because someone opts for a hospital birth does not always mean they can’t achieve a more natural birth, and inversely, a home birth does not always mean there are no medical interventions. Each comes with their own parameters, and the provider’s approach can determine the tone of the experience. Find what balance suits you best to have the experience most fit your needs. Here are a few examples of different birth options available:
The hospital route.
Hospital births are seen as the norm for most women who have babies. While they dominate a vast majority of the market, there are trends emerging for other types of births. The hospital route allows women to have the ease of medical intervention as close as possible. If further intervention is needed, there is a prepped staff ready to go. Some OBGYNs allow for a more natural approach to the hospital setting with lower intervention rates. There is even the option of hospital midwife practices in certain hospitals.
A home birth with midwives.
On the other end of the spectrum to the more intervention-ready hospital approach is the age-old home birth. This approach takes more personal research and education than the others. Higher risk individuals with a medical problem may need hospital medical professionals to keep a closer watch during their birth. Your risk level is determined by your medical history and your professional healthcare provider. Home births require more preparation by the birthing mother and her birth team. Birth pools need to be assembled and filled for water births, and pain relief methods are not medically managed. Birth progresses at the speed necessary for the birthing mother, and positional changes are frequent. Rather than being limited to a hospital bed or labor room, mother’s have free reign of their home. This method is sought by those who do not want epidurals and seek for a more natural approach to birth. Home births are always attended by midwives.
Somewhere in the middle - at the birth center.
Birth centers create an interesting dynamic and middle ground if a mother can’t decide between hospital or home birth. Birth centers are often a more homey environment with the presence of medical equipment if necessary. Depending on the birth center, it might be located in a hospital. For this circumstance, if a transfer is needed, it is an easy move to another floor. Birth centers sometimes offer gas and air for a pain relief option. Some have large tubs for water births. Each birth center has its own system, but overall they present an option for the birthing mother that finds herself somewhere between wanting a hospital birth and a home birth.
Regardless of location or methodology, doulas are a major asset for all birthing mothers. Their versatility and knowledge of different environments allow for assistance at every birth. From the knowledge of modified positions at heavily medically-managed hospital births to pain relief techniques of home births, doulas are a crucial part of helping achieve the best birth for you.