Pregnancy is an ideal time for mothers to plan out their future and the changes they will have to make in their lives when their child arrives. It is also a time to explore your options and decide how and where you would like to bring your child into the world.
Things to Consider
Nowadays, there are several options available for your labour and delivery. You can have a vaginal birth, a water birth, a caesarean section, or even a hypno birth if you want. Likewise, you can choose to have your baby in a hospital, a private clinic, a midwife clinic or your home. What you must keep in mind is whether your choice is fulfilling your and your baby’s needs.
Some things to consider are:
- If this is your first pregnancy
- The experience you had in previous deliveries
- If you are expecting twins or more
- Any special health needs
- Your age and special care needed with that
- If there are chances of complications
- The kind of antenatal and postnatal care you wish to have
Locations for Birth
The various options you have in terms of where to give birth are:
This is the best option if you want the best medical technology available to take care of you and your baby throughout your labour and delivery. Hospitals have easy access to machines, well-trained nurses and doctors on-hand and the facilities to handle an emergency.
While thinking of this option, you must consider things like the distance of the hospital from your home, the policies and practices of the institution, whether your midwife or consulting doctor will be easily available there and the cost.
It is a good idea to ask about the experiences of your friends and relatives who had hospital births, and if someone in particular has used the facilities at the hospital that you want to use. This will help you get first hand information and make a better decision.
A hospital birth is sometimes found to be too clinical, but if there is a risk of complications, the hospital is likely the best option.
The experience of giving birth at home is a special one. There you have the comfort of your own room and familiar faces. You are also more involved in the decision making for childbirth. If there are no chances of any complications, and your pregnancy has been trouble free, a home birth can be as safe as birth in a hospital and is still commonly practiced in many parts of the world.
For a home birth, you will have to plan in advance. Speak to your doctor or midwife about the option and see to it that all facilities are well provided. Mostly home births are suitable for vaginal birth only, so if the need arises for an emergency c-section, the midwife should be prepared to transfer you to a nearby hospital.
For a more personalised level of attention combined with modern technology, a birth centre is a good option.
In general, nurse midwives who have certified training staff a birthing centre. There, you will be allowed greater decision-making power than in a hospital. As these centres consider childbirth a healthy life event, rather than a treatment or operation, the emphasis is on natural childbirth. You will have to be screened in advance to ensure that you have a low-risk pregnancy.
Though some birth centres may be equipped to handle emergency cases, your midwife should be prepared to transfer you to a hospital if the need arises. Birthing centres are a good option for those who want less medical intervention, but do not want to give birth at home.
Be sure to check out how the centre in your area is run, what facilities are available and the staff before finalising your choice.
Run by midwives, these clinics are homey, comfortable and have a more relaxed atmosphere than a medical institution. In the UK, there are a number of clinics run by experienced midwives who are as competent in handling pregnancy and delivery cases as any doctor.
A midwife will also be able to get in touch with a doctor for instructions regarding medications, tests or surgery, if need be.
Methods of birth
Many expectant moms are willing to try something new and experiment with different options for labour and delivery. Some of the traditional and more modern options for the childbirth are:
This age old practice is also the most common method of childbirth. Women who give birth this way can breastfeed more easily, do not have to stay in the hospital or the clinic for very long and can avoid the risks involved with major surgery, such as a C-section.
Of course, now there are medications available for the pain, but you can still choose not to take them.
If you are knowledgeable enough about the various alternative methods of pain management, you can easily avoid an epidural, or a spinal block and have a natural birth. Even in a hospital, your decision will be respected if you inform your doctor in advance.
If you do choose to take pain killers, such as an epidural, they will help you to deal with the pain while keeping you alert enough to actively participate in the birthing process.
Water birth is not very common, but more and more mothers are opting for this unconventional method because of the comfort it provides.
Additionally, an increasing number of hospitals and birthing centres are outfitting themselves with a birthing tub, though you can also rent one if you are planning on a home birth.
When you go into labour, you will be asked by your doctor to enter a tub of water, which is around 90-100 degrees in temperature. Once inside, your baby’s condition will be monitored using a special Doppler device.
In the final stage of labour, you may have the option to deliver the baby inside the tub or above the surface of the water.
Water birth is a gentle experience for mother and baby, who has been floating in the amniotic sac for the past nine months and will feel right at home in the tub. As soon as the baby comes out, she will be removed from the water and begin breathing.
Water birth has been found to be good for reducing anxiety, relaxing the muscles and allowing more freedom of movement to the mother.
If you find this option appealing, find out if this procedure is available in your area, and if there is a trained attendant who can look after you and the baby in water. This method is not suitable for breech births, multiple pregnancies, or if there is a risk of complications.
As the name suggests, this birthing option uses hypnosis to help the mother deal with pain. According to the practitioners of this method, childbirth is a normal process where no body part is actually malfunctioning.
Therefore, the pain you feel has more to do with the psychological effect of the contractions on your body.
To deal with this situation, moms are taught a few methods of self-hypnosis and controlled breathing. The process of controlling your thoughts may help in dealing with the contractions better and create a more pleasant birthing experience.
If you are interested, look for an experienced practitioner in your area. This method can definitely help you in coping with pain, relaxing and avoiding pain medications if you wish.
This is a surgical method of childbirth in which the doctor makes an incision in the abdomen and the uterus to remove the baby. C-Sections have a longer recovery time than normal delivery, and even a few weeks after the birth, there may be certain restrictions you will have to follow.
This method is usually suggested for women who are at risk of complications or birth defects, are having multiple babies or who have certain health conditions that may pose problems during a vaginal birth.
These days, many hospitals use C-section as a faster method of delivery so check if you absolutely need a caesarean before consenting to the operation.