Where Can You Have Your Baby?
Childbirth is a natural part of creation, and biological women alone are able and privileged to experience this phenomenal feat of bringing new life into the world.
The natural process of giving birth is truly remarkable; however, there are risks to both mother and child that could potentially be life-threatening. For this reason, medical intervention became a necessity to reduce infant mortality rates, but in the process, medical professionals have taken charge over what has always been a mother’s privilege of pacing her own body’s childbirth process.
Old and New School of Childbirth
It is said that the pain associated with childbirth cannot be measured unless it is personally experienced and reducing this pain has become the leading reason why most women opt for medical intervention. This along with the added pressure from medical insurance companies only paying for births in a recognized hospital or birth center, has led most women with medical insurance to go this route.
Medical establishments have altered the natural process of childbirth to suit or convenience their work protocols.
It’s been said laying on ones back to give birth increases pain because it restricts the baby’s pathway through the pelvic region. Pain during childbirth is controlled through a mother’s movement and so giving birth in an upright position actually facilitates the labor process, and gravity aids the child to pass through the birth canal.
Another controversial method is the use of anesthesia as a pain control mechanism. It numbs nerve receptors in relaying crucial information that helps the body to adjust to the childbirth process. However, with the mother’s body being unable to naturally respond, medical devices like metal forceps and suction cups are used to pull the baby through the birth canal. Through this process, the experience of childbirth becomes a medical procedure even though it’s a natural one that often doesn’t require such interventions.
Even predicting the exact day and time of a baby’s arrival into the world is a wild guess at best, but medical establishments and mothers-to-be sometimes decide on inducing without any medical reason to do so.
As such, let’s take a look at some popular childbirth choices.
Hospitals offer a clinical environment with trained professionals to tend to every situation or need, giving a mother a sense of confidence knowing that both she and her unborn child will receive the best care and attention.
About 70% of American mothers opt for an epidural to reduce the pain, but this trade-off for comfort over control diminishes by the day.
In a hospital, tests are conducted on the newborn for jaundice and any deficiencies or conditions are noted and dealt with immediately, or treatment is proposed and discussed with the mother. In addition, the new mother is coached on breastfeeding techniques and is normally kept in hospital for a day or two for recovery and observation.
On the flip side, C-sections may be recommended, or virginal incisions are made to enlarge the birth canal, which still poses the risk of infection even in a clinical setting. However, in some cases, these medical interventions are necessary.
Birth centers offer a more relaxed setting with a focus on comfort and natural birth.
Although epidurals are not available at birth centers, natural pain control is administered using mild narcotic medicines. This allows the mother-to-be the freedom to move around while in labor and to find the most comfortable position to give birth.
In addition, birth centers have comfort measures like a jacuzzi, hydrotherapy, massage, warm and cold compresses and relaxation techniques that assist the mother in coping with labor and childbirth. It is only if the mother insists on an epidural or if complications arise that the mother will be transferred to a hospital.
A doctor is not usually present, but registered nurses work with obstetric and pediatric consultants as a team to provide the necessary care. During labor, the baby’s heart rate is monitored periodically and there are IV lines and fluids as well as oxygen and other medical equipment necessary to treat the mother and baby if needed.
The one downside to a birth center is immediate medical attention where hospitalization is urgent and the transfer time could be life-threatening. Therefore, it is best to select a birth center in or close to a hospital with the proper operating credentials.
Home births only account for about 1% of American childbirths.
There is risk involved in giving birth at home, but there are also substantive reasons why some mothers choose to do so. It could be for religious reasons, the need to be in total control of the process without medical intervention, or simply because no other option is financially viable.
Whatever the reason, risks cannot always be predicted, and one such risk is excessive bleeding which will require a medical procedure to control and contain the bleeding. Therefore, home births should be thoroughly thought through.
A support team that includes a nurse-midwife and access to a doctor, as well as an emergency plan for transportation to the nearest hospital, is mandatory. If you consider a home birth, a rule of thumb is to be within 15 minutes’ drive from the nearest hospital.
Having said this, most home births occur without complications, yet it is still advisable to have the support in place for this wonderful occasion. Mothers-to-be will have to have a trained midwife and possibly a doula (professional labour assistant) present.
It is important to have a birth plan in place and to have all the necessary items like protective covers on hands. You may want to give birth in a tub and must make the space and arrangements to create the best setting possible.
Giving birth at home is the least expensive of the options.
A Final Word
The arrangements you make for the birth of our baby may not always go according to plan, and whatever your decision is regarding how you want to give birth remains your prerogative as the mother-to-be.
However, if you are classified as a low-risk mother, meaning your health is good, you have given birth before, and there are no signs that a complication will arise because your baby is facing correctly, then with the right support in place, the experience of home birth may be for you.
On the other hand, birth centers offer the safety of having medical professionals on hand to guide and assist you through labor while offering a setting more in line with a homely setting, whereas hospitals offer the best medical support but limit the amount of control over the experience that most mothers would desperately want and appreciate.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.