When deciding where to give birth, pregnant women and their partners take many factors into account. Labor and delivery are events over which, by definition, not much control can be exercised. What we can impact, however, is where we choose to give birth, and who our attendants should be. The decision where to give birth is impacted by your health and that of your unborn baby to a large degree, of course, but many other points also enter into it.
Without giving our readers any advice on what the best birth venue and attendant is because those are highly individual choices we offer you some pointers to brainstorm over. We can differentiate between hospital delivery attended by an OB/GYN, hospital delivery with midwives, a birth center delivery, or a homebirth.
Not all of these options are suitable for every expectant mother. Even if you already have a very good idea of which of these options is the right choice for you, there are still many questions to be asked. If you are giving birth in a hospital, you are likely to have several choices. Not every hospital is the same. Some questions to consider for women who are looking into which hospital to deliver at are:
- How long will it take you to reach the hospital?
- What kind of NICU facilities do they have?
- Do the hospitals policies match your own hopes for your delivery? If you are intending to have a natural birth, is the hospital supportive of that? If you are hoping for epidural anesthesia, will anesthesiologist be available to you at any time? What is the hospital's c-section rate?
- Will the OB or midwife you see for prenatal care be able to attend your delivery, or will you get whoever is on call?
For those who are planning to give birth at home or in a birth center, these are some questions to consider:
- What kind of training does your midwife have? How much experience does she have? Has your midwife ever dealt with life-threatening complications like placental abruption?
- What is your back-up plan in case you need to transfer? How quickly will you be able to reach a hospital, and does your midwife work in cooperation with an OB?
- If planning a home delivery, how long will it take for your midwife to get to you? If she is unable to come, for instance because she is already at another birth when you go into labor, does she have a back-up?