You have Options
Be sure to see our Links page for more details about the safety of each option
In the Hospital
Hospital births are overseen by medical professionals such as OB/GYN and nurses who are trained to care for women whether they are low risk or high-risk pregnancies. Most hospitals offer a range of birth options such as natural vaginal birth, C-Section, or VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). In a hospital setting women can choose to use pain medications while laboring. There are lactation specialists on site that are able to help with breastfeeding and newborn screening such as hearing, CCHD , and newborn genetic screenings are done on site. Circumcisions can also be done onsite before discharge. Most insurances cover the expenses of the hospital stay. There are also risks associated with hospital deliveries and it is important to do research before considering what is best you mother and baby.
At a Birth Center
No birth setting is without risk. Only the mother and father with proper informed consent can decide which risks they are willing to take. Women giving birth in birth centers have lower rates of infection and hemorrhage. In the U.S., birth centers are required to employ trained personnel who perform continuous risk assessments and can decide if a transfer to a higher acuity facility is needed. Birth centers may/may not be covered by insurance so it is important for mom's to verify coverage or be prepared to cover out-of-pocket expenses.
Homebirth is the ideal setting for a natural birth, mom feels safe and relaxed, able to comfort herself and baby during the delivery process. Giving birth at home presents less risk for infection since the mother has passed her immunity to the child while in utero and remaining in the environment she is immune to. Births attended by Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) result in fewer medical interventions that can alter or slow the natural birthing process (vaginal exams, doppler, ultrasounds, bright lights, Pitocin, and other medications). Most pregnant women who choose to have planned home births deliver without complications. When birth challenges present at home, the mom and/or baby are taken by the midwife to the hospital for specialized care.
Homebirth is generally a private pay expense.