Waterbirth at the hospital
If you have decided to have your baby in a hospital or birthing center, ask if they have a birthing pool. In England, a water birth has become so common, it is considered an option for childbirth and not an alternative. Most English hospitals are now equipped to accommodate the request.
In North America, attitudes are not quite so forward thinking, but an increasing number of hospitals are recognizing the growing demand by women to give birth in water. Some hospitals do have birthing pools or, at the very least, Jacuzzis and hot tubs that are designed for elderly or disabled people but can easily be used by pregnant women. However, be aware that in many hospitals, while it is fine to remain in water during labor, actually giving birth in water is discouraged.
If the hospital you plan to attend does not have a birthing pool, they may still have the facilities available for you to bring in your own pool. Discuss with your doctor or midwife about what your options are for having a water birth in a hospital.
Where To Birth
ADVANTAGES OF HOME BIRTH…
- Statistics show homebirth safety for low risk women with adequate prenatal care, and a qualified birth attendant.
- Labor can progress naturally, without unnecessary interventions.
- Women can eat, drink, walk, make noises, shower, bathe, etc.
- Cost of home birth is less than hospital.
- Continuous care given by a midwife throughout labor, birth and postpartum.
- Women are encouraged and supported while they maintain control of their birth experience.
- Care-givers establish a trusting relationship with the birthing family.
- Mother/baby bonding is enhanced and breastfeeding is supported.
DISADVANTAGES OF HOMEBIRTH…
- Client must assume a greater responsibility for their own health.
- Negative judgments and lack of support from people that view hospital birth as socially correct.
- Cesareans, forceps and anesthetics are not readily available requiring transport if necessary.
- 24 hour maternity nursing care is usually unavailable.
ADVANTAGES OF A BIRTH CENTER…
- Facility is only provided for pregnancy and birth events.
- Offers more personalized care than most hospitals.
- Pregnancy is considered a natural and healthy process in a birth center.
- During pregnancy, women are encouraged to take charge of their own health.
- Greater parental control, freedom to move and eat, and the choice of birthing positions.
- Lower cesarean and forcep rates than hospitals.
- Women are allowed to return home within hours.
DISADVANTAGES OF A BIRTH CENTER…
- Screening process eliminates many healthy mothers, i.e., VBAC; mothers over 35, etc.
- Mother must travel to center and labor away from home environment.
- Many centers have protocols requiring transport to hospital for prolonged labor, etc.
- Many communities do not have birth centers.
ADVANTAGES OF HOSPITAL BIRTH…
- Some mothers feel safest laboring in a hospital.
- Emergency cesarean is readily available in hospital.
- In some cases it is the safest environment for the high risk mother or baby.
- Immediate pediatric care for newborn needing medical care.
- 24 hour maternity nursing care is available.
DISADVANTAGES OF HOSPITAL BIRTH…
- Parents do not have control of their birth.
- Less privacy and increase of fear in some women.
- The father is less likely to be actively involved during labor and birth.
- Routine separation of the mother and baby is almost unavoidable.
- Birth is managed by people trained in pathology, not normal birth.
- Risk of having an unnecessary cesarean or episiotomy is higher.
- Risk of infection or iatrogenic complications to mother and baby is increased.
- Proper nourishment during labor and adequate rest is limited due to hospital protocols.