Jun 21, 2010 |
Need to Know,  |
Kellie Moeller, CNM

Labor and Birth - Choosing Where to Deliver

Healthy women who are at low-risk for problems during pregnancy, labor and delivery may choose to deliver at a birth or birthing center.

Birth Centers

Healthy women who are at low-risk for problems during pregnancy, labor and delivery may choose to deliver at a birth or birthing center. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, birth centers give women a "homey" environment in which to labor and give birth. They try to make labor and delivery a special, warm, family-focused process.

Usually certified nurse-midwives, not obstetricians, deliver babies at birth centers. Birth centers do not do any "routine" medical procedures. So, your partner will not automatically be hooked up to an IV. Likewise, she won't have an electronic fetal monitor around her belly the whole time. Instead, the midwife or nurse will check in on the baby from time to time with a handheld machine.

Once the baby is born, all examinations and care will occur in the room. By doing away with most high-tech equipment and routine procedures, labor and birth remain a natural and personal process. Women can not receive epidurals at a birth center although some pain medicines may be available. If a cesarean section becomes necessary, women must be moved to a hospital for the procedure. Basic emergency care can be done on babies with problems while they are moved to a hospital. Many birthing centers have showers or tubs in their rooms for laboring women.

They also tend to have comforts of home like large beds and rocking chairs. In general, birth centers allow more people in the delivery room than do hospitals. Birth centers can be inside of hospitals, affiliated with a hospital or completely independent, separate facilities. If you and your partner are interested in delivering at a birth center, make sure it is accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers. Accredited birth centers must have affiliated doctors at a nearby hospital in case of problems with the mom or baby.

Homebirth

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, healthy pregnant women with no risk factors for complications during pregnancy, labor or delivery can consider a planned homebirth. Some certified nurse midwives and physicians will deliver babies at home. If your partner is considering this choice she should ask the insurance company about their policy on homebirths. Some health insurance companies cover the cost of care for home births and others don't. The main advantage of home birth is that your partner will be able to experience labor and delivery in the privacy and comfort of her own home. Since there will be no routine medical procedures, she will have control of her experience. To ensure your spouse’s safety and that of your baby, you must have a highly trained and experienced midwife along with a fail-safe back-up plan. Your midwife must be experienced and have the necessary skills and supplies to start emergency care for the mother and the baby if need be. Your midwife should also have access to a physician 24 hours a day.

Blog Posted: Jun 21, 2010
Posted by: Kellie Moeller, CNM
President HomeBirth Experience, Inc.
281-309-8030

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