Where to give birth
Hospital, home or birth centre. Don’t make a rash choice.
You may have a vision of your baby seeing the world for the first time from your bed at home, or prefer to have the hospital’s facilities at hand. Whichever you prefer, remember that babies don’t read birth plans, so you may have to be adaptable.Home birth
In years gone by it was the norm to give birth to your baby at home. If you want to consider this option, consult a qualified midwife. She will be able to assess if you are a suitable candidate, see you through the pregnancy and birth, and offer advice after the birth with babycare and breastfeeding.Home births are not suitable:
- If your pregnancy was classified as high risk
- If you experienced complications with a previous birth
- If your home is not suitable for a sterilised environment
- For caesarean sections.
Make sure your doctor and midwife are prepared to act quickly if something goes wrong. They should be able to transfer you to a nearby hospital as soon as possible.
Among the advantages of the home birth are the comfort of being at home and the opportunity for other children, partner and other friends and family to be at hand.
You may prefer to deliver your baby in a hospital’s maternity ward. This is usually the hospital to which your doctor is affiliated. You book your bed at around 33 weeks of pregnancy whether you are having a caesarean or natural birth. If you have a c-section you will be admitted in the morning of your baby’s birth. With a natural birth you will go to the hospital when you go into labour.
Among the advantages of hospital birth is the added back-up that is on hand in the form of equipment and staff.Birth Centre
A birth centre provides a home-like environment in which to deliver your baby, but with a higher degree of medical back-up. It is sometimes run independently by a midwife or obstetrician, or may be affiliated to a private hospital. Birthing centres are a good option for those who want less medical intervention, but do not want to give birth at home.
Most birth centres provide a holistic approach to labor and childbirth. They may offer birthing tubs for water births and services of professional birth attendants or doulas.
Speak to other women who have given birth in various places so that you get an honest idea of the pros and cons.