There are three different settings to give birth in: your home, a birthing center, and the hospital. Home birth may seem like a new concept to some, but before the 1900’s, home births were the norm. Home birth are a safe alternative for women who are having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. During a home birth, a midwife will come to the home once a woman starts to go into labor. Midwives usually bring with them the following:
Oxygen for the baby if needed
IV’s for mom if she becomes dehydrated or needs additional nutrients
Sterile gloves, gauze pads, cotton hat for the baby, drop cloths, waterproof covers for the bed, a thermometer, a pan for sitz baths after birth
Fetoscopes or ultrasonic stethoscopes
Medications to slow or stop a hemorrhage
Special herbal preparations, homeopathic remedies, massage supplies/techniques and perhaps even acupuncture needles
Items for suturing tears
Home births have multiple benefits including: being less expensive, providing immediate bonding and breastfeeding, and allowing mom to be surrounded by family and loved ones in the comfort of the home. Home births are not a good option for women who are diabetic, have chronic high blood pressure or toxemia, have previously had a c-section, or are at risk for preterm labor.
Birthing centers provide a more home-like experience without actually being at home. Birthing centers allow for more personal attention and familiarity. Birthing centers have midwives that spend more time with women during prenatal visits and more support during delivery. Birthing centers are also usually much less expensive than hospitals. Just like home births, women who are suited for birthing centers need to be healthy and at low risk for complications.
Hospital births are necessary for some women who experience complications during pregnancy. These complications include anemia, gestational diabetes, chronic high blood pressure, toxemia, previous c-section, risk of preterm labor, and others. Hospitals are equipped with the staff, equipment, and supplies to address these issues.