Deciding on your birth options

deciding on your birth options during pregnancy

Hospital Birth

This birth takes place in a hospital setting. The mother delivers her baby vaginally, with or without medication or intervention. The trend for babies to be born in a hospital is relatively recent. In the 1960s and 1970s many women opted for home births.

While vaginal births can be done at home, an expected complicated birth or a caesarean birth will always be done in hospital. Although labour and delivery are normal physiological events, they are not without potential hazards. One of the advantages to delivering in a hospital is that there are facilities available for any emergency. Hospitals today are making great efforts to change the environment from clinical to more homely.

Caesarean Birth

Birth by caesarean section means a baby is delivered from the mother’s uterus through an incision in her abdomen. Sometimes it may occur after a long labour, or may be done on request from the mother, which is known as an elective caesarean. In cases where there is a multiple or breech pregnancy, caesarean is the delivery of choice for most obstetricians.

Emergency caesarean section

is performed when the safety of the mother or baby is questioned before or during labour. It can be performed under general anesthetic, epidural or spinal anesthetic.

It is important to remember that a caesarean involves major abdominal surgery and finding out all about how it is done is vital in dealing with your fears.

Home Birth

Women who have had previous uncomplicated deliveries may opt for a birth in the comfort and familiarity of their own home. They also may wish to have their other child or children at the birth. Some may have had a bad hospital experience with previous babies, while others want to be in control of their birthing situation.

The mother will usually be assisted by a midwife, with the back-up of a doctor. The mother will have to make sure that all she needs is available and on hand when she goes into labour. Bear in mind that over 90% of healthy pregnant women receiving good antenatal care will give birth spontaneously. However if things don’t run smoothly, you might need to be transferred to hospital.

Water Birth

The baby is born, through the birth canal, directly into water. It may be in a hospital setting or at home, in a special bath or a normal bath. Remember that water birth is not a method of delivering, but rather a tool to assist in the natural process of birth.

Water has long been recognised for its therapeutic and soothing properties. The use of water during labour has been used for many years as a means to managing the pain of labour without drugs. Many women have commented on the soothing feelings and sounds of water. Water holds and supports you; it envelops and protects you – which is what you need when you are in labour.

Active Birth

This means you are actively involved in what is happening to your body during labour and delivery. It involves freedom of movement as you use your body in any way that makes labour tolerable for you. There is a strong mind and body connection, because your state of mind influences the state of body and vice versa. Positioning plays a big part in active labour. Left to her own devices, a woman will instinctively know which position to adopt as she listens to her body and picks up her body’s cues.

By Tina Otte