Hospitals. The overwhelming majority of births in the United States take place in hospitals. Women who have no midwives or birth centers near their homes give birth in hospitals. So do those women who want the security of knowing help is at hand during emergencies and those who want the option of using pain medication such as epidurals.
Women with preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, heart problems, and kidney conditions should choose hospital births. So should women who are older than 40, those who have had previous miscarriages, and women who have had a prior cesarean delivery. Your health care provider might also suggest a hospital delivery if your baby is disproportionately large or in a breech (butt first) position.
If you decide to give birth in a hospital, you can still plan a natural birth. Many hospitals have adopted more relaxed, homelike furnishings for their labor and delivery rooms, and many hire midwives to work alongside the obstetricians. To ensure that things go as smoothly as possible, you and your partner should discuss your ideal birth experience with your health care provider before you go into labor. That will allow your partner to best advocate for your choices if necessary. Remember that things might not go as planned. Nature is always full of surprises, and certain hospitals still have medical intervention policies that may not always promote a natural birth. Keep the big picture in mind: The most important outcome is a healthy baby and healthy mother, not a particular type of birth.
For more information contact these organizations about obstetricians, midwives, and birth centers.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
P.O. Box 96920
409 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20090-6920
American College of Nurse-Midwives
8403 Colesville Rd.
Silver Spring, MD 20910
National Association of
3123 Gottschall Road
Perkiomenville, PA 18074
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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