At one time, almost every woman went to the hospital to have her baby. However, these days, more women are starting to choose a birth center as their preferred place to deliver their newborn. While some mothers-to-be know exactly what they want from their birthing experience, others struggle to make a decision about which option is right for them.
Here, we take a look at the differences between giving birth in a hospital and a birth center so you can make an informed decision.
Giving Birth In A Birthing Center – What To Expect
If you choose to give birth in a licensed and nationally accredited birth center, you can expect to find a home-like environment inside a medical setting. Birth rooms look similar to rooms you would see in a home, and as there are fewer support staff, you can enjoy a more natural experience of labor.
Some birth centers are more homely than others, however, even those which are more medically focused, being located inside hospitals, are much more likely to adhere to the mother-to-be’s wishes, safely following their birth plan. Should there be an emergency, she can then be transferred to a hospital.
The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Giving Birth In A Birth Center
Perhaps the greatest advantage of giving birth in a birth center is that parents who are uncomfortable with the idea of giving birth at home, but who would prefer to avoid the strict medical environment of the hospital can have a suitable alternative. Families can be more involved, and music, drinks, food, and free movement are all encouraged while water births are often possible. New mothers usually only stay for a few hours rather than a few days following the birth and while care for the newborn and mother is present, it isn’t as invasive as that offered by hospitals.
On the downside, however, some birth centers will not accept insurance cover and in the case of an emergency, it can take some time to get to a suitable operating theater or neonatal unit. Therefore, in order to use a birth center, your pregnancy must be low-risk and uncomplicated.
Why Choose A Hospital Birth?
While all hospitals are very different in what they can offer women in labor and delivery, many parents-to-be feel more comfortable knowing they are close to medical support should an emergency situation arise. In a hospital, a woman in labor is usually given a designated nurse, with the obstetrician only arriving close to the delivery time. If you deliver at an unusual hour, however, you could end up with an on-call doctor instead of your own should he or she be unavailable. Another great advantage of giving birth in a hospital is the availability of pain medication such as epidural anesthesia for a pain-free delivery.
Of course, there are a few downsides too. Hospitals generally have stricter schedules, rules, and policies and may limit the number of people who can attend the birth. There could be a potentially higher risk of infection and privacy may be an issue if you end up in a shared room. Some women also feel that the environment is too impersonal for their preferences.
In the end, there is no single best place to give birth. What is right for one woman will be wrong for another. It’s important to weigh up all the advantages and disadvantages of both these options before you decide on which is the best for your needs. Whichever you choose, your birthing experience will be a positive one as long as you are aware of what to expect.