Many women have strong views about where and how they'd like to deliver their babies. In general, women can choose to deliver at a hospital, birth center, or at home. You will need to contact your health insurance provider to find out what options are available.
Also, find out if the doctor or midwife you are considering can deliver your baby in the place you want to give birth.
- Hospitals are a good choice for women with health problems, pregnancy complications, or those who are at risk for problems during labor and delivery. Hospitals offer the most advanced medical equipment and highly trained doctors for pregnant women and their babies.
In a hospital, doctors can do a cesarean delivery if you or your baby is in danger during labor. Women can get epidurals or many other pain relief options. Also, more and more hospitals now offer on-site birth centers, which aim to offer a style of care similar to standalone birth centers.
Questions to ask when choosing a hospital:
-- Is it close to your home?
-- Is a doctor who can give pain relief, such as an epidural, at the hospital 24-hours a day?
-- Do you like the feel of the labor and delivery rooms?
-- Are private rooms available?
-- How many support people can you invite into the room with you?
-- Does it have a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in case of serious problems with the baby?
-- Can the baby stay in the room with you?
-- Does the hospital have the staff and set-up to support successful breastfeeding?
-- Does it have an on-site birth center?
- Birth or birthing centers give women a "homey" environment in which to labor and give birth. They try to make labor and delivery a natural and personal process by doing away with most high-tech equipment and routine procedures. So, you will not automatically be hooked up to an IV. Likewise, you won't have an electronic fetal monitor around your belly the whole time.
Instead, the midwife or nurse will check in on your baby from time to time with a handheld machine.