Hospital, birth center, home? How do you choose?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2006
Hospital, birth center, home? How do you choose?
5
Sun, 10-09-2011 - 7:06pm

Are you planning for a hospital, birth center or home birth?

Do you have multiple options for hospitals/centers near you?

What factors are most important to you when considering these options? Connecting with staff, distance, policies, atmosphere? If you are BTDT, how did you decide?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-22-2001

When I had my son in 2000, the natural birthing thing was mostly a People cover story about how Cindy Crawford had given birth to her son at home with a midwife.

Jules - Happily married and Momma to DS, DD and expecting our Caboose Baby 11/24/2012


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2009
Because of our location, I think I'll try to go to the birthing center. I say try as it is free with universal health care here but I'll have to call as soon as I get a BFP, and even then, the waiting list is so big that I might not get in...They are connected to a natural birth friendly hospital which is too far from our home in case of an emergency. Here, birthing centers don't offer any meds. If you get a place with them, you have the option of using the same midwives for a home or hospital birth. So really, it's a matter of being able to use a midwife.

My sister got preeclampsia even though she had a midwife, so she ended up at the hospital and her midwife still came for support!

So if I can't get in, I'll go to the med free friendly hospital which provides private rooms with tubs! I've heard that midwives here are great so it's a big reason why I want to go that route, plus my mom had all her births med free in a hospital. I'll prepare myself for it during PG with a doula. As with the hospital, I've heard mixed reviews as they don't push drugs on you but there seems to be a lot of rude nurses that can be annoying! I would go there at the last minute to push I think.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2006
I live in an area with a lot of hospitals to choose from. I have 3 I can think of (probably more) within half an hour drive, but if you extend that out into an hour, it includes Boston, and there are seemingly endless options. When I start thinking about that I have a lot of trouble figuring out how I would choose.

Factors that come to mind - distance, also the distance of the appointments, which may be at different locations. Policies - how do you even find out about these? Other people's experiences, reviews. And things offered during L&D - birth tub, private rooms, how long you are supposed to stay there, etc.

Although I've never been to one, I feel strongly in line with the midwifery model, so I'd like to go to one. I guess it will come down to meeting the midwives and who I feel comfortable with personally. One hospital near me has a whole team of midwives; another has just one midwife, but it's more convenient to my home and office and is recently renovated and constantly touting its brand-new L&D wing.

There's also a birth center in the city, but it's connected with a hospital and seems to have a 1:3 rate of transfer and has crappy policies, such as you must have a psychological evaluation to birth there. I'd rather go the birth center route in theory, but a transfer sounds a lot more stressful than staying where you are.

Ideally I'd do homebirth. But in MA, certified nurse-midwives aren't allowed to practice homebirths, so you can only go with midwives who don't have medical training (even though they may have been doing it for 40 years and have written authoritative books.) It's... tempting. But my mother cautioned me against it, and I can't shake her advice. I wish the state was better about midwives. In New Hampshire, CNMs can do homebirths and freestanding birth centers are more common.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2009
It's a tough decision...Have you read the book "Your best birth" by Ricki Lake? She talks about hospital midwives that usually have to follow hospital policies: for example administrating drugs after a certain amount of labor hours...They often times have no choice in it. It's recommended to read the entire hospital policies in order to avoid surprises.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2008

This is a good question. With my first pregnancy, I was active duty military, so I really didn't have an option on where to give birth. The Naval Hospital was just fine. I had a midwife throughout the pregnancy, which was a plus.

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