Want to have a mother-friendly birth? 10 questions to ask

Have you decided how to have your baby? Lamaze, water birth, home birth ... the choice is all yours.

First, you should learn as much as you can about all your choices. There are many ways of caring for a mother and her baby during labor and birth. Birthing care that is better and healthier for mothers and babies is called "mother-friendly." Some birth places or settings are more mother-friendly than others.

When you're deciding where to have your baby, you'll probably be choosing from a birth center, a hospital or a home birth service. Be sure to find out how the people you talk with handle these 10 issues about caring for you and your baby. You may want to ask the questions below to help you learn more.

1. Who can be with me during labor and birth?
Mother-friendly birth centers, hospitals and home birth services will let a birthing mother decide who she wants to have with her during the birth. That includes fathers, partners, children, other family members and friends. They'll also let a birthing mother have with her a person who has special training in helping women cope with labor and birth -- a doula or labor support person. They may also havemidwives as part of their staff so that a birthing mother can have one with her if she wants to.

2. What happens during a normal labor and birth in your setting?
If they give mother-friendly care, they will tell you how they handle every part of the birthing process. For example, how often do they give the mother a drug to speed up the birth? Or do they usually let labor and birth happen on their own time? They will also tell you how often they do certain procedures. For example, they will have a record of the percentage of Caesarian sections they do every year. If that number is too high, you'll want to consider having your baby in another place or with another doctor or midwife.

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