Where to Have Your Baby: Hospitals

Today more women are successfully negotiating for the kind of birth experience they want. One choice is to have your baby at a hospital. Other choices include having your baby at a birthing center or at home.

In the last decade, many couples have succeeded in having satisfying birth experiences within an institutional setting. More and more hospitals are remodeling their birthing units. They are providing rooms in which the mother may labor, give birth and stay with her baby after birth.

Some of these birthing units, however, have become masterful reproductions of homelike environments that merely conceal the standard hospital technology. Everything needed for a medically controlled birth either pops out of the wall or conveniently rolls into the room. You must be aware of whether a hospital just advertises the availability of a gentle birth or truly provides it.

Make sure you talk with both the hospital and your doctor so that you feel confident that you will be allowed to create the experience you want within the hospital. Some doctors will sit with women in labor and let the process unfold in an undisturbed way. Many hospitals also employ certified nurse-midwives in their clinics.

Don't be dependent on your doctor to tell you everything about the hospital. Call the administration yourself and ask about the hospital's policies and whether tours of the maternity area are offered. Even if you have a great relationship with your doctor and you write a detailed

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