Delivery Advice for New Moms
Like many aspects of pregnancy, your delivery method is a very personal choice. Some women wouldn’t dream of giving birth to their new baby anywhere but a hospital, while others prefer to stay at home. If you’re still deciding what’s right for you, read on for some advice to help guide you.
Even though alternative birth methods may be more popular than ever, the majority of new moms still opt for traditional hospital births. There, doctors help manage your delivery, monitor your new baby’s vital signs, and offer access to pain medications like epidurals if you decide you want them.
Despite past practice, most hospitals don’t require women to give birth to their new baby lying down. Instead, many hospitals allow new moms to stand, walk, rock, or squat, all of which let gravity work with you -- helping you give birth to your new baby more comfortably. And if you’re a new mom with pregnancy complications or may need a C-section, the hospital might be the safest place for you to give birth.
A birthing center could be a good choice if you’ve already given birth without problems, have a low-risk pregnancy, and think that a natural birth could help your baby’s development. Usually, birthing centers are staffed by registered nurses, certified nurse midwives, and doulas. However, doctors may be affiliated with some birthing centers and can provide consultations during complications.
Compared to hospitals, birthing centers may be able to offer you more comfort and control, like laboring in your desired position or relaxing in a hot tub. And speaking of tubs, most birthing centers let new moms give birth in the water: They’re often considered more peaceful for babies -- and laboring in a warm pool could be more comfortable for you, too. Since epidurals aren’t offered, birthing centers rely on pain management techniques like hydrotherapy, massage, and warm and cold compresses.
If preparing for your baby and laboring in a familiar environment is important to you, you may be able to give birth at home. During home births, new moms are typically assisted by a midwife or doctor who monitor your vital signs as well as your new baby’s heart rate. When preparing for your baby with a home birth, it’s essential for your health care provider to have a plan in place for getting to the hospital in the event of an emergency. And keep in mind that home births are not considered safe for new moms with pregnancy complications, gestational diabetes, moms who’ve previously had a C-section, or are having multiples.
No matter what birthing option you choose, it’s important to feel comfortable with your labor plan. Prepare for baby’s delivery the best you can, but know that whether you choose to give birth at a hospital or at home with a midwife, you’ll be in good hands.