Choosing Where to Have Your Baby
Probably the first decision you will need to make is whether to have your baby at home or in hospital.
There may be reasons why a hospital delivery would be best for you. For example:
- You have a medical condition that means it is safest for your baby to be born in hospital, where there is appropriate care for you and your baby.
- You may develop a condition in your pregnancy that means hospital delivery is best for you both. These conditions include: problems with blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes.
- Some babies do not grow as well as we expect, if your baby is small, or there is evidence of fetal distress you may be advised to deliver in hospital.
- Both you and your partner must be totally happy about you having your baby at home (There is no way I could have had my children at home, because Gary, my husband, blanched at the mere suggestion!)
- If you need or request a caesarean section, you obviously will deliver in hospital.
Talk to your doctor and midwife if you want further advice before making this decision. In most areas if you initially book for a hospital birth, and everything goes well in your pregnancy, and you want to change your mind and deliver at home, you can change your mind. But it can also work the other way, and you may have decided home delivery is definitely for you, but either you or your baby require the more technical expertise available in hospital.
In many areas midwives you know will be available to deliver you. However this is not always the case, staffing levels and rotas may mean this is impossible. Rest assured midwives are all well trained, and if there is a gap in their knowledge they will be well supervised by others in the unit. Student midwives follow a rigorous training schedule, and are mentored throughout their training and once they are first qualified.
If you want to deliver in a pool, or have any other specific request ask your midwife about availability in your area. Some hospitals, for instance do not offer waterbirths, but will advise you to book at a nearby unit who have a “lagoon room”.
Think about your birth plan, write it and re-write it as necessary. You may not know what you want, you may be more certain about what you DON’T want. Midwives and others looking after you like it if you have written a plan, although lots of women feel they may appear “bossy”, it tells us where you’re coming from, and what you would like, IN THE IDEAL SITUATION. Remember- be flexible!