Hospital birth, home birth, or birthing center. Which is right for you?

Good Things Utah
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Sarah Clark of The Dainty Pear does it all. We’re endlessly impressed with her skills and abilities, and wanted to talk about her experience working as a doula. Find Sarah at @thedaintypear

“Should I Give Birth in a Hospital, at a Birth Center, or At Home?” This is a question many expecting moms find themselves asking, even more so in today’s climate! With increasing restrictions in hospitals on the amount of people who are able to attend a birth, mask mandates, etc., it’s causing many women to search their options. Many hospitals are allowing a spouse and another party (such as a doula or family member,) while others are allowing only a spouse to attend. This has sparked many women to look at other options, especially if they are wanting more support, or a photographer, videographer, etc.

This particular issue wasn’t as prevalent even a couple of years ago. Depending on the hospital, of course, some women’s births were like having a party! Sarah tells us she had family members and best friends there, but times were different. It’s definitely not for everyone, but that was something that she chose, and that brought joy during that birthing time. Other births that we had were more intimate, but it was all based on preference. Now, there are more factors to consider.

Hospital Birth:

You may choose a hospital birth if you have preexisting conditions, have had complications during pregnancy, or are just more comfortable in that setting. If you know you want an epidural, a hospital birth is the best option.

Even though Sarah had four of her children unmedicated, she chose to have all five of her babies in a hospital, because that was her preference. She absolutely loved her doctors, nurses, and the whole experience, but she’s attended all kinds of births as a doula, and says she has no judgment for what each mom believes is best for their situation!

It’s all about preference, your comfort level, and what your risk factors may be.

You may be a great candidate for a home birth or birth center birth if your pregnancy has been healthy and uncomplicated. The out-of-hospital midwives may recommend that you see an OBGYN and birth in a hospital if that has not been the case or if you are having multiples.

Birth Center: 

It gives a home-like and non medical feel, without actually being at home. It’s kind of that middle ground between hospital and home birth. Midwives will tend to take a more natural and holistic approach, although many do have access to common birth drugs, such as pitocin.

Many birth centers have tubs for birthing if you are opting for a water birth, and they also have beds for birthing and recovery. Many birth centers are located near a hospital, just in case mom does need to be transported for whatever reason. Sarah has attended births where this has happened, but she’s also attended many births where it’s a straight forward birth experience. The rate for interventions such as induction or c-section tends to be lower in out-of-hospital births.

The end goal for the birth center professionals is a safe and healthy delivery for mom and baby. 

The midwives at a birth center are trained professionals in the birth space, and specialize in natural, vaginal births.

Home Birth: 

You are on your own turf! Many women find it easier to progress in labor while in the comfort of their own home. You also don’t have the same requirements or restrictions that you would have in a hospital or even birth center in some cases, because it’s your space. It’s your home.

Many parents choose a home birth if they would like a family-centered birth. Sarah has attended births where the kids are very much part of it. Midwives will bring their supplies to you, and are ready and on call for when you go into active labor. 

In a home birth situation, you are assuming certain risks that you may not have in another situation, but parents who choose this option are aware of that, and have ideally chosen a birth team that helps them feel empowered and comfortable in their decision.

Deena Manzanares
Deena Marie Manzanares is a Utah native, but lived in NYC for a few years while attending the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School. Locally, she has worked as a professional actor for years in both stage and film.

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