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What are Your Birthing Options?

Whether you are giving birth for the first time or the fourth, it’s a good idea to consider all your options and decide on a birthing situation that will benefit you the best. For some women, this means a hospital birth. You have immediate access to experts and equipment in a hospital, even if it isn’t the prettiest surroundings. Other women prefer to be in the comfort of their homes. This article gives you a brief overview of birthing options to discuss further with your midwife.     

A hospital birth 

By far, the most common type of birth is hospital birth. Yet, even with a variety of options now available and more women opting for home births and birth centers, hospital birthing is still broadly favored. So why is this? For one thing, there is no shortage of experts, medicine, and equipment for pain relief and emergency procedures. 

Hospital birthing may not be the comfortable surroundings you would get with home birth, but you are still afforded plenty of freedom to choose the conditions to give birth in. You will find hospital staff is attentive and caring. They will look out for your best interests in terms of your birthing environment and pain relief options. 

A home birth 

Increasingly, women are opting for a home birth! The advantages are clear. You have the comfort of your familiar surroundings as you approach your baby’s birth, as well as the support of friends, family, and health care professionals. While not every health care professional is convinced that home birth is safe, for low-risk pregnancies, it’s suitable. 

If you decide to have a home birth, it requires some planning. First, you will have to determine what kind of medical and home support you need. A doctor, a doula, etc. Homebirth is a little riskier than a hospital birth or a birth center because you have less access to medicine and emergency equipment. Your medical professional will check in on you periodically.  

A birth center 

For a birthing option that sits somewhere in between a hospital and home birth, choose a birth center. Typically, birth centers are more homely than hospitals. They also provide family accommodation, birthing pools, and complementary therapies, not always available in a hospital. In the event of complications, you can be swiftly transferred to a hospital.  

If your pregnancy is low risk and you want a little more support than home birth, a birth center is a good choice. However, while they are comfortable and supportive, they don’t offer the same level of facilities and treatments as a hospital. For example, you may need to be transferred if you need pain medications or additional help in delivery. 

A water birth 

Water birthing is very popular for low-risk pregnancies as it’s far less stressful for mother and baby. Babies love the water, and when they’re a little older, they will love learning to swim at a swim school. In addition, a water birth reduces your baby’s stress because they are born into a familiar environment. They are not exposed to the air right away, which reduces the shock! 

A water birth also reduces stress and pain for the mother. There is far less need for pain relief with water birth. If you like the idea of water birthing, it can be arranged in any of the settings above. Talk to your midwife, the hospital, or the birth center to find out what water birthing options they have. 

TENS units  

TENS is the latest natural pain relief technology. It stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator. A TENS unit is a set of electrical pads coupled to a device. The electrical pads are placed on the body in specific places depending on the nature of the discomfort. Small electrical pulses are sent through the pads that inhibit the brain’s ability to produce pain signals.  

TENS units can be rented and used as natural pain relief during labor. Some women like to avoid pain medication when giving birth and TENS technology offers a natural alternative. As well as inhibiting the brain’s pain signals when birth, TENS units also releases endorphins that make you feel good and further reduce discomfort.    


Final thoughts 

Everyone is different and has different preferences when it comes to birthing. That said, every pregnancy is also different, and the birthing option to want may not be the best one for your pregnancy. Therefore, it’s sensible to be aware of all your options and discuss them with your doctor and midwife. Birthing is a stressful process for mother and child, so the more comfort and control you have, the easier you can make it.