Birth Location Selection Guide
Choosing the best birth location for your birth is an individual choice. Having a friend or family member that liked a birth location won't tell you what that birth location can do for you. The best way to choose the best birth location for your birth is to take a tour of the location and know the routines and policies that birth location utilizes for birth. Considering home birth, birth center birth, and hospital birth can all help to provide you with the most well rounded approach to making an informed decision for your birth. In most cases, your care provider determines the birth location, so choosing the birth location and care provider are choices that go hand in hand.
Trusting your birth location for the options available to you that allow you to feel comfortable laboring in this space for the pregnancy that you are experiencing now will allow your oxytocin levels to be at their highest for labor progression rather than labor suppressing adrenaline.
Why are You Selecting This Birth Location?
Are you selecting a location other than your home? Do you know why you are selecting home or not your home? Your birth location not only comes with your care provider, but also the team of people working with your care provider. In most hospital births, your care provider won't even be present until shortly before the actual birth, so you need to be well aware of the staff that you will be interacting with as if they were the chosen care provider. Routines and policies can influence not only what you may have to request differently than the routines, but the respect you receive during labor, birth, and the days following.
Use the table below as a guide to help you find the best birth location and birth environment for your #happyhealthybirth.
|Thoughts and questions to ask yourself and to research about your chosen birth environment||Biological Birth Supportive||May want to seek other location|
|I am excited to walk into my chosen birth location and it feels like a place I can kick up my feet and relax if I want to without feeling like I'm burdening anyone||YES||NO|
|I enjoy the presence of the staff or assistants available in this birth locations||YES||NO|
|I do not have time limits for birth expected of me in this birth location||YES||NO|
|Medications are not a first recommendation for labor progression||YES||NO|
|Cytotec is NOT a method used for induction at this birth location||YES||NO|
|Pitocin is NOT a routine approach to the birth of the placenta or following the birth of the placenta||YES||NO|
|Eating and drinking is encouraged, as the mother desires, during labor||YES||NO|
|Movement is encouraged through labor||YES||NO|
|Quiet, calm, and dark environments are encouraged through labor and birth [the pushing stage], as well as the first few hours after birth||YES||NO|
|Using the placenta for postpartum hemorrhage is an option||YES||NO|
|The cord is routinely kept intact until the placenta is birthed and the cord becomes white and stops pulsing||YES||NO|
|Lotus birth is an option||YES||NO|
|Staff do not become aggressive or sarcastic when handling home birth transfers||YES||NO|
|Women choose their own labor and birth position||YES||NO|
|Doulas are encouraged to be present and respected||YES||NO|
|Siblings can be present during labor and birth||YES||NO|
|Water (tub or shower) is encouraged and available as a method of relaxation through labor and birth||YES||NO|
|Physical and emotional support is a first approach to helping a mom be confident and comfortable through labor, not medications||YES||NO|
|Staff encourage me to talk with my birth team about the benefits, risks, alternatives, intuition, and choosing not to use a recommendation or option||YES||NO|
|Babies are encouraged to be skin to skin with mom, or dad if mom is unavailable||YES||NO|
|Mandatory nor encouraged nursery time is NOT a part of routine care||YES||NO|
|Experienced lactation providers are available at all hours and days and a part of routine care for new mothers||YES||NO|
|Birth partners are encouraged to participate and are supported through labor, birth, and postpartum||YES||NO|
|I don't feel like I need a birth guide [birth plan] to get the birth that I desire at this location because the routines and policies align with my views of birth and care throughout labor, birth, and postpartum for me and my baby||YES||NO|
Of course, the ideal is a YES to all of these, right? At least much more than the majority. Are these the only priorities? No, of course not... and there are many other factors that will play into the quality and care of a birth location. Each mother may have different needs that help her determine the specific options she may want to utilize during birth, but facilities and the staff that support in those facilities create an environment of belief of the body's ability, or belief that birth is always a risk waiting to happen. From unassisted birth to any level of risk, providers can be supportive of birthing families through respectful care.