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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.

Choosing the best care provider for your birth is an individual choice.  Having a friend or family member that liked a care provider won't tell you what that care provider can do for you.  The best way to choose the best care provider for your birth is to interview at least one home birth provider and one facility provider.  If you can get to know multiple providers to really understand the way they practice, this is your ideal.  Trusting your provider for their skills and experience and feeling comfortable communicating with them as you would a friend will enable the highest levels of oxytocin flowing in your birth space, rather than nervous adrenaline suppressing your labor progression.

Why are You Hiring a Care Provider?

If your answer to this is, "Because I'm pregnant," or, "Because I need myself and my baby checked regularly to make sure nothing is wrong," then there is a chance you haven't dug deep into the understanding of birth physiology nor sought a provider that works for YOU.  These two types of answers illustrate a belief that birth is risky and that any provider with a midwifery or obstetric related title provides quality care for YOU and for support of biological birth.  Not all providers practice the same.  They shouldn't, either.  We're not looking for cookie cutter providers any more than we're looking for cookie cutter births.  But we are at a time in history where we have access to a LOT of traditional and modern knowledge that can be (and IS being) blended to provide families with holistic support of the entire perinatal period.

Use the table below as a guide to help you find the best care provider, doula, birth team, 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 support
I am excited to see my provider at my prenatals YES NO
My provider listens to my questions and thoughts and engages in respectful conversation with me and is willing to provide me with the birth I desire, or kindly recommend I seek the care of someone else should our views not align YES NO
My provider encourages me to research recommendations and make informed decisions about my pregnancy, birth, and postpartum and does not push any recommendations as required YES NO
Many mothers birth in upright, forward leaning, all fours, or squatting positions with this provider YES NO
My provider knows how to use physical and emotional support including quiet, calm, and dark environments, water therapy, a peanut and birth ball and this is a standard part of their birth support YES NO
My provider doesn't use induction or cesarean as a treatment for "big babies" YES NO
Many baby's have their cord clamped and cut after the placenta birth with this provider YES NO
My baby will be skin to skin with me as a standard practice through postpartum YES NO
My provider takes all the time I need to answer all the questions I have, or schedules time for this specific purpose, and suggest holistic therapies to remedy any fears YES NO
My provider works with fetal positioning guidance during pregnancy to reduce labor and birth complications YES NO
My provider encourages balanced meals and provides information on eating balanced rather than prescribing a standard Rx prenatal to cover nutrition.  If prenatal vitamins are recommended, they are whole foods (with folate, not folic acid) and test to determine specific areas of deficiency are encouraged to know what supplements would be beneficial for you. YES NO
My provider believes the body is capable of laboring, birthing, and healing during postpartum and doesn't use medical technology as a standard means of practice for normal pregnancy and birth during any part of the perinatal stages YES NO
My provider actively refers to other providers and specialists for areas they feel would benefit from another perspective or for care they are unable to provide YES NO
My provider does not get aggressive or sarcastic at the mention of home birth YES NO
My provider understands the influence of birth practices on breastfeeding YES NO
My provider uses emotional and physical guidance during labor to increase oxytocin, decrease fear, and naturally support the physical movement of the baby through the pelvis during labor YES NO
My provider ensures I am provided with (and know resources for) breastfeeding support immediately after birth and the first days and weeks after birth YES NO
My provider doesn't use "at least you have a healthy baby" as a justification for birth experiences YES NO
My provider checks on me, or has someone on their team that checks on me, multiple times throughout the first six weeks postpartum YES NO
My provider's backup, and any staff working with or for my provider, practices in the same way as my provider 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 provider.  These may not even be a priority to YOU for THIS birth.  However, this is a general overview of how to get to the deep down of how a provider practices.

To try and put any type of assessment on labor is limiting the vast realm of differences labor can be for each mother, and each pregnancy. There are so. many. factors. that play into our labor experiences it really is impossible to do so… and yet, we still try. One of the most significant restraints we’ve given to birth is the Friedman’s curve based on poor research and the belief of control. Because of this curve, we’ve also separated birth into 3 stages, which further reduces our ability to see labor as the intricate, emotional, transition that it is for the family.

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