Giving birth is life’s most awe inspiring experience. As you prepare for the magical moment when your baby enters the world, you face many important decisions. Many of them will hinge on your personal philosophy and the things you’ve come to believe about childbirth. As you grow closer to your due date questions will arise: Who should be at the birth? Where- at home, birth center or hospital? Should I take the childbirth education classes- what kind? Will my birth be natural or do I want pain relief? Will I breast feed? And the questions go on and on…
Conventional obstetrical care treats pregnancy as an illness which must be managed. This often results in routine interventions in the birth process- everything from constant fetal monitoring and epidurals to labor induction to episiotomies and routine non-emergency Cesareans. Nearly all OBs deliver babies only at hospitals where interventions are easily available and commonly used. In contrast, CNMs view birth as a natural process. As more and more families realize there are alternatives to a conventional hospital birth, they are presented with the two main alternatives, which are home birth or birth center birth. Ultimately, where you feel the safest and most comfortable, should be where you decide to give birth, but this may be different for everyone. Your comfort is a key component in birthing success.
We often are asked the question of whether a home birth or birth center birth is best. There is no perfect answer. This can vary person to person, depending on your comfort level and living arrangements. The same safety professionals and medical equipment/supplies are available at home, as are in the birth center, so you and your baby’s safety are comparable at both locations. Below we have provided some differences between your two options.
As they say… “Home is where the heart is”. And this may be true for you during your birthing time. Our home tends to be the place where we feel most comfortable, relaxed and uninhibited- a desirable environment for birthing. The continuum of being in labor, giving birth, and snuggling down with your newborn baby in your own environment creates an incredibly peaceful event. Your midwife also comes to you, so no driving before or after your birth is necessary. If you have children and you want them present for this birth, they could be most comfortable in their own environment, and it is easy for them to “take a break from the action” by going to their own rooms to play or sleep. Families who share birth with their children report improved bonding and less incidence of sibling rivalry. If your home is where you feel safe and cozy, it’s near a hospital, is within Orange County, and has ample space for the birth team and their equipment, a home birth may be a great choice for you.
Birth Center Birth
As most birth centers are within minutes of a hospital (ours is less than 1 mile), a birth center can be a good option for people who would prefer a homebirth but live a long distance from a hospital should we need to transport in the rare case of an emergency. A birth center birth may also be a great option for you if you live with other people, have a lot of indoor animals, or live in an older apartment building with thin walls and limited elevator access. At your birth center birth, the birth team is responsible for set up and clean up that, at a home birth, may involve the family more, such as cleaning, laundry, trash service and placenta disposal. Our impressive and luxe birthing suites and oversized tubs are also often luxuries not all families are afforded in their own homes. Our birth center also comes equipped with what we call "birth accessories", including birth swings, TENS units, breast pumps, and Nitroux Oxide. These supplies are not available in a home birth setting.
Water Labor & Birth
The benefits of water birth are seemingly endless! Here are some of our favorites.
- Warm water is soothing, comforting, relaxing.
- Warm water acts a method of pain relief.
- Decreases the incidences of intervention, and thus, Cesarean Sections.
- The effect of buoyancy lessens a mother's body weight, allowing free movement and new positioning, as well as a sensation of floating.
- Buoyancy promotes more efficient uterine contractions and improved blood circulation resulting in better oxygenation of the uterine muscles, less pain for the mother, and more oxygen for the baby.
- Immersion in water often helps lower high blood pressure caused by anxiety.
- The water seems to reduce stress-related hormones, allowing the mother’s body to produce endorphins which serve as pain-inhibitors.
- Water causes the perineum to become more elastic and relaxed, reducing the incidence and severity of tearing and the need for an episiotomy and stitches.
- As the laboring women relaxes physically, she is able to relax mentally with greater ability to focus on the birth process.
- Since the water provides a greater sense of privacy, it can reduce inhibitions, anxiety, and fears.
Benefits for Baby:
- Provides an environment similar to the amniotic sac.
- Eases the stress of the birth thus increasing reassurance and sense of security.
Water labor and birth is available at home or in our birth center’s built in luxury birthing tubs.
VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) is a safe alternative to a routine repeat cesarean in most cases. If you have a healthy pregnancy, have a low horizontal scar and placenta on the uterus and go into labor on your own at term you have about a 70% to 75% chance that you and your baby will have a safe normal birth. Many hospitals and care providers no longer support women who want to plan a VBAC, not because it is not safe, but because of fear of a malpractice suit. Many hospitals feel it is too expensive to keep a full surgical team and anesthesia on stand-by, “immediately available” as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines for VBAC. The National Institutes of Health states that this recommendation is not based on high quality evidence.
Based on a review of 28 high-quality studies, the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services Expert Work Group found that in comparison to care provided by physicians for similar populations, care provided by professional midwives resulted in fewer cesareans, more VBACs, the same or better maternal and perinatal health benefits, and no worse outcomes.
We are proud to offer VBAC birth services in our birth center. Women who labor for a VBAC in a birth center and do not develop complications are more likely to have a normal birth. However, if you need an emergency transfer timing is very important, and our proximity to the nearest hospital is impeccable.