Childbirth can be a scary time for a woman. But there are steps you can take to make the process of labor and delivery as comfortable as possible. By preparing yourself ahead of time, you’ll be more relaxed and confident during the actual event. If you’re having trouble sleeping or experiencing anxiety, it’s important to find ways to cope with those fears before they start interfering with your ability to cope during labor and delivery.
The following childbirth tips will help you learn what to expect during labor and delivery.
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Know Your Options for Prenatal Care
Women are often surprised to learn that they can opt for prenatal care in a birthing center or at their home. In some cases, women may be able to take advantage of a midwife at a birthing center while also being able to get prenatal care from a physician. By taking the time to investigate your options, you’ll be better prepared to give birth in the place of your choosing.
If you have questions about your options for prenatal care, be sure you speak with someone who is knowledgeable about pregnancy and birth. Your doctor, midwife, nurse-midwife, or obstetrician may not be familiar with the birthing center where you plan on delivering and may not have any experience delivering babies in those facilities. Before making any decisions about where or how you will give birth, talk with someone who has delivered babies in those centers.
The following are the advantages and disadvantages of each option for prenatal care:
Birthing Center Prenatal Care:
Prenatal care is provided in a birthing center, which means you won’t have to travel to a hospital or other facility. Many birthing centers offer services in addition to prenatal care, including labor and delivery. The birthing center where you give birth may be able to provide an epidural as well as pain relief medications, such as oxytocin (Pitocin) or methylergonovine (Methergine). If you deliver at a birthing center that doesn’t offer labor and delivery services, your doctor may still be able to assist with the delivery by being on-site. Birthing centers also allow for more privacy than traditional hospitals. You can choose where you want to give birth in your home or at a friend’s home.
If you choose to deliver at a birthing center, you will likely be required to travel. Birthing centers are not able to provide as much medical care as hospitals and other facilities. Most birthing centers don’t offer epidurals or pain medications. If your doctor isn’t able to be present, the midwife or nurse-midwife may need to administer an epidural for labor and delivery. Birthing centers often charge more than traditional hospitals or other medical facilities, making it difficult for some women on a fixed income to afford the birthing center where they plan on delivering. A birthing center that is affiliated with a hospital may provide the same services at a lower cost than a private birthing center, depending on which hospital is providing services.
Home Prenatal Care:
Home prenatal care allows you the option of delivering at home if you desire. You won’t have to travel or worry about the transportation required to deliver at a birthing center. Home prenatal care allows you the opportunity to make your own decisions about birth, such as whether you would like a natural birth or a cesarean section. Home prenatal care is typically more affordable than birthing center prenatal care, making it possible for many women to afford this option.
Home prenatal care is not available in all areas and may not be available where you live. If your doctor or midwife isn’t familiar with home-based prenatal care, he or she may not be able to help you through this type of delivery if complications arise during labor and delivery. This option also does not allow for pain medication during labor and delivery if necessary. It can be difficult to find physicians who provide home-based prenatal care.
Hospital Prenatal Care:
Hospitals are well equipped to provide prenatal care, with a staff of physicians, nurses, and support personnel.
Hospital prenatal care is typically more expensive than home or birthing center prenatal care. Many hospitals don’t offer birthing center services. If complications arise during labor and delivery, it can be difficult to find physicians who are familiar with home-based care.