Knowing what your birthing options are, in order to decide where to have a baby, are important decisions expectant parents need to make. With the average cost to deliver a baby in a hospital by vaginal birth in the U.S. being around $8800.00 in a labor and delivery room, pregnant moms and dads are looking for alternative ways to deliver a baby in a healthy and safe environment, but without the high costs of delivering in a hospital.
Pregnant teenagers and expectant women need to know what natural childbirth options are available for them to deliver their baby, understanding the pros and cons of cesarean sections so aptly discussed in “The Business of Being Born” documentary by Ricki Lake, especially since childbirth by cesarean section has become big business in U.S. hospitals.
Natural Childbirth Options
Labor and delivery cost is an important factor for many expectant moms and dads in deciding where to deliver a baby, but the cost to deliver a baby should not be the primary reason for choosing a birthing center or home birth delivery over a hospital birth, as there is much more than cost to consider in deciding how or where to deliver a baby.
Whether you have medical insurance or not to help with the costs of delivering your baby, understand that the average cost of birthing center deliveries and home birth delivery is 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of giving birth in a hospital, and many birthing centers accept insurance and are happy to file claims for you or work out a payment plan.
If you are interested in delivering your baby at a birthing center or a home birth delivery, find a birth center near you and schedule a consultation and walk-through of the facility. A consultation visit with the birthing center gives you the opportunity to talk to the certified midwives on staff and ask important questions about birthing options, costs of delivering at the birthing center or a home birth, insurance and payment plans, your personal birth plan and preferences for labor and delivery.
Wherever you decide to deliver your baby, it’s important that you take the time to create a birth plan. What is a birth plan? A birth plan is a clear, one-page statement listing all of your preferences and choices for your labor and delivery that you discuss and share with your baby’s father, doctor, nurses and/or midwife, and anyone else involved in the birth as your support team.
The birth plan is a detailed “map” your labor and delivery team will use to follow your wishes and instructions for a natural childbirth experience throughout the stages of labor and delivery. Be sure each person involved in the birthing process has a copy of your birth plan well ahead of the “big day” in order to avoid any miscommunication or confusion during labor and delivery.
Writing a birth plan with the help of a “birth plan template”, or by following the guidelines found in a “sample birth plan”, will help you in choosing and writing down your personal birthing options and preferences. What should a birth plan or birth form include?
- Who do you want to be there throughout your labor and delivery?
- Will there be children/siblings, parents or in-laws present?
- Do you want a doula? A doula is an assistant who provides various forms of non-medical support (physical, emotional and informed choice) in the childbirth process
- Do you want mobility, the option to move around at will, or do you prefer to be confined to a bed?
- What activities or labor and delivery positions do you plan to use during labor and while giving birth? (walking, standing, squatting, sitting, etc)
- Do you want a calm, quiet, gentle birth?
- Do you want a water birth? (delivering your baby in a birthing tub), or with a birthing stool during the birthing process?
- Do you want any pain medications? Do you have any preferences for which pain medications are used if any, or do you want to avoid them altogether?
- What will you do for pain relief? Massage, hot and cold packs, changing positions, labor imagery, relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, shower/tub or Jacuzzi, and medication are just some options to consider
- How do you feel about fetal monitoring? Fetal monitoring often requires laboring mothers to assume the supine position (flat on your back) during labor, which can make back labor more uncomfortable and painful during labor
- Do you want an epidural childbirth? Do you want an episiotomy? Many birthing centers and home birth certified midwives do not routinely give episiotomies unless deemed necessary, and epidurals are not an option at birthing centers or home births
- How will you hydrate yourself during labor? Sipping water or ice chips? Do you want a routine IV, a heparin/saline lock, or nothing at all?
- Do you want soft music playing during your labor and/or delivery?
- For birthing center or home births, what are your wishes and preferences if you must be transported to a nearby hospital?
- If you need to deliver by cesarean section, do you have any special requests or wishes you would like considered?
Throughout your pregnancy, you are likely to hear a variety of labor and delivery stories that may or may not be welcome or invited. Keep in mind that each labor and delivery is different for every woman, so take these labor and delivery stories with a grain of salt.
Be sure to sign up for and take prenatal classes or natural childbirth classes, as childbirth education provided by those who areÂ educated, qualified, certified and experienced in natural childbirth are better equipped to answer your questions and/or concerns about your birthing options, labor and delivery stages, nursing/breastfeeding your baby etc.
Childbirth classes also provide expectant parents the opportunity to watch high-quality natural childbirth videos, as opposed to “birthing videos” found online at websites like YouTube.com, where many of the “childbirth videos” are nothing more than pranks.
Childbirth books written by natural child birth experts offer expectant mothers invaluable information and advice on how to have a prepared childbirth regardless of which childbirth option you choose. Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth is an excellent childbirth book, so be sure to include that on your list of must-read books.
Natural childbirth education, provided by those who truly care about you and your baby, is all you need in deciding for or against natural childbirth and choosing your childbirth options (or how and where to deliver a baby).
Baby Needs Checklist – Basic Baby Needs for Newborn Babies
Pregnant Teenagers – Unplanned Teenage Pregnancy
Ricki Lake: Ricki Lake’s The Business of Being Born
The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be