Birth Settings: Important Considerations

Not all birth settings offer the same options. Before you choose to give birth in a hospital, a birth center, or at home, investigate which options are important to you and available to you. Below are some questions to help you think through this important decision.

birth setting considerations
Who are the main health care providers in this setting?

Is birth viewed as a normal, healthy process?

Do health care providers encourage the clients to be actively involved in making decisions about their care during labor and birth?

Are family (including the baby's brothers and sisters) and friends encouraged to participate?

Are childbirth education classes offered?

Is electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) routinely used?

What drugs (medications, epidurals) and drug-free methods (labor support, tubs and showers, birth balls) are available to manage labor pain?

How often are surgical procedures like episiotomy and cesarean section performed? How about vacuum extraction or forceps delivery?

What is the VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) policy?

How are emergencies handled?

Are mother and baby separated immediately after birth? Is there rooming-in?

Is breastfeeding encouraged by staff?

Can the woman's partner remain with her throughout her postpartum stay?

What is the length of stay after a vaginal birth? A cesarean section? Is follow-up support available?

How much does it cost? Is it covered by my insurance?

Most recent page update: 9/9/2010

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Founded in 1918, Childbirth Connection has joined forces with and become a core program of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Together, these two women's health powerhouses are transforming maternity care in the United States.
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