Choosing a Place of Birth
Early in your pregnancy, it is important to make thoughtful decisions about who will provide your maternity care and where you will give birth. These major decisions can affect:
- The care you receive and the effects of that care.
- The quality of your relationship with your care provider(s).
- How much information you will get.
- The choices and options you will have, particularly during labor and birth.
- Your involvement with decisions about your care.
If you are a healthy childbearing woman, like most pregnant women in the United States, you can consider giving birth in a hospital, an out-of-hospital birth center, or in your home.
This section gives you information on why your decision about where to give birth is important, your options and things to keep in mind. We also offer some tools to help you make your decision. You will learn that this decision goes hand-in-hand with the important decision about who will be your maternity care provider. And you will learn that it is important to ask whether these continue to be the right choices for you as time goes on.
Your maternity care provider likely attends births in just one or two places. That means you are choosing a place of birth when you choose a maternity care provider. Even though choosing where you give birth and who will provide your maternity care may take time and energy, making good choices about these important issues is well worth the effort.
On this page, learn about different types of birth settings, how they compare, basic things to keep in mind as you start choosing a birth place, and how to make sure your insurance covers your choice.
Read more details about the different experiences you might have giving birth in a hospital, in- or out-of-hospital birthing center, or in your own home.
Choosing a birth setting that uses evidence-based practices is important and this section summarizes the research on different birth settings. In this section, you will also find tools to help you ask the right questions and gather the information you need to make your decision about where you want to give birth.