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Does it really matter WHERE you give Birth?

“Imagine…A place where everyone honours you and the work you will do in labour, speaks quietly and moves slowly and gently. Respects your need to be spontaneous- to eat, drink, make sounds, move around, cry, shout, laugh, treats you and your baby as fully conscious and sensitive beings.” Suzanne Arms quote taken from HypnoBirthing by Marie Mongan.

Giving birth is such an intimate, emotional experience. It is when you, as a woman can be at your most vulnerable or your most empowered. To prepare your mind and your body for birth is ultimately the most important thing that you can do during your pregnancy but if the place where you are choosing to give birth isn’t in line with that preparation, your birth can go off course.

It’s a good idea to decide early on in your pregnancy what kind of birth you want. If you want a natural birth (vaginal delivery, no drugs) and are classified as “low risk” then you have many options available to you. Do your research. Consider a Home Birth- your home is the place where you feel most comfortable and confident. When you feel this way, endorphins will flow throughout your body helping you to labour easily and in your own time. Your partner won’t be on any time constraints, infection is less likely, and you can have as many people as you want to support you.

If you want a natural birth but a home birth isn’t for you, take a look around the local Midwifery Led Units and Birth Centres. We have some wonderful examples of these in our local area. For example, Solihull’s MLU and Serenity Birth Centre in the Sandwell District. The surroundings will be less clinical than a hospital and more homely, helping you to relax and feel comfortable. Your partner will be able to stay with you, in your room, for the whole stay. And most importantly, you are more likely to have the natural birth that you have been planning for, as the chances of medical interventions, in comparison to a hospital setting, are reduced.

If you are categorised as high risk and have decided that a hospital birth is the best choice for you and your baby. A natural birth is still very possible (some conditions may increase your chances of intervention or a medicated birth but always research your options and make an informed choice). You could be more likely to accept drugs in a hospital and the possibility of having intervention during your labour increases however, if you prepare for your birth by attending a suitable Antenatal Course these possibilities can be managed and the chances of them occurring are lowered. You will want to make yourself at home and try to create a familiar environment in the ward/room you will labour in and the delivery suite in which you will give birth. Bring pillows from home with your favourite aromatherapy scent sprayed on them. Pack photos of loved ones (children, pets), prepare a compilation of your favourite music or select an album of relaxation tracks. Pick comfortable clothes to labour in and something that you can give birth in easily too.

If you have elected to have a C-Section or have been advised that a surgical birth is the best option for you and baby, you can still, to a certain degree create an atmosphere that will enable you to relax and keep calm. There is a growing movement attempting to make the C-Section a more family centred or natural experience. There are a few alterations to the usual planned C-section that you can re quest. Click here to learn more about this technique

Whatever choice you make, ensure that it is an informed choice and one you are comfortable with. You may find the Birth Choice UK website useful when making your decision.