Q: [Baby] I am just beginning my second trimester (first baby), and I am looking into birthing methods. What are my options and how do I know what will work best for me?
A: Today, women have more pregnancy and birthing options available making it possible to “tailor fit” your birth experience. The first step is to select the type of provider you want. You must be knowledgeable of what each is capable of and the type of care they will provide.
Midwives care for normal pregnancies, birth and are trained to manage common complications. Locations where they assist in labor and birth include your home, a birth center or the hospital.
An OB/GYN is trained to deal with low- to moderately high-risk pregnancies, and birth in a hospital. They can treat complications of pregnancy such as insulin-dependent diabetes, high blood pressure and assist with complicated labor and birth. Perinatologists are the specialists for complicated pregnancies or births in a hospital. These complications can include multiple gestations (twins or triplets) or difficulties with the baby in utero.
The next question to answer is where to have the birth. An accredited birth center is an option for the woman who is low-risk; has a highly-trained caregiver; and lives a drivable distance to the next level of care. The mother is closely monitored and has the options to be able to walk, eat and sit in a pool of water for labor and birth. Currently, these centers are the most rapidly growing option in the U.S. for low-risk pregnancies. Another choice would be to give birth at the hospital, which is the most logical option for women who need more medical interventions either by choice or necessity. Higher risk pregnancies, medical pain management or birth via C-section would all be best managed in a hospital setting.
Regardless of your provider and setting, every pregnant woman and partner can benefit from the services of a doula. A doula is a trained, supportive nurturer who assists in helping the daddy or birth partner provide a smooth and natural process of birth, and to avoid any bumps in the road.
Being pregnant and giving birth is a momentous threshold in any person’s life. Take the time and investigate your options so that you can have a birth experience that is most meaningful to you.
Lorri Walker, CNM, RNC, NP is the Founder, Director and “Chief Baby Catcher” of South Coast Midwifery in Irvine—Orange County’s first accredited birth center. www.southcoastmidwifery.com