Trying to make up your mind between giving birth in a hospital, having a home birth, or opting for a free-standing birth center? A study may provide some important pros and cons to consider before making your final decision.
So what's the latest on birthing options? According to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, the risk of having a C-section is significantly lower for women who deliver or intend to deliver at home or at a birthing center (attended by a midwife). At the same time, however, women who opt for these "outside the hospital" births may be putting their newborns at higher risk for certain problems. Researchers found in their survey that neonatal seizures and a five-minute Apgar score of less than 7 were much higher for home births compared to hospital births.
"This trade-off between [a mother's benefit] and neonatal risk of deliveries outside of hospitals should be weighed in the decision regarding birthing facility preferences," says Dr. Yvonne W. Cheng, the study's lead author.
What's right for your birth? Making the decision between a home and hospital birth is a personal one—and is something that requires more than a little homework on your part. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Answering these questions can start to give you an idea of where the best place is for you and your newborn. But don't wait until due date before you start asking them! Preparing well in advance for the kind of birth you want is often the best way to make sure these dreams become reality.