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Health & Pregnancy

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How Do You Want to Deliver Your Baby?

Find the childbirth option that’s right for you.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Birth Center

Be sure to attend the birth center orientation so you can talk with the staff and learn about the center's policies.

  • Ask about the center's rate of hospital transfers.
  • Ask what circumstances would require you to be taken to the hospital.
  • Find out who is the back-up OB or doctor for the center.
  • Ask what the emergency backup plan is, what hospital the center is affiliated with, and how long it takes to get there.
  • Keep in mind that birth centers do not provide anesthesia. This means that you will not have the option to have an epidural or other type of pain management at the birth center.
  • Make sure the birth center you are considering is licensed by the state (if licensing is an option in your sate) and accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers.
  • Ask about the staff's credentials to make sure they are certified and licensed to practice in the state.

Home Births

While less than 1% of women in the U.S. give birth at home, the number of women who choose to have a home delivery has risen since 2004. This increase reflects the desire of many women to have their baby in the comfort of their own home with more control over the childbirth process.

If you are interested in home birth, it's important to carefully weigh the risks and benefits. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG, while the overall risk is low, studies show that the risk of infant death is two to three times higher when giving birth at home. ACOG believes that hospitals and birthing centers are the safest settings for giving birth. However, many women have healthy babies at home.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Home Birth

You should only consider having a home birth if you are healthy, have a normal pregnancy, and ideally, have given birth before. Women who attempt to have their first child at home are 25% to 37% more likely to need to go to a hospital because of complications.

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