Do you know your birthing options?

This may be a subject that many mothers and families are unfamiliar with because the majority of mothers in the U.S. have hospital births. According to a recently published study, having your baby at home with a registered midwife is just as safe as a hospital birth for women with normal, uncomplicated pregnancies. The study showed a lower mortality rate in the home birth group versus the hospital birth groups. The babies were also less likely to need oxygen therapy or resuscitation. In addition, the women that gave birth at home were less likely to need interventions or have other adverse outcomes, like tearing or hemorrhaging, compared with the planned hospital birth groups attended by a midwife or physician. The women were also found to have higher satisfaction with their birth experience.

Did you know in the Netherlands about one-third of the women give birth at home? Home birth in uncomplicated pregnancies is supported by the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Royal College of Midwives in the United Kingdom and by the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian colleges of midwives. In Colorado women can choose to birth at home, in a birth center, or in a hospital.

A home birth may not be an option that many women are informed about, and is worth investigating for a normal pregnancy. A home birth has many advantages which include: low Cesarean section rate, freedom of movement, water-birth option, strong support for breastfeeding, delivering in a comfortable and familiar setting, extensive postpartum support, can cost less depending your insurance plan, and referrals to the appropriate medical professionals are made when necessary. If having a home birth interests you hiring a registered midwife that you feel comfortable with is the most important step. Two great websites to search for midwives are http://www.coloradomidwives.org/ and http://www.nursemidwivesofcolorado.org/ or asking for a referral from a family member or friend if they have used a midwife. The state of Colorado registers midwives so mothers considering this option should look at the Department of Regulatory Agencies (http://www.dora.state.co.us/Midwives/) and their Automated Licensure Information System Online to check the status of an individual's license just like you can do for Ob/Gyn's and other licensed professionals. Another option if a mother is interested in using a midwife but not for a home birth is using a certified nurse midwife to deliver in a hospital. This option will allow you a more personalized pregnancy with additional support during your labor and delivery while utilizing the hospital setting. If a birth center interests you, the Mountain Midwifery Center (http://www.mountainmidwifery.com/) is the only freestanding and accredited birth center in Colorado, and is a great place for women that are looking for something in-between a hospital birth and a home birth. The last birth option that most mothers are familiar with is a hospital with an Ob/Gyn, Physician Assistant (PA), and/or nurse assisting with the delivery. This is the best option for a mother if the pregnancy is complicated in any way, is a high-risk pregnancy, or if this is where the mother feels most comfortable delivering.

Many women are unaware they have different birthing options. I encourage every mother to become educated about their birth options, and make the best choice for themselves. Birth is a natural event in a woman's life and every woman should feel empowered by this special time in their life.


References:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-09-03-midwife-home-birth_N.htm

http://www.cmaj.ca/content/181/6-7/377.full.pdf+html

http://www.bmj.com/content/330/7505/1416.full

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