Like many parenting choices, there is often more taken into consideration when one makes a choice than a lot of people would like to admit. For some women, a hospital birth is a "no-brainer"... but there are other women who couldn't fathom such a thing, whether they started out in the hospital with previous births or not, and who will opt for a home birth. A third option, often left out of discussions about birth, is a free-standing (meaning not associated with a hospital) birthing center.
But how do you know which is right for you? Take this quiz to find out!
(These ALL assume you are not high-risk, or have any unique situations/concerns. It's obviously intended as general information.)
What kind of relationship do you want with the person or people who will attend your birth?
A. I want a close relationship, someone I spend time with in my home and who knows and respects my wants. I want mutual trust.
B. I want close, personal care, with one or two people who will know me and my family by name.
C. I don't mind possibly having someone I don't know at my birth, as long as they're educated, trained, and can answer any questions I have.
How do you feel about pain medication?
A. I do not want pain medication. I have the ability to manage my own pain through various techniques and positions and support, and would not consider an epidural. Water birth is an option for me.
B. I feel that I have the ability to manage my own pain through various techniques and positions, and would not consider an epidural. I would like people around me to help me manage that pain. Water is a good option for me.
C. I am open to the idea of pain medication, or have already decided that I'd prefer to receive an epidural to trying other available options. I am worried about my ability to manage my own pain.
How do you feel about inductions, whether medicinal or herbal? C-sections?
A. I do not want to be induced, though depending on the situation may be open to use of herbs. I want to avoid c-sections unless our lives are in danger.
B. I do not want any medications, my water broken unless absolutely necessary, may or may not be open to using herbs or having membranes swept. I want to avoid c-sections unless our lives are in danger.
C. I may or may not be open to the idea of a medicinal induction if I get close to or over my due date, or if offered to me. I am not opposed to the idea of having my membranes swept or water broken if it would be considered timely. I want to avoid c-sections unless our lives are in danger, or may be open to the idea, especially if baby is overdue.
Do you want to be mostly in charge of decisions made during labor and birth?
A. Yes, I want to be able to move around freely, eat and drink, and avoid being "checked" altogether or unless I feel it's necessary. I want to be able to be alone if I so choose.
B. Mostly. I'd like to be able to move around during birth, but may prefer to give over to someone else directing me, especially during transition and pushing.
C. I have some/many opinions about what I would like to have happen and how I would like to give birth, but I feel that handing over the majority of decisions to a professional is beneficial for me, or wouldn't mind if my desires don't come into play.
What kind of treatment do you want for your baby?
A. I want to avoid unnecessary procedures on my infant, want to initiate breastfeeding immediately after birth (even try the Breast Crawl), and would prefer not to bathe baby for a few days. I want to delay cord-clamping or do a Lotus Birth.
B. I want to avoid any unnecessary procedures on my infant, want to initiate breastfeeding immediately after birth (even try the Breast Crawl), and would prefer not to bathe baby for a bit. I want to delay cord-clamping or do a Lotus Birth.
C. I may or may not want to try breastfeeding, may prefer the routine infant vaccines and ointments, may or may not have a preference about the umbilical cord or placenta., and don't mind having to bathe my baby within a few hours of birth.
What is your ideal support system, and how involved do you want to be in the process?
A. I am very confident in my own abilities and knowledge, that of the people I want present around me, and everyone's ability to remain calm and helpful, and knowledgeable, and intend on being an active part in all decisions.
B. I am confident in my own abilities, and have confidence in the support system of birth professionals I've chosen to respect my choices and help guide me. I intend on being an active part of all decisions.
C. I have a good support system, and trust the professionals I've chosen to let me know if something is necessary or problematic.
Mostly A's: A home birth is probably your best choice. You have a lot of confidence in your knowledge and body, want to have a lot of say and control over all your actions and would prefer to avoid any procedures that aren't absolutely needed.
Mostly B's: A birthing center is a great choice for you. You want a little more guidance and the security of some more equipment or procedures women desire, but still want a more natural experience and more personal care.
Mostly C's: A hospital birth is your best choice. You have trust in the doctors and nurses at your hospital to make the best decisions for you and your baby, and aren't opposed to interventions or common procedures if necessary.
Having a positive birth experience is important for all women -- whatever you choose.
What's your score? What would you add?
Image via Carly & Art/Flickr