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  • Sharon Tenuta

Birth Options

What birth options are there for a pregnant mother?

First there is the Hospital birth. Common procedures in the hospital are the IV hook up, the EFM monitoring, labor augmentation if labor is not progressing within hospital protocol, an amniotomy to speed up labor, vaginal exams, lying in the lithotomy position, an episiotomy and a vacuum extraction… per the progression of interventions.

Common procedures for baby care after birth in a hospital are suctioning, immediate cord clamping, a bath, vitamin K to clot blood, eye ointment which has been meant for those baby’s born to a mother with STD’s, hepatitis B vaccine – which is only spread through sexual contact and blood screening through the prick in the heel.

In the hospital, mother needs to research the protocol of the hospital she attends. Most hospitals don’t want mother to eat food while in labor. This is changing in some hospital protocols. Mother has rights. She needs to know she can chew on ice chips, She can ask for a new nurse if hers does not work out. She can say “no” to procedures, but she must realize there may be a push back to her decisions.

The Birth Center is another birth choice. This is a center where the pediatrician, provider and or midwife are collaborated with if necessary. The mother may labor in privacy, or with her family and friends. She has freedom to move and to be monitored sporadically. There is a less chance for a cesarean section and when baby is checked, this can be done in the presence of its parents.

If there is an emergency that happens at the Birth Center, mother and or baby will be transferred to the hospital. The number of birth centers are limited, so parents need to sign up early to birth at one. They handle low-risk births only.

Another birth options is a Water Birth. It has been endorsed as a safe evidence-based options. Mother births the newborn while in the water. This benefits mother in the sense that she relaxes in the water. Therefore there are less chances for tearing, for episiotomies, for pain medications and for complications.

Some people are concerned about the baby breathing in the water, but physiologically this is not possible. While baby is in the water, hormone regulation and the dive reflex will prevent baby from breathing. Baby won’t breathe until the head is exposed to the air. What about infection? Water dilutes any germ concentration. There is no increase in infection when mother is birthing in water.

Home Birth is another option. A study confirms that among low-risk women, planned home births result in low rates of interventions without an increase in adverse outcomes for mothers and babies.

With a home birth, baby’s micro-biome can flourish, giving baby a chance to begin life with healthy microbes which keep baby healthier for life. Baby can have the greatest chance for an undisturbed birth. Both mother and baby can be respected and empowered. Jan Tritten, Michel Odent and Dr. Stuart Fischbein all make statements about the advantages of home births.

What about Lotus Birth? Lotus Birth is the practice of leaving the placenta attached to the baby until it is released by the newborn, usually a few days after birth. This is a good practice because there is no scar at baby’s umbilical site. Also, baby’s blood can be sure to complete the transfer of the blood from the cord. Baby can be sure to receive its own stem cells.

What is the best birth for baby? What is the birth with the least interventions? What is the birth that provides the best outcome for both mother and baby? Do your research and decide as parents to be responsible for any decisions made for your baby. Congratulations that you have this opportunity to be empowered as adults.

Resources: (How I Teach Evidence Based Epidural Information in a Hospital and Keep My Job).

Delivering at a Birth Center,

21 Reasons to have your baby at a birth center,

Dekker, Rebecca, Evidence on Safety of Water Birth,

Waterbirths compared with Land births,

Barbara Harper articles.

Water birth, Benefits and Risks,

New Study Confirms Safety of Birth with Midwives in the US, by Simkins,
Cheney, et al. Outcomes of Care for 16,924 Planned Home Births in the United States: The Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, 2004 to 2009,
Tritten, Homebirth and the Microbiome,

About Waterbirth,

Midwifery Today

Cohain, Judy, Home Birth is 1000 times safer than Hospital birth for low risk women,

Falcão Ronnie,

Bindley, Katherine, Lotus Birth: Does not cutting the umblical cord benefit baby? (2013)

Selander, Jodi,

Pearson, Sam, Lotus Birth, a Gentle Beginning,

Buckley, Dr. Sarah,

Lotus Birth,

Hollingsworth, Juliet,

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