Saturday, February 27, 2010

Choosing Where to Give Birth

Choosing where to give birth is an important part of preparing for your baby. Every family, of course is different, but here is some of our journey:

We had four options for places to give birth in our tow
  1. The State Hospital - as Aussie residents, this would be covered by our public health insurance (awesome!). Most of our checkups, however, would be with whatever midwife or doctor was on duty (not so ideal!)
  2. The Private Hospital - Not having private health insurance, we would've had to pay outright for this. No thanks!
  3. The Birth Centre - also included in health insurance (YES!) and our checkups would be with one midwife the entire way through.
  4. Home Birth - There's only one midwife who does home births in town and he (yes, he) must be paid for outside of public insurance.
After seeking lots of advice, we considered some of our values and preferences and decided to go with the birth centre. Here's why:
  1. Cost. Being that it was covered by our public insurance made it a BIG bonus.
  2. Low intervention. I really wanted to have our first baby drug free. A big part of this was to see whether I could do it - I love a challenge! But as we did our research, we became concerned about some of the effects that drugs could have on our baby and that gave us even more motivation.
  3. Low cesarean rates. Obviously, there are times when a cesar is needed and I am SO glad that the technology is there. We have so much to be grateful for in the developed world! However, with hospitals being over 30% cesar rates in my town, I was concerned that perhaps I would be sent to cesar without truly needing one.
  4. One-on-one care. We liked this option more because it meant we didn't have long lines in the hospital; however, after getting to know our midwife, having one-on-one labour and breast feeding training, and developing a trusting relationship, we cannot recommend this model enough!
  5. Beautiful environment. Some hospitals are built for this; others are not. Our State Hospital has lots of good birthing aids, and does their best, but it still feels very much like a hospital. Its small and clinical and loud.
  6. Short recovery time. Again, I like to tough it out and I liked that generally a birth centre recovery only lasts 4-6 hours.
The room we laboured in with our little boy.

The Birth Centre is not for everyone. We were fortunate enough to have a "low risk" pregnancy - bub and I were healthy all the way through - so we were able to have that option. Unfortunately, due to some complications somewhere between 8 & 10 centimetres, we had to be transferred to the hospital. You can read the story here.

Having our amazing midwife made that transition GREAT. The hospital was a corridor away. She was a champion and really helped me through the whole rest of the delivery. I don't think it would've gone as well without her. Plus, she fought for us in the decision making wh
en things were chaotic because she knew our prefernces. AND, since the birth of our sweet little boy, we have loved the follow up visits (usually at home!) and someone we can ring at any time with questions. If we had to do it again, we would definitely go with the birth centre again!

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