With my second baby due any day now, I thought I would share a little about how and where I plan to give birth. . . And why. . .
Where you choose to give birth is something that is focused heavily upon in my courses and a decision which I feel should be made only after very careful consideration and after researching all your options.
So why then, after my years of research, my overwhelming opinion that in the majority of cases, birth is NOT a medical condition which needs to be treated in hospital and definite preference for this baby to be born in the comfort of my own home, am I choosing to have them in hospital? Not a midwife led birthing centre but a full blown hospital labour ward?!
Well despite a relatively easy and complication-free pregnancy, I have been blessed with a placenta that has a mind of it's own and some very questionable positioning! You see, normally the placenta attaches to the upper segment of the wall of the uterus, well out of the way of the cervix, whereas my placenta happened to attach itself right into the lower segment, covering my cervix (read- blocking the exit!) This condition is known as placenta previa and is thankfully a pretty rare occurrence. In the majority of cases, the placenta moves well away from the cervix and a vaginal birth is possible, but in a few cases, it doesn't and it stays put either covering or very close by. Mine is of the second persuasion and despite having moved far enough away to be considered ok for a vaginal birth, it is still very close and with that, there are some additional risks which mean it is preferable that I am in very close proximity to a theatre if necessary.
Ultimately the decision of where to give birth to my baby is my decision to make, no one could force me to give birth somewhere I don't want to so I could just choose to give birth at home. . . But I have practiced what I preach and made some very tough but informed decisions.
I have discussed in depth the risks and benefits of all of the options available to me with my midwife and the consultant and consultant midwives. I have researched the evidence behind the recommendations which have been given to me and I have made the decision which I feel is safest, most sensible and I feel most comfortable with. I have weighed up the pros of being at home and my labour likely running smoothly due to being in my own environment where I feel completely comfortable vs the cons of being a good 20 minute drive from the hospital in the still unlikely, but possible chance that I could need some medical assistance.
I really believe that labour and birth very rarely needs to be a medical event and the more 'normal' we can keep it, the better for us and our babies. But, this is one of the situations where I am very thankful that we have such incredible medical care available to us.
The most important element when deciding on where to have our babies, is that we are where we feel most comfortable and safe. This is what will help our birth hormones to flow and will help labour to run more smoothly. But making sure that the decision we make is an informed decision is the most important thing. . . We should always make decisions based on evidence. . . never out of fear.