Choosing a place to give birth is one of the most difficult decisions you will have to make during your pregnancy. There are a lot of factors to consider, and you might feel overwhelmed by all of your options (or lack thereof!). It’s important to visit any birthing centers you are interested in before making your final decision, and consult your physician to see if he or she has any recommendations.
Let’s take a more in depth look at some of the questions you might want to ask when you go to visit a potential maternity center:
- Nurse and Doctor qualifications: How many registered nurses are there compared to LPNs or CNAs? Make sure you’re going to have access to whichever type of staff you feel most comfortable with.
- Ratio of nurses and doctors to patients: Are there enough nurses so that you’ll receive as much individual attention as you’ll require? Is there anyone in the maternity center who teaches childbirth education classes?
- Ability to provide care catered to your wants and needs: Do you have a high-risk pregnancy that may require special equipment? If the birthing center isn’t equipped to provide a serious or minor emergency service, you may want to look elsewhere. Do you have any specific wants for your delivery? Can they provide a tub for a water delivery? Make sure you bring up all of the amenities you want to have access to during your delivery to ensure they can accommodate them.
Additionally, it’s important to have a maternity clinic that will be supportive of your after-birth choices, too. Whether you choose to breastfeed or not is completely up to you, although most doctors encourage it if you’re able. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that women who breastfeed may have a lower risk of heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in the United States.
The 290,000 women who participated in the study were monitored for 10 years after giving birth, and the women who breastfed had a 9% lower risk of heart disease. While more research is necessary to make the link certain, the study shows that breastfeeding may change the metabolism of women after giving birth, ergo reducing heart risk.
So whether you decide to give birth in a maternity wing in a hospital or a natural maternity center, it’s important to have a facility and staff members who will support your wants and needs and are able to ensure you leave with a happy, healthy baby.