Where on Earth to Birth?!

You've just found out you're pregnant and of course you don't know where to begin with all of the planning. What to eat, what appointments to make, what to buy. And then the big one, where is the birth even going to take place?!

For a lot of women, the hospital is answer. For others, home birth is the only route. There's even a wonderful middle ground called a birth centre. Let's take a further look at each of these options:

Hospital

The obvious choice for a lot of people. That's where the all doctors and medicine are. Birth however, is not an inherently medical process. Our bodies are perfectly capable of giving birth without any interventions whatsoever...most of the time.
If you are a 'high-risk' woman, i.e. over 35, have diabetes, pre-eclampsia, placental problems, etc. then the hospital is most likely your best option for delivery. That's not to say that if you have any type of condition you're resigned to having a horrible, overly medical birth. No way. It just means that because you are at a higher risk of something possibly going wrong, your health care provider wants you to be in the best place possible to minimize any risks. 

Hospitals can be impersonal and are not the nicest atmosphere to be in during such a time. Your OB/GYN (if you choose them over a midwife) will not spend much time with you during the process and they'll be more insistent on using what they can to speed up the process; a process that we know takes time. If you are not a high-risk pregnancy, you have other options that are just as safe.

Pros:
-Medical interventions available if needed
-You may feel safer
-24/7 help from staff

Cons:
-Less control over situation
-Staff may want to rush things
-Birth is 'managed' by staff
-Higher risk of interventions
-More impersonal
-Associated with illness

Home

Comfort is the main selling point with this one. There's no rushing to the hospital and making sure you get there at the right time. You start labouring, and then continue labouring, and continue on and on until baby comes. Your midwife will be there with you making sure things go smoothly. You can feel in control and free. If you have a low-risk pregnancy, giving birth at home is proven to be as safe or safer as long as you have a qualified medical attendant with you. 
There is risk involved with mostly anything though, and you have to keep in mind that complications may arise and you would need to be transferred to a hospital.

Pros:
-Comfort
-No time limit/rush
-You know how clean it is
-You choose who is there
-One-on-one care constantly
-You feel more in control of the situation

Cons:
-Risk of transfer to hospital in event of complication
-Pain relief medicine is not readily available

Birth Centre

The best of both worlds! I look at birth centres as a sort of middle ground between hospitals and home births. While it is still a place that is not your home, that has staff and other patients; it's more comfortable than a hospital setting and is filled with midwives instead of OB/GYNs. Birth isn't managed the same way as it would be in a hospital. It's very similar to home birth, main difference being it is a public building, and they provide nitrous oxide for pain relief. If a complication does arise, you would still need to be transferred to a hospital, but they are usually much closer than from your house. 
So far there is only one in Toronto which looks absolutely beautiful. I can't wait until I can attend a birth there!

Pros:
-More comfortable than hospital
-Has staff
-Lower rate of interventions
-Quicker discharge time than hospital
-You have more freedom and control than hospital
-Only used for birth

Cons:
-Still have to go there and leave, as opposed to staying home
-Risk of transfer to hospital in event of complication
-No pain relief medicine besides nitrous oxide
-Very strict about who is allowed to birth there (only very low-risk women)

 

These are all things that you need to take into account when choosing where to give birth. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, and it's up to you to weigh them out. After all, this is your birth and no one can decide but you!

-Lila

Inside the gorgeous Toronto Birth Centre

Inside the gorgeous Toronto Birth Centre