98% of women in the US give birth in hospitals. Just because you birth in a hospital doesn’t mean you have to have a medicated birth, or one that ends in a c-section. This one’s for the mamas who want to birth in a hospital & avoid the OR.
You can (and should) implement these tips whether you’re in your first trimester or third… but it can get a little more tricky to switch providers the later you wait in your pregnancy. If you do find yourself further along & having a hard time finding a provider who will accept you as a new patient, reach out to local independent birth workers in your area and ask for recommendations!
1- Choose Your Hospital First
I see shock and confusion register across people’s face every time I say this in person:
Where you birth has a direct correlation to your birth outcomes.
From the country you birth in, all the way down to the hospital you choose & the provider in your delivery room. It all makes a difference.
If you’re giving birth in the United States, start your search by seeing which hospitals close to you are certified as Baby Friendly. You can find that info easiest here: Baby Friendly USA. These hospitals are going to have policies & procedures that prioritize things like skin to skin for the first hour, and they’ll at least be familiar with requests like delayed cord clamping.
Next, which is extremely important: do a LeapFrog search for the hospital’s c-section rates. LeapFrog will even give you a threshold for what the percentages should be under for the different procedures they measure. Here’s an example of a hospital in my are that’s not certified Baby Friendly & also has rates higher than recommended on LeapFrog.
2- Pick Your Provider Carefully
Once you’ve narrowed down which 1-2 hospitals you’re comfortable delivering at, then it’s time to pick your OB. This protects you from hiring an OB that you click well with, only to find out later in your care that he/she only has privileges at a poorly rated hospital that you don’t feel comfortable delivering at.
If you’ve already hired your OB, these questions are even more important to ask because they offer a view into your OB’s comfort and experience levels with variations of normal physiological births. It’s important to remember that OB’s are professionally trained to recognize the need for and then perform surgical births. The problem is when an OB labels a variation of normal physiological birth as surgical necessity simply because it’s outside of the scope of his/her training or comfort level.
3- Hire a Doula
Having a doula on your birth team is statistically proven to reduce c-section rates by nearly SIXTY percent! How in the world do we doulas do this? I’ll tell you!
Doulas help Moms enter birth feeling mentally prepared, emotionally confident & physically (not medically) supported. In the birth space we help you stay connected to your body & your baby & we help Dad stay actively engaged in the birth process, too. Birth can be intense and unfamiliar for many Moms & Dads, especially first-time parents. Having a doula present, who is comfortable with birth and familiar with you helps minimize the stress and fear hormones that often create obstacles in the birth process.
So, if you read that and feel a nudge towards hiring a doula – do it! Hop on Google and search for Doula + your city, state. Browse around and see if someone stands out to you and go from there!