So you’re well past seeing the two pink lines on a stick, you’ve had the nursery planned (at least in your mind) for months and you can no longer avoid the fact this baby is on the way. So which kind of birth are you planning?
We make so many plans for the before and after but (if you’re anything like me) the idea of locking in a birth plan can seem slightly terrifying and confusing. We asked an expert to walk us through the five most common birth scenarios.
Sydney doula and mother-of-five Trisha Cook started out helping friends and family welcome their children into the world and now makes a career assisting women get through labour.
She has personally experienced natural births, a caesarian, VBACs (vagina birth after caesarian) at home and in the water.
Trisha has assisted more than 50 families during their deliveries since founding Norwest Doula Services in 2007.
Looking at different types of births, Trisha tells Babyology why women might choose one over the others.
“It’s a personal choice at the end of the day, and every woman should be supported to make an informed choice that’s best for her and her baby,” Trisha says.
For some women, hospital rooms are a safe haven where there is everything a woman in the throes of labour and her baby might need. From the expert medical staff, including obstetricians and midwives, to the state-of-the-art equipment and pain relief at hand, expectant mums feel safe and prepared.
Some view their admission to hospital almost in the same light as checking into a hotel, with some private hospital rooms complete with bar fridges and double beds, and time to recover free from obligations back home. In fact, some private hospitals even send new mums to five-star hotels to recover after the birth.
On the other hand, the clinical setting can be a turn-off for some and paying thousands to an obstetrician doesn’t always guarantee they’ll be present at the birth.
Trisha says while many might choose to give birth at a public or private hospital because it is now seen as the norm, a lot also just feel more at ease and that’s “really important”.
“Some people are really comfortable with that and that’s what they need in order to have peace of mind,” she says.
This may seem like an option for the modern-day mum who, like everything else in her life, needs to keep things working to a very tight schedule, but Trisha says it is important to be informed.
She says there are women who choose to have a caesarian to feel they have some control over the unknown and accept there will be a six week recovery period afterwards.
“That’s fine as long as they are they are making an informed choice and understand the pros and cons involved,” she says.
“Some women have no choice, if there is a low-lying placenta or an emergency, that baby has got to come out.
“There are giant needs for both babies and women and so it’s a fantastic option to have there.”
Trisha says women wanting to have a vaginal birth after caesarian are often classed as high risk and advised to give birth in a hospital.
Having had two VBACS at home herself, Trisha says it is a personal choice and one that every woman needs to make after weighing up all the pros and cons.
“I had two VBACs at home because I knew I wouldn’t get the experience I wanted in hospital,” Trisha says.
“Whether going to hospital or not, women who choose to have a VBAC over another caesarian do so for many reasons.
“Usually it’s dissatisfaction or trauma from the previous caesarian. Also, if they’ve already had a caesarian birth, they know it comes with a six week recovery time – that’s not so easy when you have a child already running around.”
Some women had no choice the first time and would like to try for a more natural experience the next time around, whether this means labouring at home or in hospital under the watchful eye of their doctor.
Once seen as a bit of a hipster choice, water births are growing in popularity. While there are risks to consider, Trisha says both her VBACS were water births.
“The water supports your body so you feel weightless,” she says.
“It is warm and relaxing so great for pain relief and the water supports your tissue so you’re less likely to tear.”
Trisha says women who want to “keep unnecessary hands away” and limit the amount of examinations they have to allow things to progress naturally might consider a water birth.
“You are at peace and, once you are in that pool or bath, you’re in your own private bubble and have your own space.”
You can forget battling traffic to get to the hospital and there’ll be no need for a babysitter if you give birth at home.
While some health experts are yet to be convinced it is completely safe, Trisha says many women choose to have a home birth so they can completely personalise the experience.
“They are supported by midwives and there are no unknown people in the room,” Trisha says.
“If something does go wrong, the midwife is there, she knows your body, she’s not walking in and out to other patients and problems are picked up pretty fast.”
We would love to know what birth type you chose and why.