Have you thought about WHERE you will give birth? No? Well you should. There are a few options: Birth Centers, Home, and Hospitals. All three settings have their pros and cons and should be compared & evaluated thoroughly before making an informed decision on where to birth your baby.
The most natural setting of all three, a home birth is the ideal environment for those of you who want complete privacy & control of their birthing experience.
• All of the comforts of home are available (your own bed, clothes bathtub, food, etc.)
• Complete freedom of movement and birthing position (kneeling,squatting, all fours, in or out of water, etc.)
Control of "Mood" (Candles, loud music, movies, etc.)
• No restrictions on how many people can attend and witness the birth (from your kids, to other family members, friends, etc.)
• No time constraints (Often, a hospital sets a time limit on how long they will allow a woman to labor–usually 12 to 24 hours–before interventions.)
• Privacy: No medical team of doctors and nurses (or any unwanted people for that matter) running in and out of the room
• Much lower cost compared to other birth settings
• Though rare, in case of an emergency you must leave and be transported to a hospital.
• Even though the cost is lower, some insurance companies won't cover home births. You must weigh whether or not your family can afford the out-of-pocket expense of the home birth versus what your insurance will cover in another setting.
Reasons NOT to have a home birth:
• If you are considered a high-risk pregnancy.
• If you or your partner are fearful about it. One emotion that can hinder a natural birth is fear. If you are fearful in your setting, no matter how natural it is, you will be less likely to achieve an unmedicated birth. Although studies have shown home birth to be safe, only you know whether or not you feel comfortable in this setting.
• If homebirths are illegal in your state. Some states allow unassisted births but not births with certified professional midwives (because, you know, that makes SO much sense...)
More links on Home births:
• A Non-biased Look at the Evidence about Home Birth
• Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America
• Homebirth Safety
• Home Birth Matters—For All Women
If you desire a homelike setting away from home (or if your partner and/or family are weary of you having a home birth), a birth center may be the place for you.
• "Homey": Most have good-sized beds (not hospital beds) and tubs.
Some medical interventions are available–if needed.
• Most are housed near (or even attached) to a hospital in case an emergency arises.
• More freedom than in a hospital setting (for changing positions, etc.)
• Less expensive than a hospital birth, especially if paying out of pocket.
• High chance of achieving a natural birth.
• Encouragement of food, drink, music, free movement, family involvement, etc.
• Most offer birth tubs and showers for water births.
• Length of stay is usually shorter than at a hospital (hours instead of days).
• Increased breastfeeding help and support.
• You must travel to birth center (Bumpy ride during labor, especially transition, can be VERY uncomfortable).
• If not accredited, your insurance may not cover it.
• Going home the same day may be a pro but it can also be a con if you do not have anyone at home to help care for you and the baby.
Reasons NOT to have a birthing center birth:
• You are a high-risk pregnancy.
• You want to spend the night in your birth setting.
• Your insurance does not cover it, and you cannot afford to pay out of pocket.
• It is illegal in your state to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After a Cesarean) at a Birth Center, such as the state of Florida.
More links on Birth Centers:
• The Evidence for Birth Centers
• New Study Shows Midwife-Led Birth Centers Improve Outcomes and Lower Health Care Costs
• Birth Centers: Safe, Respectful Options for Birth
A traditional hospital birth experience depends on the hospital itself, the hospital staff, and the support system you bring with you. This is the most "prepared" for an emergency out of all the settings, so great if you're High Risk.
• Any and all medical interventions are readily available, especially if needed in case of an emergency.
• Can stay overnight and rest.
• NICUs (Neonatal Infant Care Unit) available if there is a problem with the baby.
• Insurances typically always cover hospital births.
• Some parents feel safest at a hospital
• Some hospitals allow a Certified Nurse Midwife.
• Most hospitals allow the support of a Doula.
• You must travel to the hospital.
• Depending on the hospital and staff, they are usually much more restrictive on birth positions.
• There's barely any control on ambience.
• Less privacy (especially during delivery and/or in a shared recovery room).
• Least likely setting to achieve a natural labor, as interventions and surgery can often be pushed (even when unnecessary).
• Must stay overnight (or longer, such as 48 hours here in FL) for observation.
• The food usually tastes bad.
• Some hospitals limit the amount of people attending a birth (regardless if those you want there are close family, friends, Doula, etc.)
• Strict policies, rules and schedules.
• Hospitals are associated with illness and the infection risks are higher.
• Intimidating and impersonal environment.
More links on Hospital Births:
• How to Have Natural Childbirth in the Hospital
• Homebirth in the Hospital: Integrating Natural Childbirth with Modern Medicine by Stacey Kerr M.D.
• Hospital Births: Should I have a Hospital Birth?
Local Birth Centers
& Home Births:
Growing Families Midwifery
3750 US1 S. #A
St. Augustine, Fl 32086
Rhonda Dexter LM, RN - Heart & Hands Homebirth Services
26 Clark Street
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Tara Dettra LM, CPM - Seedling Midwifery
St. Augustine, FL
Fruitful Vine Midwifery
1539 Parental Home Rd # 5
Jacksonville, FL 32216
Lindsay E. Meyer, LM, CPM - Loving Hands Midwifery
St. Augustine, FL
Melissa Marks - Midwife Melissa Marks, LLC
Birth Center of Jacksonville
804 Margaret Street
Jacksonville, FL 32204
Orange Park Medical Center
2001 Kingsley Ave
Orange Park, FL 32073
St. Vincent's Southside (formarly known as St. Luke's)
4201 Belfort Rd
Jacksonville, FL 32256
3625 University Blvd S
655 W 8th St
Baptist Medical Center Downtown
800 Prudential Dr
Jacksonville, FL 32207
Baptist Medical Center South
14550 Old St Augustine Rd
Baptist Medical Center Beaches
1350 13th Ave S
Jacksonville Beach, FL
Baptist Medical Center Nassau
1250 South 18th Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
St. Vincent’s Medical Center (also known as St. Vincent's Riverside)
1800 Barrs St
Naval Hospital (NAS JAX)
2080 Child Street
Jacksonville, FL 32214
400 Health Park Boulevard
St. Augustine, FL 32086
• Benefits and harms of planned hospital birth compared with planned home birth for low-risk pregnant women
• Best Evidence for Choosing A Place of Birth
• Planned hospital birth versus planned home birth.
• Birth is no reason to go to hospital, review suggests