While the laws vary by state, in Utah, every person giving birth has the legal right to choose wherever they would like to have their baby; that includes in the hospital, birth center, or at home. When it comes to deciding where you want to have your baby, it’s important that you choose the place where you will feel most safe, calm, and comfortable. It is our hope that this article will help you to become familiar with the main differences between a hospital, birth center, and home birth.
If you like the peace of mind of having immediate access to medical intervention, then the hospital might be the right choice for you. Other potential benefits of the hospital include immediate access to a NICU, insurance coverage, a longer post-birth stay, capable of supporting most birth wishes (unmedicated to high intervention), and the option, in most cases, to have a certified nurse midwife be your care provider. Some downsides of giving birth in the hospital may include sterile rooms and environment, birth preferences are subject to the preferences of the care provider on call, shift changes resulting in changes in care providers during labor, more intervention-minded staff, a standardized care model, requires you to travel to get there, and a higher risk of potential interventions that may be unwanted or unnecessary.
Birth Center Birth
A birth center is often referred to as a “happy medium” between the hospital and home. Birth centers are typically either free-standing or built into a hospital, and they typically have a more homey feel. Possible benefits of a birth center include warm, home-like rooms, a wider range of birthing position options, individualized care, fast hospital transfers, if needed, low rates of interventions, practically guaranteed skin-to-skin after baby is born, and you’ll have midwives as your care providers. The cons of a birth center may include not having one close enough to you, since they are limited in the country, they require you to travel to them while in labor, insurance may not cover your care there, and they may not be an option for higher-risk pregnancies.
If you are considering having your baby at home, you likely already know that it is the most private and individualized place to have your baby. Additional benefits of choosing to have your baby at home include the freedom to birth in any position and room in your house (or even in your backyard!), greatly reduced pressure of timetables or interventions, no shift changes for your care providers, practically guaranteed skin-to-skin after baby is born, more options following the birth (delayed cord clamping, etc.), and it does not require any travel during labor. Some potential cons to home birth might be a little less speedy access to medical intervention, if needed, home distractions might come into play during the birth and recovery, insurances may not offer coverage, and home birth may not be an option for higher-risk pregnancies.