Nowadays, an increasing number of moms are opting to give birth in birthing centers or at home. There are lots of advantages to this. Either option may be more comfortable for some moms. Home births, in particular, take place in a familiar environment where support from family and friends are readily available.
For some moms, however, giving birth at a hospital could be the better option. The first consideration is, of course, personal preference. However, if you have one of the following conditions, a hospital birth could be the safest option.
This is not to say, of course, that only women who are sick or are high-risk may give birth in the hospital. It’s just that, all things equal, the choice of birthing place is easy: anything will do, because most anything is likely to be safe. These cases, however, do warrant the stringent procedures and close observation of a hospital.
If you smoke or if you’ve drunk more than a glass or two of alcohol per week during your pregnancy, you may want to consider giving birth at a hospital. This is because either of the two, as well as the use of recreational drugs, increases the risk that you will have a preterm birth or a low birth weight baby. These babies are high-risk and may need close monitoring at the hospital during the first few days. In addition, drinking alcohol may result in a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome. This syndrome can make your baby prone to a number of health problems.
Because of this, it’s best to avoid these during your pregnancy. If it’s a bit too late for that, do consider giving birth in a hospital as your best choice.
If you are hypertensive or developed preeclampsia during your pregnancy, you may also want to consider a hospital birth your best choice.
Even if your blood pressure is controlled during the course of your pregnancy, there is always the chance that it will shoot up during childbirth. After all, your hormone levels will be quite different at this time. For your safety, as well as that of your baby, you must stay close to the medical equipment and personnel necessary to bring your blood pressure down. Just in case.
Diabetic mothers should opt for a hospital birth, especially if it has been difficult to manage blood sugar levels throughout the pregnancy. For one thing, diabetic mothers are at greater risk of having a baby with macrosomia, or a baby with an unusually large body that may not fit through the birth canal. Diabetic mothers may also take longer to heal postpartum.
The greatest risk, however, is that the baby has been accustomed to a high-sugar environment. This makes him develop far greater levels of insulin, the blood sugar level normalizing hormone, than normal. Once he comes out and is cut off from maternal blood supply, his blood sugar levels may drop dangerously, requiring immediate medical attention.
In a small number of women, the hips aren’t large enough to accommodate the size of the baby’s head. While true cephalopelvic disproportion is rare, it does happen. Even if you only suspect you have it, you might want to opt for a hospital birth. This can, after all, prevent your baby from coming out and might result in his head banging repeatedly against your hip bone with every contraction.
In this case, it may be necessary to have a C-section, which is obviously only available at a hospital.
If you have a heart condition, choose the hospital. Your physiology does change during childbirth, and this along with all the stress and effort of pushing may put a strain on your heart.
When you are at a hospital, the medical staff will likely hook you to a machine that monitors your heart rate and rhythm, as well as that of your baby’s. This monitoring will allow them to detect whether everything is going fine and you can proceed with a normal vaginal delivery, or if your heart is struggling and you will need other forms of treatment.
Maybe you’ve had your home birth all planned out when, less than 37 weeks into your pregnancy, you begin to feel contractions and are on your way to giving birth. In this case, it’s probably not a good idea to call your midwife and wait it out. You must get to the hospital immediately.
This is because babies who are born preterm may not yet have well-developed body systems. This may lead to problems with his breathing, heart or blood later on. While you may have no problem with the childbirth itself, the earlier your baby comes out the greater the chance he will need medical care once out.
During your prenatal checkups, if tests show that there are any problems with the cord or the placenta, you may want to second guess that home delivery. This can include an umbilical cord that is too short or too long, or perhaps a placenta that is too low in your uterus.
These increase the risk that you and your baby will need medical care during childbirth. In extreme cases, such as when your birth canal is completely blocked by the placenta, a C-section will be necessary. You will therefore want to plan for a hospital birth instead.
While this isn’t exactly a medical condition, it is also a good reason to consider giving birth at a hospital. Women who, bless them, are able to tolerate high amounts of pain probably are ideal candidates for home delivery with minimal, if any, pain relief. However, there are those among us who might get exhausted by the pain of childbirth. In this case, medical pain relief may be necessary to reduce the chance that you will grow too tired to push. So if you think you will need that epidural, plan for a hospital birth instead.
If you have had a history of miscarriage, especially if there were multiple ones, you might want to plan for a hospital birth as well. This is because you may be at higher risk for giving birth prematurely or experience another miscarriage.
In this case, you might want to plan to have easy access to the hospital through the course of your pregnancy. While the doctor may give you the clear to have a home birth when you reach term, you still want to err on the side of caution and at least plan to head straight to the hospital if you sense something is wrong before term.
If you’re older than 35 years old, especially if the current pregnancy is your first child, you may also be at high risk for certain problems. For one thing, you may have an increased chance of giving birth to a baby with birth defects or chromosomal abnormalities. It is better to give birth at a hospital in this case so that these can be detected early on, especially when the condition is not detectable during your prenatal checkups.
Youth, however, isn’t exactly the ideal age to give birth, either. If you’re younger than 20, you also have a greater risk for giving birth to a premature baby, getting preeclampsia, or experience postpartum depression. In addition, many teenage moms do not get adequate prenatal care. Because of this, you may want to consider giving birth at a hospital, unless your doctor has cleared you for a home birth.
If you’re underweight or are not gaining enough weight during your pregnancy, you may want to monitor yourself a bit more closely. Try eating more calories or consulting a doctor to address symptoms such as excessive vomiting that could be causing your failure to gain weight.
This is risky because your baby, in turn, may have a low birth weight. And, as we’ve already discussed, this makes him prone to a multitude of problems. If you opt for a home delivery, make sure you have your doctor’s go signal.
Depending on your situation, obesity could put you at risk for a number of conditions that will need medical intervention during your childbirth. You may be at greater risk for infection, failure of labor to progress and miscarriage.
Because of this you, too, might want to consult your doctor to see if a home delivery is safe. Otherwise, you will need proper monitoring at the hospital.
If your water has broken and you notice that it’s greenish in color, drop your plans of a home birth and head to the hospital right away. This is a meconium stain. This means that your baby has passed stool in your womb. This is dangerous because he might inhale this stool, which could make it difficult for him to breathe once he’s born, a condition known as meconium aspiration syndrome.
This is a life-threatening condition and requires medical intervention right away.
If you’re like some women, it isn’t a medical reason that makes you want to give birth in the hospital. It’s just that the idea of giving birth in a hospital makes you feel more comfortable than giving birth elsewhere.
This could be because it’s what you or your family are used to, or you’re more secure with knowing that medical treatment is readily available. Whatever your reasons, just do you and get ready for that hospital delivery.