I was checking out at my chiropractor’s office the other day when one of the staff members approached me. She told me that she and her husband want to start planning a pregnancy. She likes the idea of a birth center, but this will be her first baby. She is worried that something may go wrong during labor so she is considering going to a hospital for care to avoid the chance of a transfer during labor.
She then asked if I know of any doctors that would give her the choices she wants: more time to answer questions at her checkups, to have as many of her family with her during her care, to walk during labor, or to stand while having her baby.
In reality, the only way she could get these choices here and in many areas of the U.S. is to choose a birth center or home birth practice for her care.
Birth center care is maternity care in the wellness model while hospital maternity care is most often care in the medical model. The wellness model emphasizes education and support of health and wellness. The medical model approaches pregnancy and birth with the view of illness and solving medical problems. Low risk women should have the right to choose the wellness model of maternity care.
The wellness model emphasizes healthy actions such as:
- Good nutrition for a healthy mom and baby
- Avoiding toxic substances
- Having good support from family
- Building trusting relationships with midwives and caregivers
- Mild exercise, as okayed by midwife
- Being vigilant for signs of problems throughout pregnancy
- Having a network of specialists to consult when necessary
Even women with risks of problems during pregnancy can benefit from the wellness model to lower risks to themselves and their babies.
My answer to my young friend was: choose a licensed birth center and, if possible, an accredited one. This is where you will get the care you are looking for. Go in now for a preconception visit and talk to them about your plans.