Choices in Childbirth


Your Birth Experience

Once you have used the 5 Steps to a Healthy Birth to start thinking about your expectations for your birth, and you’ve examined your Prenatal Rights and Options, it is time to take a deeper look into the actual birth experience.

All the research you have been doing is so important in preparing for this big day. Now that you are empowered to choose conscientiously, you can plan for the big day and consider all the factors of care, support, and environment.

Set yourself up as best as you can to create the birth experience that you envision, but it is important to keep in mind that birth is unpredictable. Despite all your preparations, you must try to remain flexible about your birth so that you are not thrown off if things take an unexpected turn during labor and delivery.

How did that statement make you feel? If it triggered you, be honest with yourself. It is a good indication that there is probably something you need to explore in order to be able to surrender more fully to your birth. 

Choose Your Birth Team

Choosing a maternity care provider is the single most important decision that you will make.  Take the time to interview providers to ensure that you find the best possible match. Ask your provider many questions to make sure he/she supports and agrees with your personal birth philosophy (For some guidelines, see “Questions to Ask Your Provider”). You should feel confident that your provider is skilled AND that they will respect your wishes.

Trust your gut!  Once you’re in labor you won’t be able to convince your care provider to go against their own birth philosophy and follow your wishes. This is an unrealistic and often disappointing expectation.  Listen to your instincts NOW as to whether or not the provider is the right one for you.

Choose Your Birth Environment

Your personal philosophy and vision for your birth will help you determine the right birth environment.  The vast majority of women in the United States birth in hospitals. While this is the dominant choice, it is not necessarily your only one. [read more]


It is impossible to predict ahead of time what each birth and labor will look like. Will it be long or short? Will it be intense or ecstatic? At this point, the most important things you can do are to research and educate yourself about your options. [read more]


We are fortunate to live in a country where the majority of women who need medical interventions during the birth process have access to them. But because no intervention comes without side effects, judicious discretion should be practiced when using interventions during birth. [read more]


Alice and Jorge, early labor © Sarah Tew Photography