Choices in Childbirth


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 give birth in hospitals. While this is the dominant choice, it is not necessarily your only one. In many locations, women may also have the choice of birthing in free-standing birth centers, hospital-based birth centers or in their own homes. Which of these choices best matches your philosophy and vision? For instance, women wishing to have a natural, unhurried birth generally have a hard time finding support for this choice in a hospital setting.  Likewise, women who believe that birth is potentially dangerous might not feel safe birthing at home. Where will you feel best supported and safest birthing your child?

We know that the majority of women today birth in hospitals, so we want to provide information on some of the lesser known options as well. Given that birth centers are limited in the US and many women do not have access to them, more and more women are choosing to birth their babies at home as an alternative to a hospital birth. Below are some articles that help to better explain the home birth option.

Coming soon! We are working to build out additional pages of content related to Hospital, Home and Birth Centers. Sign up for our mailing list to be notified when new sections are added to the site such as “Tips for Having a Great Hospital Birth” and “Birth Center Overview.”

Further reading on this topic:

The Business of Being Born

by Milon Nagi

The documentary The Business of Being Born represents a break from the view of childbirth America usually sees – and has come to accept as normal. Instead, the film features a series of women, including executive producer Ricki Lake, giving birth with “surprising serenity,” on their own terms.  “It’s a practical guide to childbirth that’s really going to help women discover natural options and take back the birth experience”, says director, Abby Epstein.

Waterbirth: The Heart and Soul of Gentle Birth

by Barbara Harper

The very surprising part about birth is that your body, hormonally speaking, knows how to give birth and your baby knows how to be born. The task then is to surrender to the powerful energy moving through you in order for the body to do its work. This article examines all the ways in which water really helps accomplish that seemingly impossible task.

Choosing a Home Birth

by Choices in Childbirth

Choosing the appropriate place to birth your child is an important maternity care decision. In the United States the vast majority of women choose to birth in a hospital setting. However, for many women, birthing at home or at a birth center, with a qualified and experienced care provider, is also a safe and legal option. This article provides some guidelines to help you determine whether homebirth is a good choice for you.

Understanding the Research on Home Birth

by Gene Declercq

The debate over home birth is a largely ideological one in which information from research studies sometimes goes disregarded.  Valuable studies of home birth do exist, though several factors affect how definitive they can be. This article empowers the reader to understand the available data, its limitations, and what conclusions can be drawn.

Obstetric Statement of Care

by American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

“Obstetrics and gynecology is a discipline dedicated to the broad, integrated medical and surgical care of women’s health throughout their lifespan. The combined discipline of obstetrics and gynecology requires extensive study and understanding of reproductive physiology, including the physiologic, social, cultural, environmental and genetic factors that influence disease in women. This study and understanding of the reproductive physiology of women gives obstetricians and gynecologists a unique perspective in addressing gender-specific health care issues.

Preventive counseling and health education are essential and integral parts of the practice of obstetricians and gynecologists as they advance the individual and community-based health of women of all ages.” []

Family Practice Statement of Care

by American Academy of Family Physicians

Family medicine is a three-dimensional specialty, incorporating

(1) knowledge
(2) skill
(3) process

Although knowledge and skill may be shared with other specialties, the family medicine process is unique. At the center of this process is the patient-physician relationship with the patient viewed in the context of the family. It is the extent to which this relationship is valued, developed, nurtured and maintained that distinguishes family medicine from all other specialties. Maternal/child care is integral to the discipline of family medicine. All family physicians are trained in the care of pregnancy and common pregnancy problems.

Midwives Model of Care

by Midwives Model of Care

The Midwives Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes. The Midwives Model of Care includes:

• Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
• Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
• Minimizing technological interventions
• Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention

The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.

Osteopathy Statement of Care

by American Osteopathic Association

You are more than just the sum of your body parts. That’s why doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) practice a “whole person” approach to health care. Instead of just treating specific symptoms, osteopathic physicians concentrate on treating you as a whole.


Tiffany and Fiona, moments old © Mary Catherine Hamelin