From at-home to standing, squatting or water births, more and more expectant parents are seeking alternative and less-restrictive options to give birth.
Delivering a baby doesn’t always mean a stark white room surrounded by nurses and only those who the hospital allows in the delivery room. Many parents are opting to have their child in less-restrictive ways through alternative births.
Alternative births are a lot more common than many imagine. Birthing alternatives can range from water births, home births, standing births and squatting to name a few. The majority of these methods are accompanied by a midwife and doula. A midwife is a certified medical professional who will help a mother throughout the delivery. A doula is person who offers physical and emotional support during and after pregnancy.
The number of those who chose alternative methods is on a steady rise. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a study demonstrated that 64 percent of mothers have had at-home deliveries and 34 percent chose to deliver at birthing centers. These days, expectant mothers may have more options available to them without even being aware.
Birthing centers may be a viable option for some who want readily available medical access with a homelike environment. These settings may include a bed one may find in their own home or an actual hospital bed. However, these centers are still less restricting than a traditional hospital location.
Water births can be done at home or at birthing centers, though this type of delivery may be offered at a hospital. However, these may be more common for women who have given birth before. Water births are only recommended for women with low-risk pregnancies. Most home water births are accompanied by a midwife. If an emergency does occur, the midwife should be able to take charge or rush the mother to the hospital for further care if needed.
Standing births are exactly how the sound. Standing upright can help the uterus contract and actually shorten labor. This may also help put the baby’s head in a better angle to go through the birth canal. One may have their partner, doula or midwife as a support to lean against during the freestanding pushing.
Squatting, another method, is the most common birthing position worldwide. This option helps expand the cervix for a faster dilation. This also pushes the cervix forward and relieves back pressure during contractions.
Expectant mothers may have many concerns and questions about what to anticipate for the big day. This is all normal, and millions of other women have done it and will continue to have babies. Regardless of what option is selected to bring a baby into the world, it should be an empowering and healthy experience. The options stated above do not replace visits with a healthcare provider and regular monitoring of a pregnancy.
All pregnancies should still include a birthing plan for the anticipation of a baby’s arrival. Talk to your healthcare provider about what options are available to you. No two pregnancies are ever exactly the same and should be treated with individual care in mind.
Jessica Castellanos is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.