By Melissa Lawlor, CNM, IBCLC, Robin’s Nest Midwifery PLLC
Photos: Courtesy of Melissa Lawlor
The Hudson Valley abounds with birth options, and the search for a health-care provider to entrust your pregnancy, labor and birth to can be quite overwhelming. Obstetrician or midwife? Hospital, birth center or home birth? You Google OB/midwife practices, ask your friends for opinions, post questions on social media and alas, you are still bewildered.
As a Certified Nurse Midwife who has practiced within hospital, free-standing birth center and home birth settings, I am well situated to provide education on birth options in the Hudson Valley. Remember, this is your baby, your birth. Only you know what feels right to you.
Hospital Birth: There are a plethora of hospitals in the Hudson Valley offering labor, delivery and mother-and-baby units (LDRPs). Obstetricians and midwives attend births in these hospitals. Predominately, babies are born in hospitals because it is the cultural norm in the United States. Hospital birth is a medical event featuring IV access, routine external/internal fetal heart monitoring, vaginal exams, medications, RN care and the OB/midwife delivering your baby. Most women desire an epidural during labor to decrease pain sensation. Some hospitals offer water-labor therapy and tub births. For many women, they feel safe giving birth in the hospital with easy access to an operating room should an emergency arise. The typical hospital stay is two days for a vaginal birth, three to four days for a cesarean birth.
Generally, hospitals staff Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) for babies who are born preterm or with medical complications requiring specialized care. For many families, immediate access to a NICU is an important consideration.
For more information on hospital births, visit https://profiles.health.ny.gov/hospital/county_or_region/region:hudson+valley/service:Maternity.
Free-Standing Birth Centers: A free-standing birth center is a health-care facility practicing the Midwives Model of Care, which supports normal physiological birth and newborn transition. Accredited birth centers have rigorous policies, standards and protocols emphasizing safety and low medical intervention. Hudson Valley women have access to one free-standing accredited birth center: the Connecticut Childbirth & Women’s Center (CCWC), tucked just over the state line in Danbury, Connecticut. This midwifery-led birth center offers low-risk, healthy pregnant women the option of out-of-hospital birth across the street from Danbury Hospital in a homelike setting. CCWC also provides midwifery care to women who desire a hospital birth at Danbury Hospital.
For more information, visit www.ctbirthcenter.com or www.birthcenters.org.
Home Birth: Low-risk, healthy pregnant women have the option of planned home birth with a NY Licensed Midwife (LM), an independent health-care provider. Planned home birth is growing rapidly in the Hudson Valley as women are more often desiring low-intervention births in the comfort of their own home. Freedom to move during labor and water birth are frequently requested in this scenario. A midwife attends your labor and birth, along with a birth assistant. Midwives provide personalized, comprehensive, evidence-based medical care throughout your pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum period. Out-of-hospital NY midwives who specialize in planned home birth meet thorough safety standards and protocols.
For more information on this option, visit www.nyhomebirth.com or www.midwife.org/find-a-midwife. █