Giving birth today involves making so many choices, but choosing where you give birth and with whom will be one the most important choices you make. In Western and Central MA, we are lucky to have so many great options. Think of it like buying a car, you wouldn’t settle on the car you see, you shop around to fit your families needs. Interview different practitioners, ask questions and compare hospital statistics.
What comes to mind when you think about giving birth? Where do you envision yourself? At a hospital? A birth center? Or in the comfort of your own home? Do you see this as a natural process or do you say “give me the drugs”? Who do you envision yourself with? Do you want your birth to be private with the support of your partner and doula, or is it tradition to have your entire family present? Does the thought of a water birth sound relaxing to you? Are you planning a VBAC and what to find a supportive care provider? These are all things to take into consideration when choosing where to give birth and finding the right practitioner for you.
Doctor or Midwife? What’s the difference?
Both CNM’s (certified Nurse Midwives) and OB’s are licensed and regulated health care providers, research shows that fetal and maternal outcomes are equally good when comparing the two. It really depends on what YOU are looking for. Are you looking for low tech, high touch care from a midwife or more hands off higher tech care from an OB? Whether you choose a Midwife or OB, you will see them monthly until 28 weeks, ever other week until 36 weeks and then once a week until you deliver. Generally your prenatal appointments are 15-20 minutes in length depending on the practice and provider you choose.
If you looking for a more holistic approach, in the privacy of your own home, very low tech, hands on, with the same provider for all of your prenatal appointments, and the same person to be at your birth from start to finish, then a homebirth midwife might be a good option for you! Most homebirth practices only take 3-5 clients a month, and most prenatal appointments last an hour or more.
If a hospital birth with a Midwife or OB is what suites you then here is a sneak peak at some local hospitals in Western and Central MA that I have attended some blissful births at:
- The Birthplace at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield averages 450 births a year, 75% of those delivered by a CNM, 23% of those were cesareans, and 20% of those were VBAC’s. This hospital has a birth tub available for waterbirths!
- Pioneer Women’s Health
- The Childbirth Center at Cooley Dickenson Hospital in Northampton MA, averages 800 births a year, 20.3% of those are cesareans, 9% of those are VBAC’s.
- Center for Midwifery Care has a wonderful team of midwives that are overseen by OB’s, and I have attended some beautiful births there. Unfortunately, their birth tub is out of commission and won’t be getting fixed anytime soon.
- The Birthing Center at Holyoke Medical Center in Holyoke, MA, averages births a year, 16.3% of those are cesearans, and 24% of those are VBAC’s. This hospital has a birth tub available for waterbirths. It is the first Hospital in the state to offer Nitrous Oxide for pain management in labor.
- Midwifery Care of Holyoke
- Western Mass OB/GYN
- The Birthing Center at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, NH, averages 400 births a year, 30.8% of those births were cesareans. They have a stricter policy for VBAC’s so this is something to really consider if you choose to give birth here and are going for a VBAC. Although this hospital has one of the higher cesarean rates, it has by far the best family-centered cesareans I have ever been too!
- Obstetrics, Gynecology & Nurse Midwifery
*please note these statistics are from 2010, the most current year available.
- The Birth Cottage in Milford NH, is the perfect location for a family looking for the care of a homebirth midwife but with the out of hospital setting.
Here in the Valley, we have many options for CPM’s (Certified Professional Midwives) or direct entry Midwives providing homebirth care.
- River Valley Midwives has been in practice for over 25yrs, serving families in Western MA, and the Berkshires during warmer months, and parts of Central MA.
- Warm Welcome Home Birth has been attending homebirths since 1996 and offers doula trainings all over the valley.
- Sacred Birth Midwifery Care has been
supporting moms at home for almost 17 years.
- Birchwood Midwifery is another option in the Valley and has been in practice for a few years.
Whether you are trying to figure out what your desire and needs are for your upcoming birth, or need help navigating through all the options that are available, I’m here to help, call 978-413-8316 or email me today.