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Having a baby is one of the biggest events of your life. Women have a different idea of what makes a good birth experience. If you are considering giving birth in a hospital, it can be helpful to understand what is involved.

What To Expect With A Hospital Birth

If you have never had a baby before, you may not be sure what to expect if you deliver in a hospital. Knowing what will occur can reduce uncertainty and fear. Most hospitals offer childbirth classes and tours to expecting parents.

Prior to your due date, you will have the option of attending a class or series of classes where you learn about pain relief options during labor, including natural methods. A tour of the labor and delivery area will also be included. Nurses will explain what happens in the event of complications. Many hospitals allow you to preregister, which makes the process easier when you go into labor and arrive at the hospital.

When the big day arrives, most hospitals admit you directly through their labor and delivery area. Hospital protocols may differ, but the next step usually involves giving a urine sample and possibly blood work.

After changing into a hospital gown, you may have a fetal monitor placed on your abdomen to check the baby’s heart rate. An internal exam is also done to check your progress and determine how many centimeters you are dilated.

During the course of your labor, you may be given pain medication as requested or medication to increase contractions if you are not progressing.

During the delivery of your baby, your doctor or midwife, along with a nurse will be present. Immediately after birth, your little one will be placed on your chest if you wish. A quick assessment will likely be performed at some point to make sure the baby is doing well. Most hospitals have babies room in with the parents and are only taken to the nursery for routine exams or if you want a break to rest.

The Pros And Cons Of A Hospital Birth

Although things may vary, there are some general pros and cons of giving birth in a hospital. Consider some of the following.

Pros:

  • Easy access to pain relief: If you decide to use pain medication or get an epidural, you have easy access to this in the hospital. Keep in mind, hospitals offer pain medication to make your delivery more comfortable. Some women may do fine without pain medications. Other women lose focus when the pain becomes intense, and it interferes with their birth experience. No one will force you to use pain medication.
  • Advanced technology is available if needed: Although it is uncommon, some babies may require the use of lifesaving equipment after birth. For example, in rare cases, a baby may need breathing assistance from a ventilator. Even if it is unlikely, having immediate access to certain equipment can be lifesaving.

Cons:

  • You may have to adhere to hospital policies: Although many hospitals do their best so a woman can have a positive experience, there are policies in place. For instance, hospitals may limit how many people can be present during a birth or visiting hours.
  • You’re not in your own environment: Sometimes it is soothing to be in your own home. Giving birth in a hospital may seem impersonal.  
  • You will have less privacy: Hospital staff have their job to do, and that means certain people may be coming in and out of your room. You are likely to have less privacy in a hospital than you would at home.
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