You may not know you have options, at least is most states you do.
A hospital birth goes pretty much the same no matter where you do it. The Doctors and nurses run the show. They are guided by rules and are wary of litigation so things need to progress on there terms or you start to have some interventions. When you check in if you are in labor they will hook you up to a fetal monitor to measure your contractions and the babies heart rate. Then if you are having regular contractions they will check your cervix to see if you are progressing. Soon after that you will be hooked up to an I.V. and they will start fluids. If you’ve gone into the hospital to be induced they will start our I.V. first and give you cervidill (a chemical inserted into the vaginal canal) this will ripen your cervix and get you ready to dialate. They could skip the cervidil if you have dialated on our own before you arrive. Most often you will get pitocin (a chemicle made version of oxytocyn which your body produces naturally during labor). Pitocen makes contractions come on strong, long and quickly. You don’t get breaks and neither does the baby. Once you have the pitocin it is very hard to avoid an epidural. I have sen it done but not very often. After you have dialed to a 3 or 4, depending on your hospital you get your epidural. With an epidural comes a catheter (a tube to drain your bladder) and most likely a internal fetal monitor(a device that screws into the babies head to monitor fetal distress) An epidural can and most likely will slow down contraction so Usually your water is broken next if it hasn’t broken on it’s own. And then your contractions start to really work. You should progress rather quickly from here. If you don’t your pitocin will be increased to facilitate this. Usually the baby starts to freak out at this point, you see you have had a break from those pitocin contractions by the epidural but the baby had not had much of a break at all, so you can see it’s heart rate will start to jump around and you will be set up to push if you are ready. You are put into he lythos position (on your back with your feet up in stirrups) And you start to push with a nurse. The doctor is called and heads over. If you are in a good position the baby has o trouble coming. If it gets stuck, which happens often in this position, the Dr. uses a vacumn extractor (a suction device that attaches to the babies head) or forsups (a tong like device that goes around the babies head, I will say this one is not used the most) to help bring the baby down the birth canal. Gravity would do this normally but without feeling n our legs you cannot stand or move to help the baby come through on it’s own. This is where you can end up with a cecarian if the baby goes into too much distress. Usually the baby is born and in most cases is fine. The mom does well, the epidural wears off in a hour or less. The baby is taken and cleaned then about by the time you are both ready you are brought back together.
It is not impossible to have a baby naturally at a hospital but, some of the interventions are a must like the I.V., fetal monitor, and no eating rule.
At a birth center you go in when you feel you need to, most women choose to labor at home for a while before going. When you get there you are quickly monitored. You do not stay on the monitor for very long. Then you are taken to a room, usually you have a bed, some chairs and a bathroom with a large tub and shower. You are escorted by your midwife who stays with you as much as you need her until you deliver. You are feed when you are hungry and given a drink when you are thirsty.(They typically believe the best hole for liquids is the one God gave you) You progress on your own terms and the baby is monitored frequently. Your cervix is not checked as regularly as in the hospital. The midwife listens to the baby through a stethascope and not a fetal monitor. You move around as you feel you need to. And you can get in and out of the tub. A midwife has stadol and morphine (pain medication) if you want it. When the time comes for the baby to be born you are in a position you choose (most often not on our back) In my case my husband is going to catch with my midwife standing by to guide him. There are resusitation devices and oxygin for mom and baby. They have pitocin to stimulate the uterus in case of post partum bleeding. And in case of emergancy they are hooked up with a hospital near by for transport.
You can also deliver at home many CMN’s will deliver here however you don’t have all of the same techknowlegy in your home as you do in a center. But studies show a healthy low risk woman in just as safe if not safer in her own home as in a hospital.
Whatever you choose I want you to know your choices! You need to be where you feel safe with people you trust are doing the best for you and your baby.