Though your own care provider matters the most, the birth place can also have a significant impact on how your birth turns out. Many hospitals have policies requiring certain interventions or prohibiting certain types of birth. Some hospitals ban VBAC or waterbirth, for example. It’s good to know what amenities your birth place has, and a quick overview of their culture.
To get a real idea of what it is like to birth there, though, you need to talk to a doula who regularly has clients there or a childbirth educator who knows the local birth scene. You can also know the right questions to ask on a tour and find out more yourself.
But again, the most important factor for getting the birth you want is picking your care provider (doctor/midwife). This person’s philosophy of birth, their cesarean rate, their respect for you and your wishes, and their policies about labor management make all the difference.
How nice they are, how funny they are, or how many babies of yours or your friend’s they successfully delivered has no bearing on this birth. And unless your doctor or midwife is willing to be on call and come in just for your birth, you are rolling the dice with all their partners. Do you trust everyone in the practice?
I teach birth classes in Bowie, MD and serve women from all around PG county, Annapolis, and the Maryland/DC area. So I put together this chart to help women and their supporters get a better idea about the nature of the birth places available to women in my area. If you need help picking a birth place, if you are having your first birth, or if you would like this birth to be different than last time, take a childbirth class!
See the full-size Maryland birth places chart.
If there is a local hospital you’d like to see included on the next iteration of this chart, feel free to contact me.