Choices in Childbirth

A natural delivery reflects a woman’s unique preferences

Exploring options for labor, delivery and recovery is an important aspect of childbirth for expectant moms. At Inova Women’s Hospital at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, the highly skilled medical staff provides a supportive, safe environment for women to have the unique birthing experience they hope for.

“We provide all the services that are safe for the mom and the baby in order to assure that they have options. So if they want a completely natural childbirth without any intervention, as long as the mom and baby are safe we encourage that,” says Sanda DiPaolo, MD, an obstetrician at Inova Women’s Hospital.

Supportive Environment
Having a natural childbirth is different for every woman. For new mom Jennifer D., being in an environment where the medical staff supported her decision to have a vaginal birth and to labor naturally without medication was on the top  of her list as she approached her  first childbirth last September.

“I went in with an open mind,”  she recalls. “I wasn’t pushed in one direction or the other, and that was definitely very helpful to me because I wanted my decisions to be my own and not feel like I was pressured to do it one way or another.”

Although Jennifer lives an hour away from the Inova Women’s Hospital, the Annapolis mom made the journey regularly throughout her pregnancy. Two weeks before her baby was due, she went into labor and after two arduous days, Jennifer and her husband drove to the hospital. When she arrived at 9:30 p.m., Jennifer planned for a delivery without medication but was open to an epidural if necessary. As her labor progressed, the sleep-deprived mom-to-be decided that having an epidural would help her to relax and better enjoy the birthing process. The next morning, Dr. DiPaolo supported Jennifer in her decision to have  a natural vaginal delivery despite her long labor.

“Dr. DiPaolo was very patient and she said the baby is doing fine so we can do this as long as you feel comfortable,” says Jennifer. “I didn’t want  to be taken in for a C-section and she worked with me on this goal.”

Baby Addison was born at 12:13 p.m., a healthy, happy baby.

“To optimize a natural birth, I provide an atmosphere in which the birthing mother follows her instincts, is given assistance only when needed, and labor is allowed to progress to where complete support and encouragement give the mother an empowering, positive birth experience,” says Dr. DiPaolo. “Close surveillance to keep both mother and baby safe still allows labor to progress as it should naturally,” she adds.  “The great miracle of life should be cherished from the beginning.”

Ready for Baby

Go to inovahealthsource.org/childbirth-education for information about childbirth classes or to schedule a maternity tour.