Choosing a childbirth technique is a personal decision
One size does not fit all. That is certainly true when it comes to delivering a baby. Parents-to-be have more choices than ever about birthing techniques, be it the widely used method such as Lamaze or natural childbirth education called HypnoBirthing, and one is not necessarily better than the others. What is important is that parents think carefully and collaboratively about what feels right to them.
“When deciding how you want to have your baby, discuss your ideas with your doctors and trust yourself,” says Barry Rothman, MD, Medical Director, Obstetric Services, Inova Alexandria Hospital. “What worked for your neighbor or your friend may not be the best option for you.”
Here are some options for expectant parents to consider:
This childbirth method, the most widely used in the United States, approaches childbirth as a natural and healthy process. Lamaze emphasizes keeping labor and birth as safe and healthy as possible and avoiding interventions that are not medically necessary. Learn more at lamaze.org.
The Bradley Method classes teach families how to have natural births, without drugs during labor and birth. Husbands are the coaches in this method. See more at bradleybirth.com.
Also known as the Mongan Method, HypnoBirthing uses self- hypnosis techniques to achieve deep calm and relaxation during childbirth. Find out more at hypnobirthing.com.
Certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives are specialists in maternity care and the full range of a woman’s healthcare needs. While they are independent healthcare providers, they also work with other members of the healthcare team, such as physicians and nurses, to provide the highest quality care.
One reason many women turn to natural birthing methods is to avoid Caesarean sections, or C-sections. A C-section is the delivery of a baby through an incision in the mother’s belly and uterus. Several circumstances warrant C-sections, including a slow or halted labor or when the baby shows signs of distress.
Even if a mother has received a C-section, she may still be able to deliver vaginally for the next birth. If you and your doctor agree to try a vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC), you will have what is called a “trial of labor.” This means that you plan to go into labor with the goal to deliver vaginally. A C-section may still be warranted.
“Having a vaginal birth after having a C-section can be a wonderful and safe choice,” says Dr. Rothman. “You and your doctor will consider why you had a C-section before and how many C-sections you’ve had in order to determine the best direction to take.”
Inova Alexandria Hospital is part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, launched by the World Health Organization and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). As part of this program, Inova follows the “10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.” These include training all healthcare staff in the skills necessary to promote breastfeeding; helping mother initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth; and providing newborn infants only breast milk, unless medically indicated. Inova Alexandria Hospital supports mothers’ decisions on how to feed their babies—whether that is breast or bottle-feeding.
Learn more about all of Inova’s maternity services at inova.org/childbirth