decide where to give birth to your baby

Where to Give Birth: Your Ultimate Labor & Delivery Guide

Congratulations! You’re about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime – parenthood. But before you dive into the world of sleepless nights and newborn snuggles there’s a critical decision to make: where to give birth? There is so much to consider when deciding where to give birth, but ultimately the choice comes down to you and your preferences. 

Why Your Birthplace Choice Matters 

Your choice of where to give birth can dramatically affect your birthing experience. It’s not just about the room’s ambiance; it’s about your safety, comfort, and that incredible story you’ll be telling for years to come. Here’s why it’s essential to choose wisely:

  • Safety First: The safety of both you and your baby is paramount. Your chosen birthplace should be equipped to handle any curveballs labor might throw your way.
  • Comfort Zone: Giving birth is like a marathon, but with contractions instead of sneakers. You want to feel as comfortable as possible, so you can focus on the task at hand – bringing a new life into the world.
  • Support System: Who’s in your corner when it’s time to push? Your birthplace should accommodate your support team, whether it’s a partner, doula, or your entire extended family.
  • Pain Management: Different birthplaces offer various options for managing the pain. Whether you’re all about epidurals or you want to go au naturel, your choice of venue matters.
  • Birth Plan Harmony: You don’t have to have a birth plan, but if you do, it’s best for your birth plan to be aligned with your birthplace’s policies and practices.  While birth might not go as planned, you’reyour more likely to get your must-haves if your birthplace is on board. 

What are your Birthplace Options?

Hospital Birth: The OG Option

Hospitals are the classic choice for giving birth. Think of it as the tried-and-true resort destination, complete with medical professionals and the ever-enticing hospital gown. According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, about 98% of births occur in hospitals.


  • Medical Superstars: Hospitals come with a full cast of medical experts, ready for anything.
  • Pain Medication: If you’re eyeing that epidural, hospitals have you covered.
  • Tech Galore: Advanced medical gadgets are at your service, just in case.


  • Not a Spa: Hospital rooms can feel more clinical than cozy. 
  • Availability Hunt: Not all healthcare providers or facilities offer options like birthing tubs, so you may need to do some digging to find a hospital that fits your plan.
  • Intervention Central: Medical intervention can be both a pro and con. The choice is always yours, but brace yourself for medical experts to push some potential unwelcome interventions.

Birth Center Birth: The Middle Ground

Birth centers offer a middle ground between the hospital hustle and the relaxed vibes of home birth. Picture a cozy Airbnb in the world of childbirth. According to the American Association of Birth Centers, there were 375 accredited birth centers in the US in 2018.

Some birthing centers like Oula Health combine obstetrics and midwifery care in an effort to provide a middle ground approach to pregnancy care and birth. 


  • Midwifery Magic: Midwives often reign supreme in birth centers, providing personalized care.
  • Homely Atmosphere: It’s like your home away from home – minus the dirty dishes.
  • Natural Is the Name of the Game: Birth centers are all about low-intervention childbirth.


  • Medication, please: Some moms intend to birth without medication and change their mind during labor. Know how the birth center manages pain and decide how much flexibility you need. 
  • Emergency Ready: Know the birth center’s emergency protocols and how they align with your comfort level.

Birthing Centers within Hospitals: A Bit of Both Worlds

Some hospitals feature birthing centers within them, offering a cozier atmosphere than the standard delivery wards. Picture a boutique hotel hidden in a massive resort.


  • Best of Both: You get the cozy vibes of a birth center with the safety net of a hospital.
  • Midwife Magic: Many birthing centers within hospitals are staffed by midwives, ensuring personalized care.
  • Access to All the Bells and Whistles: If things don’t go as planned, hospital facilities are just down the hall.


  • Location Matters: Depending on your location, finding a birthing center within a hospital may require a bit of a road trip.
  • Budget Check: The cost may vary, so double-check with your insurance provider.

Home Birth: Your Living Room, Your Rules

If you’re all about keeping it intimate and prefer your pantry to hospital food, a home birth might be the way to go. It’s like hosting the wildest party in town, but the guest of honor is a tiny human. Home births are most appropriate for low-risk pregnancies; 1.61% of all births in 2019 were home births. 


  • You Do You: It’s your space, your smells, your sounds, and you get to make the calls.
  • No Packing Necessary: You’re already at home – no need for a hospital bag.


  • Emergency Dilemma: The nearest hospital may not be within sprinting distance in case things take an unexpected turn.
  • BYOB (Build Your Own Birthing Experience): You’ll need to plan the guest list, snacks and beverages, and any medical equipment you may require.

How to Decide Where to Give Birth

Now that you’ve had a whirlwind tour of birthplace options, it’s time to make the choice for you and your soon-to-arrive co-pilot. Remember, there’s no right or wrong decision, only what is right for your family.  Choosing where to give birth is an exciting part of your journey into parenthood, and it’s a decision that should align with your unique preferences and needs. 

Whether you go for a hospital, a birth center, a cozy homebirth, or any other option, the key is to be well-informed, outline the best possible experience for you and your little one, and expect the unexpected. 

Remember, the ultimate goal is to welcome your baby into the world safely while keeping you as comfortable as possible. So, gather your birthing team, and prepare for one of life’s most exhilarating adventures. And don’t forget that birth is just the beginning. After you choose where to give birth, it’s time to plan for your recovery and postpartum care, too!