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Childbirth Options

SSM Health’s maternity specialists are here to work with you to accommodate your wishes as you welcome your newest member of the family.

We understand that your birth plan is a personal decision. Prior to delivery, we will provide you information to guide you to the childbirth experience you desire. Decisions we will ask you to make may include:

  • Do you want anesthesia?
  • In what form you would like anesthesia delivered?
  • What would you like us to do in the case of adjusting the birth plan?

This is not an exhaustive list. There are a lot of decisions you will need to make prior to giving birth. When it comes time for your delivery though, we’ll be able to follow your wishes. In rare instances, it may become medically necessary to deviate from your birth plan, but we will follow your wishes as best we can the entire way through.

Natural (Unmedicated) Birthing

Many women choose natural childbirth to avoid using routine medical interventions such as anesthesia and cesarean sections. A natural birth can occur in the hospital or in the home, however we do not recommend an at-home natural birth if you have an at-risk pregnancy or your baby is breech.

If you choose a natural birth, we do have some low intervention options to help make your delivery as smooth and comfortable as possible. Breathing exercises, as well as items like squat bars and a birth ball might make the experience more comfortable. Our nurses are also available to help you find a more relaxed position during labor.

Using Anesthesia During Labor

Our highly-trained anesthesiologists are available to help you with your birth all hours of the day. Before delivery, you will have an opportunity to make some important decisions. One of these decisions is whether you would like to have an epidural. This is a common procedure where anesthesia is inserted into the spine.

Pain medications will be available to you throughout delivery. We encourage you to speak with your physician about the best method for your child’s birth in advance.

Cesarean Section

In the case of an emergency, our physicians are well prepared for Cesarean (C-section) births. During C-sections, babies are delivered through a surgical incision in the mother’s abdominal wall. Cesareans are performed only when vaginal delivery is not possible or when there is a concern for the well-being of mom or baby. Some reasons that a baby might need to be born using a C-section include:

  • Fetal distress: when the monitor shows that your baby is not tolerating labor as well as expected
  • Abnormal presentations: example, breech birth

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section (VBAC)

For some women, having a C-section during their first birth means that subsequent births will have to be by Cesarean as well. However, in some cases our physicians can provide vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC) if it is safe for both mom and baby. Generally, this option is available only to women who have had one prior C-section. If you fall into this category, speak with your physician to learn more about your options.

Birth Doula

Doulas are trained individuals who offer emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner before, during and after childbirth. Their goal is to provide a safe and satisfying childbirth experience. While SSM Health does not employ doulas, expectant mothers may choose to hire a birth doula to provide support before and during childbirth.

Learn more about your birthing options today. Informed mothers make for more prepared mothers when it comes time to deliver. Speak with your maternity provider about all of your available options.

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