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Planning Your Birth Experience

​​​​​​​You may not know the exact day or time of your baby’s arrival. Regardless, planning the birth experience for you and baby can help you control some aspects of the arrival.

couple with baby toys ​​​Options are available to help you create a birth experience that is personal and individual.

Birthing can take place in a hospital, birthing center or at home. “Your choice in your health care provider will likely determine where your delivery will take place,” said Certified Nurse Midwife Amy Roff, Marshfield Clinic Eau Claire Center. Clinic obstetrics/gynecology physicians and nurse midwives take care of moms and babies at Sacred Heart Hospital, Eau Claire.

“Choosing between an OB/GYN physician and a nurse midwife is one of personal preference,” said Roff. “Mothers need to decide what type of care best suites them. Insurance coverage for either provider is the same. A nurse midwife is expert in normal birth care and can distinguish when a delivery may be high risk and need OB/GYN physician assistance or transfer of care.”

Roff recommends having a conversation about birthing preferences prenatally with your provider. “Options extend from water birth to epidural use for pain control, with much in between,” she said. “What is preferred depends on what the woman is looking for in her birth experience.”

Water birth delivery is a method that began in Europe and has grown in popularity in the United States. “Marshfield Clinic certified nurse midwives have been providing this method at Sacred Heart Hospital for eight years,” said Roff.

Women searching for pain relief options that don’t include pain medications increasingly have chosen water birth because the warm water is soothing for most women. “The large tub allows for freedom of movement during labor and delivery,” said Roff. “The water helps with relaxation and coping with the discomfort of labor.”

The water’s reverse pressure also can help reduce the potential for perinatal laceration or tears during the delivery. “Being born in warm water creates a gentle, peaceful birth and transition for baby,” said Roff. For patients not interested in birth in the water, birth rooms also have Jacuzzi tubs. “Mothers can use the water as hydrotherapy, and then get out at the time of delivery,” she said.

Movement and different positions that allow opening of the pelvis can help women cope during labor. This can be accomplished by using a birth ball, also known as an exercise ball. “The birth ball can help open the pelvis allowing the baby to move down into the correct position for birth,” said Roff.

Relief from pain with medication remains an option. “Talk through the use of pain medications ahead of time,” said Roff. “Discomfort during childbirth is normal. It’s the body’s natural way of bringing the baby to mom. For women choosing IV medications or epidural, they need to understand the risks and benefits to make an informed choice.”

Giving birth is a powerful event that can transform your life. “Learning about the birth process and understanding the available options is strongly encouraged to help make the best decisions in planning for baby’s arrival,” said Roff.​