We also spoke to a mother who chose to birth her third baby in a primary facility instead of a hospital, Renee Munce. After two hospital births, Renee wanted to try a more relaxed homebirth-style birth. She chose to birth at the Te Awamutu Birthing Centre.
“I preferred to birth at a birth centre as I felt like I was in control of my labour rather than the fast, insensitive, ‘I’m just another number’ feeling I got at hospital,” she said.
I loved everything about birthing at the centre. I got to have my own music playing, I paced a lot in labour so I had plenty of space to walk around, and I used natural remedies like lavender oil to relax. I wanted a natural drug-free birth…
“I loved everything about birthing at the centre. I got to have my own music playing, I paced a lot in labour so I had plenty of space to walk around, and I used natural remedies like lavender oil to relax. I wanted a natural drug-free birth and not having the temptation for using drugs was great. I could have easily fallen in to the trap of using them if I had the option, but because the option wasn’t there it never crossed my mind. I tried everything: bath, shower, exercise ball, you name it.”
Renee stayed at the primary facility for the entire birth, and the outcome was a natural, vaginal birth without medication. She stayed until the next day before going home, but at some facilities like Birthcare the mother can stay for up to three days before heading home.
“I loved the ladies/midwifes at the birth centre – they attended my every need and concern. We both felt extremely well looked after. Met all our cultural needs. I loved how my partner could stay the night as you feel very alone at hospital.”
“We got a big pack of information to take home with us including awesome little gifts for baby. I didn’t really need/ask for any extra support. But I confide in my midwife/s a lot and if I need anything I just call them.”
Where you choose to give birth can have some very real implications. Choosing to birth at home is not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean birthing in a medical hospital is your only other option. Primary birthing facilities, like Birthcare, offer you a middle ground between home and hospital. The research findings are there – choosing such a facility leads to better birth outcomes.
Hannah Schenker is a freelance writer, editor and regular contributor to The Natural Parent Magazine. She lives with a touch of magic in Golden Bay, New Zealand. You can find her on her website.