Finding out you are pregnant can be the most important discovery of your life.  There are many decisions to be made including where this child is to be born and who will be at the birth.

On the island of Maui and Hawaii in general, there are basically 2 choices, to give birth at the hospital or at home.

For many, there is no doubt that they are going to give birth in the hospital.  Then the decision becomes, “what do I want my birth to look like and who do I want with me?” It’s good to examine your options by reading and discussing with other parents, doctors, nurses, midwives and doulas.  An educated, informed choice is what will resonate in all aspects of your life.

For some couples, they have a wonderful support system and there is no need to look outside of their family unit for birth support.  Others may be single moms or married women with husbands who do not want to attend their birth.  And then there are those who have a devoted partner and want another woman in the picture for moral support. This is where a Doula or Midwife can be helpful in the hospital.  It is very important to interview anyone you want to take with you to the hospital and ensure that they are a fit with you and your belief systems.  A great caregiver is one who has no judgment about the choices you make and supports you completely.  It can be wonderful to have someone in the hospital with you who is calm, loving, informed and experienced.

For some women/couples, home birth is an option. Home birth is for low risk mothers. It is essential to have good diet, be emotionally stable, have a great relationship with yourself and/or your partner, be free of sexually transmitted diseases, be free of drugs, alcohol and smoking.

A homebirth midwife is a primary caregiver. For some birthing moms, a midwife may need to be hands on for the entire process. In other situations, her/his role might be to be on the sidelines with love and support and let things unfold as nature intended. Home birth is a family centered event. Even children can be present at the birth of their sibling if properly prepared.  The freedom of being in the home setting can include relaxing in a hot tub, walking around in all stages of labor and giving birth in the position which is most comfortable and appropriate.

Midwives are trained to know the emergency signs in the birth situation and do not hesitate to transport a woman to the hospital.  It is a good idea, to visit the hospital and be comfortable in the setting just in case there is a need to go there.  You can have a beautiful, peaceful birth in any setting. A healthy outcome is the common goal of your birth team, home or hospital.

Even in the best of situations, pregnancy can present unforeseen challenges.  Having the emotional support and continuity of care that Midwives and Doulas provide is invaluable.  This support starts prenatally (and can even start prior to conception). It continues at the birth and even further into the post-partum period.  Having an attendant who understands the family dynamics and has formed a relationship based on trust and caring is very reassuring at this time. This support can include breastfeeding, parenting, sibling adjustments, couple counseling, birth control and general care of your body and your home environment.

Your conscious, informed decision and the initial bond you make with your baby impacts its entire future and the future of our world.

Books to Read: For more information, you might find one or more of the books below quite useful.

Gentle Birth Choices: A Guide to Making Informed Decisions About Birthing Centers Birth Attendants, Water Birth, Home Birth, Hospital Birth. by Barbara Harper, Suzanne Arms

A Good Birth, A Safe Birth: Choosing and Having the Childbirth Experience You Want. by Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer

Special Delivery: A guide to creating the birth you want for your baby. by Rahima Baldwin

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth. by Henci Goer, Rhonda Wheeler

Christina Garzero is a mother of 9 and has been a Midwife for 30 years.  She is also a massage therapist. She can be reached at 575-2828.