Homebirth is a philosophy and a very personal choice. So is the birth at a birth center.
Despite people's preconceptions homebirth and births at birth centers are safe and economical.
Homebirth/birth center midwives are a lovely folk and their services are available in and around Vienna.
Your homebirth/birth center midwife will be completely responsible for you despite the fact that you will need to see an ob/gyn for your regular check-ups during pregnancy.
If you have an uncomplicated pregancy, enjoy the privacy of your home and having your personal care provider before, during and after your birth, do consider homebirth. If you love the idea of homebirth but you feel that your home is not ideal for it, choose a birth center birth. Both give you the possibility to make your own choices without having to submit to hospital rules and regulations.
I LOVED having my own midwife.
If you hire your own, she will be with you during your entire birth, aware of your birth preferences.
Only two public hospitals in Vienna offer the “Midwife of Choice” model. Women will have to contact the midwives offering this service early on to secure a midwife. This Service is not covered by public insurance but HIGHLY recommened.
At all other hospitals you will be assigned a midwife on duty who will change when her shift is over. Depending on how busy the hospital is that day you will also share your midwife with other women in labor and might be without support for extended periods of time during your labor.
All private hospitals allow you to bring a midwife you have hired independently, but they also have midwives on duty. Again it is crucial to your birth outcome to make sure your midwife knows you and supports your choices.
A Successful Journey
While your pregnancy is a precious time and most of your time should be spent doing things you love, it is VERY important to get a good idea what your pregnancy journey and birth destination should look like.
As with any successful decision you make, you need to decide where you want to go and how you will get there:
1) No preparation means you might end up at a destination you neither foresaw nor wanted to go to.
2) Doing what someone else (ob/gyn, partner, mother) thinks is ideal for you,will also not get you where YOU want to go.
3) Reading books (even the philosophy in pregnancy books varies depending on the authors’ ideas) will give you a general picture of what options you have.
4) Speaking with a doula who gets to know what you want to experience will help you find your way through the birth environment and the options in your specific location.
TAKE THE TIME TO DEFINE YOUR IDEAL OUTCOME: write it down, interview practitioners, visit hospitals and ask questions early on!
I am aware that we have the luxury of “free health care” in Austria. While such health care is crucial it might not offer you the ideal birth place for your baby.
In my experience parents try to save on birth, but please consider this:
Think about the fact that any mother or father, even when 85 years old, will be able to give you a detailed account on the birth of their children.
It has THAT kind of impact on you.
Very few of them will remember details of the stroller they bought or the sleepless nights or the vacations taken that long ago.
If you - like me and most others - are not in the position of having unlimited resources, consider the following options
Supplimental Insurance (get it pre-pregnancy)
Save (you wont need more for your baby than loving arms, a place to lay them down and your breast)
Gifts Ask for gifts to help cover the expenses of the birth instead of yet another outfit for baby
Ask if the Provider is willing to be paid in installments or takes on pro-bono clients or maybe you have something to offer in return for their work
Fear and Previous Trauma?
Most of the women I serve are moms who are having their next child. There is a common story behind this phenomenon and it goes like this:
Women, giving birth for the first time, often trust that all birth workers have their best interest at heart, that the doctor knows best and that their mothers and grandmothers made it through their births, and so will they.
While there is a chance that this proves true, often new mothers are confronted with less than ideal birth experiences. This combined with the challenges of early motherhood leads to moms becoming depressed, sad, as well as suffering from feelings of failure.
Sometimes women even experience trauma because of verbal or physical abuse in the birthing room by the very people who were supposed to take care of them. Obstetric violence has been in the media recently and although we all believe it should never happen, it does.
A doula can be the woman on your side and also recommend resources such as psychiatric outpatient clinics specialized in pregnant and postpartum women, trusted doctors and osteopaths as well as other needed resources. Doulas will also always offer to listen in a non-judgmental way.
Powerless? Know Your Worth!
Hospital rules, lack of respect, loneliness in the birthing room. All this can lead to the feeling of being powerless, of having to submit to someone else’s ideas of your life.
Birth is a doorway, a life changing event.
This process has transformative value and such transformation can bring a sensibility that needs to be supported in an affirmative way.
For us as doulas, the loving and unbiased approach to all mothers is second nature.
Transformative processes carry a large potential: they can lead a person to exceptional strength, or in a less ideal scenario, can be the starting point of increased insecurity.
As women we often do not allow ourselves to accept help. A feeling might creep in that something is not quite the way we want it, but we do not react because we do not want to be “difficult,” “high maintenance,” or “different.”
Within yourself you carry a sensor that lets you feel if your birth companion, your doctor, or another person related to your birth might not be the right choice for you.
Listen to yourself, you are worth it!