In a hospital birth you are usually unable to eat while you are in labor, you will have electronic fetal monitoring (some hospitals are continuous or intermittent), pain medications are available upon request, you may be induced, and you will more than likely have to push in a certain position. Now in most hospitals they do have tubs that you may get in while you labor. You will also have a nurse who checks in on you often or is there with you continuously.The rooms are usually set up very cozy, to make it a more gentle atmosphere and make you feel more at home. One thing that can help you achieve the birth experience you would want is setting up a birth plan, most midwives and nurses try to follow them as best they can. It varies from hospital to hospital how many people will be allowed in the delivery room. If you end up in with a cesarean, most hospitals only allow one support person in the OR. You are usually there for 24-48 hours for a vaginal delivery and about 72 hours for a cesarean. If your plan is to breastfeed they have lactation consultants that will stop in, and most nurses will help if you are having trouble. If you chose to have a doula, they will also be there to support you.
If you give birth in a birth center, the atmosphere is more relaxed than a hospital. The rooms are set up like an actual bedroom, hiding all medical equipment in what looks like bedroom furniture. Almost if not all birth centers have birthing tubs where you can labor and give birth in! Natural childbirth is the focus in a birth center. Epidural anesthesia is not provided, but rather other comfort measures such as counter pressure, hydrotherapy, massage, warm and cold compresses and other relaxation techniques are offered. If you feel a strong desire to receive an epidural, or things don’t go as planned you can be transferred to the hospital. Your midwife is usually there through the entire labor and delivery. You are monitored with a handheld doppler every once and awhile, which gives you freedom to move and work with your contractions however you need. You may eat and drink as you choose. They do have medical equipment such as oxygen for mother and baby, intravenous lines (IV), infant resuscitators, infant warmers, local anesthesia in case of a tear, and oxytocin if postpartum bleeding must be controlled. You may leave 4 hours after delivery. The nurse and midwife (and doula if you choose) are there to help initiate breastfeeding.
If you choose to do a home birth, you must above all believe and trust in your body’s natural ability to birth. This should be something that you truly desire, as you might get some set back from family members and friends who may be scared of out-of-hospital births. The atmosphere of a home birth is usually most relaxing since it is in a place you are most familiar with. You will have to find a midwife who does home births. Usually a tub is set up so you may labor and/or give birth in the water, the midwife will provide one or you may rent or buy one. Natural childbirth is definite, unless you need transferred in an emergency situation. You are usually with a midwife and midwives assistant and doula if you choose to hire one. Family can be invited for a support system as well. If you have other children you will want to have a designated person(s) taking care of them or set up other arrangements for the birth. You may labor and push however you feel most comfortable. You are monitored once and awhile with a handheld doppler. Most midwives have medical equipment such as oxygen for mother and baby, infant resuscitators, and some others, but varies between midwives. After delivery they stay for a few hours depending on your needs