Models of childbirth: advantages and disadvantages

My baby should come into the world safe and secure – that's what every mother wants. However, the ways and means for this are very different. ELTERN online presents different models for a birth.

Home birth, delivery in the clinic or in the birthing center – mothers are different and every woman has very individual needs when it comes to giving birth to her own baby. You may feel particularly secure when you know that you have doctors around you who can react at any time. Perhaps security for you also means giving birth within your own four walls, only accompanied by a midwife. Both are good and you and your partner alone decide. If you are not yet sure how your child should be born, we will help you. ELTERN online presents different models for childbirth – with all advantages and disadvantages.

Delivery with a midwife

If you don't want to get to know your midwife in the delivery room, you can apply for an attending midwife. These freelance midwives look after you during the prenatal care and can thus build a trusting relationship with you. When the birth starts, a phone call is enough, the midwife comes straight to the delivery room and looks after you until the baby is born and your young family has mastered the first few hours together.

advantage: You already know the midwife who will look after you during the birth and after the many weeks of joint preventive care the midwife also knows what makes you tick, what you need and what is good for you during the birth. The birth takes place in a personal and familiar atmosphere. Shift change in the delivery room? With the others, yes, but your midwife doesn't finish work until the baby arrives.

Disadvantage: Document midwives are very popular. That's why you have to be quick. It is best to get in touch as soon as your pregnancy test is positive. And also consider the costs: In principle, the health insurance company pays for midwifery services, special services for midwives such as on-call duty in the weeks before the birth, but you have to pay for it privately. What else needs to be considered: What if the midwife is sick or otherwise prevented? Who will represent you?

Delivery in the birthing center

The hospital atmosphere is not for you? Do you want a comfortable environment for the birth of your child, but also professional care from a midwife? Then maybe a birthing center is just the thing, because several midwives have come together here and offer space and care for a birth in a relaxed and homely atmosphere. Instead of a delivery bed, women give birth in normal beds. And in rooms that are reminiscent of home. This should give the parents-to-be peace and security. Most birthing centers offer courses for pregnant women so that mothers and midwives can get to know each other well in advance. You can ask the Midwives Association whether there is a birthing center near you or go to

advantage: Through the preparatory courses in the birthing center, you already know the midwives who will be present when your child is born. The rooms in a birthing center are reminiscent of your own four walls, but you can still be sure of professional birth support. A calm and relaxed atmosphere awaits you. Birth centers are often in the immediate vicinity of a clinic. In an emergency, the way to the clinic is usually shorter than from you at home.

Disadvantage: Childbirth in the birthing center is unfortunately not suitable for every woman. Since there is no doctor present, the midwives must deliver high-risk births such as from breeches or from twins, refer to a clinic. Anyone who wants to give birth in a birthing center should know that in an emergency they will be transferred to a hospital and then perhaps have to give birth in an environment that they did not want. Another possible disadvantage: midwives are not allowed to use PDAs. Birth pain is treated with alternative methods. Tip: Inquire with your health insurance company which services it will provide for a birth in the birthing center. If necessary, you have to carry the on-call duty of the midwives privately.

Delivery in a clinic

A large clinic and experienced staff who are prepared for all eventualities – that is particularly important to you! But how do you find the right clinic? Ask your gynecologist which clinic they recommend. In the circle of friends and relatives you have probably already had one or the other experience. Or you can use our clinic guide app. She's a great help with the clinic check. Most maternity clinics offer regular information evenings on which information is provided about equipment and special features and often even visits to a delivery room is possible. In this way, the parents-to-be can already feel whether they like the premises and the staff. And it is the opportunity to ask midwives and doctors all about childbirth. The actual registration for the birth is usually recommended from the 34th week of pregnancy. The birth can then be discussed individually at the appointment. Mother and father also have the opportunity to specify wishes here. So if you know in advance that you absolutely want to have a birth tub in the delivery room, this appointment is the opportunity to address this. If your pregnancy is normal with no complications, the next time you will probably not come back to the clinic for the birth.

Advantage: A good maternity clinic can offer everything that modern medicine has to offer, so it is well equipped for all cases. If security is particularly important to you, you are in good hands here. And even after the birth you are well taken care of, because on the maternity ward you can first relax and, supported by expert staff, get to know your baby and make your first experiences with diapering and breastfeeding. And: The costs for the birth and the stay are completely covered by the health insurance.

Disadvantage: Since you actually only come to the clinic for the preliminary discussion and then for the birth, you probably don't know either the midwife who looks after you, or the doctor who is called for the birth. In addition, hospitals naturally work in shifts. This may mean that the midwife who receives you in the delivery room is not necessarily the one who accompanies you during the birth. You will probably not find comfort in very few clinics. Emergencies always have priority, which is why you may have to wait one time or another until the midwife can check on you next time. Another disadvantage: If you are not a private patient, you will likely share the room with at least one other new mother after the birth. Privacy and tranquility? Nothing.

Midwifery-led birth

Only be accompanied by a midwife during the birth, but still have medical help nearby in emergencies? The midwife-led birth makes this possible. The clinic provides a delivery room and the midwife. However, a doctor does not come to the birth as usual. Instead, your midwife will call in someone else to help out when the baby is born. The doctor only comes if there are complications and the midwife considers his presence necessary.

Advantage: With midwife-led birth, you only have one person whose advice and instructions you listen to and are not confused by further opinions from doctors. But since you still give birth in a clinic, medical staff are always ready if you wish or if there are complications.

Disadvantage: Even with midwifery-led birth, you are dependent on the midwives' shift system. The midwife you go to the delivery room with is not automatically the one you will have your baby with. And you need to know that hospital emergencies always come first. If there is a shortage of staff, it is unfortunately not always possible to choose whether the second person is a midwife, an assistant doctor or another doctor from the team.

Home birth

Born in security – for some women this is only possible within their own four walls. With a home birth, you have your midwife just for you, in familiar surroundings at home. It stays as long as you need it. Important to know: A home birth is not suitable for every pregnant woman. Midwives and doctors are more likely to advise high-risk patients to give birth in the clinic.

Advantage: Above all, giving birth at home saves you stress: first the journey to the clinic while in labor, then beeping machines, changing midwives and sharing a shared room with other mothers and their newborns – none of this is necessary. Instead, with the support of your midwife, you can concentrate on the birth in peace. Another advantage: if you already have a child, you don't necessarily have to look after a child unless you want to.

Disadvantage: If you want to give birth to your child at home, you have to organize a lot in advance. First of all, it is important to find a midwife to accompany home births. Not at all easy with the current insurance situation for freelance midwives. There is also a lot to prepare for the birth: Cooking food and preparing fresh towels and bed linen for the time afterwards, covering the bed with waterproof mattress covers, informing neighbors – you can find out everything you need to know in the article How to prepare for your home birth . Another possible disadvantage: a PDA to largely eliminate pain is not possible at home. Instead, the midwife will try to help you with alternative pain management methods. What else you have to be prepared for: If unexpected complications arise during the birth, you will be taken to the nearest clinic by ambulance. You cannot choose where to go. In case of doubt, you will be admitted there as an emergency. Decisions such as a caesarean section, are then taken quickly. In such situations, the staff does not have much time to get to know you and your needs. Also important: The costs for a home birth are covered by the statutory health insurance, but a flat fee is due for the midwife to be on call around the calculated due date, which you have to pay privately.

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