Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake recently revealed that Jessica had to be rushed to the hospital to have an emergency cesarean section to deliver their son, Silas, when plans for a home birth went awry.
Biel says that despite months long planning to deliver at home with no intervention, “all our plans fell apart and the serene, natural childbirth we had envisioned ended with a transfer to the hospital and an emergency C-section.” Luckily, Biel and her son survived. Not everyone is as lucky and I sincerely wish them the best.
Naturally, it is important to plan for a birth with the least intervention possible for both mom and baby; however, it is also vital to have the proper medical staff and equipment at a moment’s notice. There is a reason why interventions are available in the hospital. They can make mom more comfortable (like an epidural) and they can save lives. Laboring and delivering in the hospital, even in hospital-based birth centers, will help secure the best outcome possible for you and your baby. Labor is unpredictable, and no matter how much planning you do, you just cannot predict what may happen: a problem with the placenta may occur, the baby’s heart rate may drop quite suddenly, or the baby may get stuck in the birth canal. Before hospital deliveries, neonatal and maternal injuries and deaths were atrocious.
The only way to ensure the safest delivery is to be in a hospital with an operating room ready should you need it, even in a hospital-based birth center. Interventions such a cesarean sections have saved babies’ lives. While the idea of delivering your baby at home may sound like a calm and soothing way to bring your baby into the world, encountering the chaos of having to be transferred to a hospital because of an emergency complication is the quite the opposite. Arriving at a hospital is chaotic and uncoordinated, and the staff is pulled away from taking care of other patients. No one has been set aside for you because no one knew you were coming. When you deliver in a hospital, whether is the regular birth unit or a birth center inside the hospital, under the care of an OB/GYN or certified nurse midwife (CNM), the staff has been assigned to care for your specific needs and if you should need an emergency cesarean section, the staff is not only ready to go but nurses and doctors have previously scheduled time for you, have charts on hand, your personal labor progression chronicled, and any medical issues accounted for. It is all a very systematic process in which you and your baby have a team of medical professionals overseeing the process.
In addition, there are times when a cesarean section must be performed in minutes (if not seconds) because of complications such as a cord prolapse or an abruptio placentae. That is not a time to be 10- 15 minutes or more, away from a hospital and then be transported via an ambulance to an unknowing, unprepared staff that knows nothing about your labor. If you want to provide maximum health and options for mom and baby, that can only be achieved in a hospital with operating rooms ready for emergency cesareans sections, and a capable staff ready to go. That is the best way to bring a baby into the world. In addition complications such as a shoulder dystocia can happen even in normal pregnancies, and having a team available will improve your baby’s chances of being born healthily.
A hospital birth can be very miraculous and beautiful. If you want your delivery to be done as you like, create a birth plan and discuss it with your doctor or midwife. Safeguarding your baby’s health and your own is the best way to ensure a calm and comforting birth day for your child, which will remain a special memory for years to come.