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Birthing options can include both the location where you would like to give birth as well as how you would like to give birth. In the U.S., most deliveries occur in a hospital. Many people also choose to give birth in a birthing center or at home. In NC, last year 15% more births occurred at home than the previous year. Choosing to have a baby at home or in a birthing center may not be advisable in mom's with chronic medical conditions, or if mom has certain obstetric conditions list gestational diabetes or placenta previa, or when labor occurs before 27 or after 42 weeks. When birthing at home or in a birthing center, you can expect fewer delivery interventions like medication for pain or medication to increase the frequency of your contractions. When birthing in the hospital, you can expect access to medical interventions during delivery as well as access to providers who can intervene quickly in case of complications. Most providers only deliver babies in one type of setting, so choose a provider who will deliver in the setting that you prefer. Hospital births are more expensive than births at a birthing center or home. However, some insurance providers do not cover birthing centers and home births. Check with your insurance provider to learn what they will cover.

Types of Delivery

  • Vaginal Delivery

    Safest and most common type of childbirth. Baby is born through your vagina or birth canal. With vaginal delivery, your recovery is faster and you have lower rates of postpartum infection. Vaginal delivery can happen on its own when your body is ready. Vaginal delivery can also be induced. Your provider may recommend inducing labor with medication or other steps when they think it will lead to better outcomes for you and your baby.
  • Cesarean Section or C-section

    A surgical procedure where the baby is delivered through the mom's abdomen. C-sections are recommended in certain situations when the baby cannot be safely delivered vaginally, for example if the baby is too large or not in the right positions for delivery. If you need to have a C-section, you will have a longer recovery time than with a vaginal delivery. C-section rates in the U.S. are higher than in other countries and are highest for Black birthing women.  
  • Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)

    A VBAC is when you have a vaginal delivery after having previously delivered a baby by cesarean. A VBAC can be an option for you if you meet certain criteria. Talk with your provider about your options.
Birthing Options