Have you given thought to your options for the PLACE where you will give birth? Most women in the US give birth in a hospital. But have you considered your other options? A Birthing Center can be part of a hospital or freestanding. And there is always a home birth, just like great, great, great, great grandma! In the last few years the number of home and birth center births has been climbing. Why are more women choosing to have their birth outside of a hospital? Women who choose to have a home birth or a birthing center birth do so because they see birth as a natural and normal process. They feel that a hospital is a place to go if you are sick. By choosing a home birth or birthing center, you have more options for how your birth will take place, who will be there and the atmosphere you will be birthing in. A woman can choose to have a water birth, can choose to have her birth in a place where she feels safe and relaxed, and is free to move around and use many positions for birth. Is this safe? Yes. Midwives are trained to recognize signs of a problem and to intervene early before a problem arises. For instance, any woman who is seen as high risk during pregnancy will be referred to an OB/GYN and will probably have her birth in a hospital as this is the safest option for her. Freestanding birthing centers are usually located close to a hospital so that if a woman needs to be transferred during labor it can be done quickly and safely. The majority of births are normal and uncomplicated, it is truly the minority who need to have a hospital birth or a cesarean section, not the majority. Consider all your options, and visit www.motherfriendly.org for a list of 10 questions to ask your care provider.