When planning the type of birth experience you would like to have, you'll need to consider a number of factors. One of the most important decisions is where you would like to give birth. You may also want to think about the details of your birth, such as which positions you would like to adopt during the birth, and what type of pain relief you might choose to use.
It's important to be flexible. You may have preferences as to the type of birth you want, but accepting that your choice may be limited or advised against because of a preexisting medical problem, or because a problem arises in labor, will help you prepare mentally and curb disappointment if events don't go as planned. It is generally accepted that the care of healthy women in labor who have had a straightforward pregnancy should be monitored and managed by their doctors at the hospital, with support given by the nursing staff throughout the process.
The place of birth
Earlier in pregnancy, you'll probably have thought about where you would like to give birth and discussed the options with your doctor. Although you may have already stated a preference, it's important to know that you can review your choice and change your mind toward the end of pregnancy.
Where you give birth may be influenced by factors such as whether you've had complications in pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure, that would make a hospital birth preferable. On the other hand, if your pregnancy has been straightforward and you have become more informed about labor and birth over the course of your pregnancy, your confidence may have grown and you may decide to look into a home birth in familiar surroundings, or to investigate midwife-run birthing centers in your area.
Sometime in the third trimester you may have a hospital tour, which gives you a chance to see the labor and postpartum wards in your hospital, and to ask questions about hospital policies and what facilities are available. Ask your doctor for details of tours.