Though the physical and emotional aspects of being pregnant can be overwhelming, with all the changes that are happening to you and to your relationship with your partner, there are a number of practical decisions to make too: what type of antenatal care would you like? What sort of birth?
It makes sense to think about these and other practicalities as early as possible so that you have ample time to investigate your options.
You can choose to have your baby at home or in hospital (not necessarily the closest to your home), and you have a right to maternity care, whatever you choose to do. Take the time to look into the choices with your partner, with a midwife and with your GP Ask other mothers in your area where they had their babies, and what sort of care they received.
Some women feel more comfortable in a hospital where emergency equipment is to hand, others are happiest in their own home, where they are able to feel in control. It is up to you.
Giving birth in hospital
Depending on where you live and where your health authority has contracts for its deliveries, you may be able to choose between different local hospitals, all within reasonably easy reach of your home.
Most women today have the majority of their antenatal care with their GP or community midwife and you may only visit the hospital once or twice during your pregnancy. It is becoming more common for the 'booking in' appointment - the first antenatal appointment that 'books' you a place for delivery - to he done at home. You are likely to have most of your care at the hospital if there is any problem with your pregnancy, since you may need to see a consultant obstetrician regularly; if a problem develops while you are pregnant, you will also probably he asked to see the consultant too.
The majority of babies - even if they are born in hospitals - are delivered by midwives. Normally doctors only intervene if forceps are needed or if a cesarean is necessary.
There are a number of issues which might affect your choice of hospital or decision to choose home rather than a hospital. All hospitals now say that they treat every mother and baby as individuals and they are anxious to get away from the idea that procedures take precedence over a mother's wishes.
You may however, want to ask specific questions to reassure yourself that you will be welcome to express your preferences.