Best place in the world for birthingJust as there is no perfect way to give birth, so too is there no perfect place in the world to give birth.  

If all were proceeding normally I would want care from a well-trained midwife.  One of the best I ever worked with came from Lithuania: her knowledge of evidence -based obstetric care would rival the best OB-GYN in the world. Most importantly, she acknowledged when complications were developing and wouldn’t hesitate to call an obstetrician.  

I would also want a place that uses minimal intervention in birth. And then only when essential.

 Intervention rates in the USA are sky high compared to other developed countries, and Canada’s rates lie part way between the USA and the UK.  

If my baby needed neonatal intensive care I would choose Estonia’s family-centred neonatal intensive care units.In Estonia, my partner and I could stay together with our newborn and provide as much care for the baby 24/7 as possible, with the assistance of highly-skilled neonatologists, nurses and psychologists to help us.

I would want to give birth in a Baby Friendly Hospital 

Baby friendly hospitals are certified according to the WHO/UNICEF Baby Friendly initiative criteria – so that I could get the most optimal support for breastfeeding.  There are over 20,000 accredited Baby Friendly Hospitals in the world, but only a handful or two in Canada and a few more in the USA.  

I would also want to give birth in a place that was emotionally supportive, family-centred, and genuinely caring for not only my and my baby’s medical needs but also my social needs (for support from my partner/ family) as well as my psychological needs for love, information, and help in the first few hours, days and months after giving birth.   The Republic of Moldova is committed to providing a perinatal psychologist in every maternity care centre in the country:  perhaps this could be the best place in which to give birth.

I have worked in about 30 countries across the globe.  

Do all these optimal types of care exist anywhere in the world in one place?  Probably, but I don’t know where yet…..
For more information about all these ideas see:  ‘Family-Centred Perinatal Care: Improving Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum Care’ by Beverley Chalmers (DSc (Med); PhD) published by Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK), 2017.

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This article is written by Beverly Chalmers