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Weighing the Options of How to Deliver
By Dr. Alan Greene
A long-standing relationship of trust and confidence in the people who will be helping deliver her baby is ideal for every pregnant woman. Many women will want to rely on the doctor, usually an obstetrician/gynecologist, who has been their physician in the past. Other women will de­cide to form new relationships with a doctor, midwife, or alternative delivery coaches early in the pregnancy, and also recruit friends and relatives to be on their “team” during childbirth.

Finding the person who will deliver your baby and building your delivery room team is a first step. The next is deciding how you want to make your childbirth and delivery greener. So my advice is that well in advance of your due date, you’ll surely want to talk to your doctor or health care providers and write down your desires and decisions in a birth plan.

A birth plan (see page 81) gives you the opportunity to think about and express your de­sires for having a green delivery, addressing certain specific green elements and needs. It is important to remember that, re­gardless of the specifics of any birth plan, the outcome we most want is a healthy baby and a healthy mother. These considerations trump all others; always keeping them foremost, we want to find ways to be kind to the planet that our baby will inherit from us.

As a pediatrician working in home and hospital settings, I appreciate and am immensely grateful for the medical safety net of twenty-first-century bioscience. Many new, innovative procedures and cutting-edge technological resources can help babies during delivery, even those who are premature or born with dramatic problems that require quick intervention. Keeping tiny, low-weight, vulnerable babies alive and bringing them into normal maturity is one of the great accomplishments of modern medicine.

What I’m suggesting now, by adding the green baby perspective, is that we attempt to achieve this healthy delivery while minimizing any potential toxic exposures to the baby or the environment, reducing waste, and harmonizing a healthy baby with a healthy planet.

Choosing an Obstetrician

About eight women in ten will choose an obstetrician to manage their care during pregnancy.1 I know how valuable it can be for an expectant mother to have a good relationship with an ob/gyn who becomes a friend and ally during the nine months prior to childbirth and of course at the time of the delivery itself.

Recommendations are valuable in finding a health care provider, but the person who is best for one expectant couple may not necessarily be best for another. That’s why I recommend that you have a sit-down talk with either your regular doctor or a new one whom you feel is most likely to be best for you now. It’s important to get a feel for his or her personality and attitude.

During this interview process, show the provider your birth plan (de­tailed later in this chapter) and watch his or her reaction. You may also want to mention how having a baby has made you even more concerned about the environment and determined about doing things in an eco-friendly way. Is this a person who is excited about the ability of parents to make their own nonmedical decisions? Is this someone who respects your needs and desires as a person who is sensitive to the needs of your baby and our planet? Ask your provider if he or she has any suggestions for having a greener delivery. Whatever discussion follows will give you a lot of information. There are many practitioners out there who will create the kind of en­vironment for your delivery that gives you comfort and happiness.

Learn about how a Doula or a Midwife can assist in your birthing process.


Health Care Providers and Facilities

For further information about obstetric health care providers and birth centers, contact the following organizations:

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street, S.W.
P.O. Box 96920
Washington, D.C. more

1. March of Dimes. “Choosing a Prenatal Care Provider.” Pregnancy and Newborn Health Education Center. 2007 .

2. Scott, K. D., Berkowitz, G., and Klaus, M. “A Comparison of Intermittent and Continuous Support During Labor: A Meta-Analysis.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, May 1999, 180, pp. 1054–

Klaus, M. H., Kennell, J. H., and Klaus, P. H. The Doula Book: How a Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth. (2nd ed.) New York: Perseus Books Group, 2002.

3. Martin, J., and others. “Births: Final Data for 2004.” National Vital Statistics Report, 2006, 55(12). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. .


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