Choosing Where Your Baby Will Be Born


baby deliveryWhere you have your baby, and with whom by your side (or at your feet), is a decision that can be explored before you even find out you are pregnant. In fact, I recommend it!

One of the first and easiest questions in this search may be, “Where do I want to have my baby?” Your options are at a hospital, in a birthing center, or inside the comforts of your home. For some, that decision is easy, and certainly no one location is right for everyone. It’s no surprise that fear can drive that decision, and I mean that from all perspectives. Some moms, and partners, are afraid to be far from a hospital in the case of an emergency involving mom and/or baby, while families choosing to birth at home may fear being pushed into procedures, interventions or procedures they are wanting to avoid unless absolutely necessary.

In the Des Moines area, birth place options include…

Hospitals: Make sure to check with providers ahead of time for which locations they deliver at.

Iowa Methodist – downtown
**Midwife Services of UnityPoint Health
Methodist West
Lutheran Hospital
Mercy Hospital – downtown
Mercy West
**Lori Steinmann and Lacy Lundgren (Steinmann Family Health) – Midwives
(Mary Greeley in Ames)

Birthing Centers:

Willowsong Midwifery Care (733 19th Street, Des Moines)

Homebirth Midwives:

Healing Hands Women and Children Health Clinic – Sheryl Puderbaugh, CNM
Midwife and Doula Services – Dana Ericson, CNM
Willowsong Midwifery Care – Cosette Boone, CNM, and Kari Ward, DNP/CNM

Prior to conception is a great time to interview different providers and set up your annual visits and exams with them to establish a relationship and get some preconception advice.

Things to consider may be what area of town you would prefer to deliver in and what amenities are important; what is the provider’s standard of care and what are your expectations/desires; do you want just women to attend your birth and perform exams or are you comfortable with males as well; what is your insurance contribution; how much time and information do you want dedicated to prenatal appointments; how many practitioners are in a group; etc.

Next month I will help you explore different questions you can ask providers to help further guide your decisions.

Remember… this is YOUR body… YOUR baby… YOUR birth…. Know your options and make an informed decision.


  1. Lori Steinmann was my midwife and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I wish I had thought of using a midwife with my first. I just went with the norm and didn’t really think of checking anything else out.

  2. Another consideration might be, which location can provide an NICU just in case. Although most don’t expect to use the services, being a NICU nurse, proximity to a NICU can be vital in some instances.

  3. Thank you, Tammy, for this great, comprehensive post! I agree with you that it is never too early to explore your options. Once you find out you are pregnant, you want to scheduled your first appointment as soon as possible, and it’s helpful to have most of the research done.

    As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I called Willowsong and the Methodist Midwives. My main questions were about water birth options and how open they were to giving birth in an upright position.

    The Willowsong birth center was not going to be built in time for me, and I personally did not feel comfortable with a home birth, so my husband and I decided on the Midwife Services of UnityPoint Health (they deliver at Methodist Hospital downtown, as you pointed out above). I can’t fully express how much I enjoyed them. I felt so empowered during my labor and delivery, and really appreciated the emotional care I received the entire way through. I plan to use them again when we have our next child!

  4. Wherever you give birth, I highly recommend finding a doula that you and your partner trust and feel comfortable with. I didn’t have one with my first child, but I did with my last three babies. It made a huge difference–I felt calmer and more confident with a doula by my side, and my husband was able to be more involved in the labor and birth because the doula was showing him how to best support me through each stage. They’re not just for natural birth mamas either. I chose an epidural for my last delivery, and my doula was very supportive and non-judgmental.

  5. We absolutely LOVED our experience at Mercy (Downtown). Our room was bigger than a hotel room and we had a double bed which was so nice! My husband, specifically, appreciated that! 🙂 The nurses were amazing and even the food was good! 😉 Love our experience there and if we are blessed to have another baby far, far, far in the future, we will go there again!

  6. Thanks for sharing ladies! It is so great to hear from different mamas and how unique each family choice is! And Heidi, I HIGHLY recommend doulas as well…more information on who to consider having at your birth next month!


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