Birthing Options

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What could be more natural, right?

There are many options to consider when deciding how to deliver your baby, and having a birth plan can help make sure everyone knows what you want to happen.

Think through the details. Will you want to avoid anesthetics completely? Do you want to consider them at a certain point if pain requires? Do you want to try water labor, epidural or nitrous oxide?

Start by writing down how you imagine the birth going and include as many thoughts and plans as you can think of. This will give you a starting point that you can then prioritize, strike out ideas and categorize thoughts.

It will also give you a framework for discussions with your health care provider — prompting questions, challenging assumptions and generally making you better informed about your options, what to expect and when to expect it.

Things don’t always follow the plan, so be flexible.

Include in your birth plan the classes you want to take, any questions about breastfeeding, whether you want to discuss cord blood storage, any concerns around substance abuse and a checklist of what to take to the hospital.

Nitrous Oxide Labor

Commonly used for births during the 1800s until the invention of alternative pain medications and epidural, nitrous oxide is safe and easy to use.


In the U.S., the first licensed midwives date back to the early 1700s. Midwives who practice in the medical setting are certified nurse midwives (CNMs). They are highly trained, board-certified nurse practitioners who can deliver your baby.

Vaginal Virth After Cesarean (VBAC)

The American Pregnancy Association says roughly 3 to 4 out of 5 women can successfully give birth vaginally after a C-section. A Norton Healthcare doctor can work with you to achieve your goal.

Water Labor

You can labor in warm water to lower stress and help with pain management at Norton Hospital and Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital.


The most popular form of pain relief during labor is anesthesia commonly referred to as an epidural. It is administered with a needle into the epidural space of the spinal cord. Medication blocks the nerves from feeling pain, allowing most patients to deliver with minimal discomfort and limited side effects.

Natural Birth

This is a labor and delivery with minimal medical and technological intervention. It usually involves special breathing and relaxation techniques for pain relief. A natural birth is truly definedby each woman’s preference. Many will choose to use nitrous oxide or spend time in a labor tub to help soothe labor pains.

What to Expect from Norton Women’s Care

More mothers in Louisville and Southern Indiana choose to deliver their babies at Norton Hospital or Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital than with any other hospital system in the area.

We deliver more than 8,000 babies a year. We’re close to you with more than 90 providers at more than 25 locations around Louisville and Southern Indiana. Choosing Norton Women’s Care gives you many options for how delivery day could go — all with the confidence of knowing that our obstetrics and pediatric specialists are there to help. With Norton Women’s Care you’ll find:

  • The birth experience you want. You can choose natural childbirth, a midwife, labor tub, nitrous oxide and other birthing options. We’ll recommend a C-section (cesarean section) or induced labor only if it’s medically necessary.
  • Preparation. Our specialists offer the support you need, including free Lamaze and other childbirth classesnew parent classesbreastfeeding supportchild safety classes and more.
  • Confidence and quality in care. Norton Women’s Care has been recognized as High Performing — the highest rating available — for maternity care with fewer complications and C-sections, plus breastfeeding support and other benefits.
  • The highest level (Level IV) neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Louisville and Southern Indiana at Norton Children’s Hospital, and a sophisticated Level III NICU at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital.
  • Around-the-clock OB/GYN care at Norton Hospital and Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital emergency departments.
  • Board-certified maternal-fetal medicine specialists who can help guide you through a high-risk pregnancy, from preexisting diabetes to a fetal echocardiogram to diagnose a congenital heart defect before a baby is born.
  • Convenient access to your medical record. Communicate with your health care provider, get lab results, renew prescriptions and more through your free MyNortonChart account.

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