Choosing a Birthing Option

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Norton Healthcare offers a full range of childbirth options designed to give you the best experience that’s right for you and your baby.

Most babies are born via vaginal birth, which presents mothers-to-be with many choices in planning their delivery experience. In some cases, a cesarean section (C-section) may be required for the safety of mom and baby. Regardless of which method you and your provider determine is best, your preferences are important every step of the way.


You have many details 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.

Although there are too many variables to decide precisely how labor and delivery will happen, a birth plan will serve as a guide, making the process as stress-free and joy-filled as possible.

Delivery Options

You have a lot of options when choosing how you’d like to give birth. That’s because Norton Healthcare is committed to meeting the unique needs of all expectant mothers.


Much like a coach, a doula assists a woman before, during and shortly after childbirth. Doulas are hired by the family and are considered a guest in the delivery room.


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 women to deliver with minimal discomfort and limited side effects.

Labor Tub

You can labor in warm water to lower stress and pain in Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital’s labor tub.


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 help deliver your baby.

Natural Birth

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

Nitrous Oxide Labor

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

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)

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

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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