96% of pregnant people still planning hospital births despite pandemic

"I considered the home birth for a second, but then realized that would be nearly impossible with my circumstances," Sarah tells Motherly.

96% of pregnant people still planning hospital births despite pandemic

The pandemic changed the way labor and delivery units operate, and many speculated this would discourage pregnant people from giving birth in hospitals. Recently, multiple news reports speculated that based on an increased number of calls to midwives and birthing centers, more pregnant people would be choosing out of hospital births, but millennial mothers are telling us exactly the opposite.

Our third annual State of Motherhood survey finds 96% of pregnant millennial mothers still plan to give birth in a hospital, not at home, despite concerns about COVID-19.

The confidence in the hospital birth experience may come as a shock after weeks of headlines declaring that calls to midwives are way up, and as celebrity mama Bekah Martinez plans her home birth out loud on Instagram, but for many mothers, the hospital is still where they plan to meet their child.


Sarah A. is one of those mothers. Like 77% of the mothers in our survey, Sarah already had an older child at home when she had to decide whether to give birth in the hospital or at her home in Miami, Florida. As she neared her due date in early May, Sarah carefully weighed the options as the pandemic forced many maternity wards to implement restrictions on visitors and stories of pregnant people contracting the virus made the news.

"I considered the home birth for a second, but then realized that would be nearly impossible with my circumstances," Sarah tells Motherly. Like more than a third of American mothers, Sarah has had a C-section. It happened 10 years ago, when she welcomed her daughter.

"Even though I have no complications of pregnancy, I already had a previous C-section and should not risk it by doing a home birth," Sarah tells Motherly. "I have confidence that the doctors, nurses and staff in the hospital are and will do everything they can to help."

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agrees with Sarah here. ACOG has stated that "attempting a vaginal birth after Cesarean at home is especially dangerous because if the uterus ruptures during labor, both the mother and baby face an emergency situation with potentially catastrophic consequences, including death. Unless a woman is in a hospital, an accredited freestanding birthing center, or a birthing center within a hospital complex, with physicians ready to intervene quickly if necessary, she puts herself and her baby's health and life at unnecessary risk."

Vaginal births after a Cesarean section (VBACs) are possible for many pregnant people, but many health care providers suggest that VBACs happen in hospitals to prevent having to transport a laboring mother to the hospital if the worst-case scenario should occur.

Diana Spalding is a certified nurse-midwife and the founder of Gathered Birth. She is also Motherly's Digital Education Editor and wrote the book, The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama.

"Home births are a wonderful option for women with low-risk pregnancies, who want to have low intervention births in the comfort of their own home," says Spalding. "ACOG [the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists] states that while they believe hospitals and in-hospital birthing centers to be the safest place to have a baby, women should be supported when they choose home birth in the presence of [a qualified midwife]. If you are considering a home birth, a bit of research is involved. Reach out to local home birth midwives to have in-depth conversations about your specific scenario. And don't forget to contact your insurance company—it's not always covered."

For Sarah, the higher risk factors in her pregnancy meant it just wasn't a fit. The idea of having to get EMTs and ER staff involved in her delivery seemed riskier than just delivering in the hospital in the first place.

"I did not want to go to an emergency room to potentially be close to patients that might have COVID-19. We are lucky that the hospital is well prepared," she tells Motherly. "The Friday before my delivery, my husband and I were tested for COVID-19 to minimize exposure, and I am fortunate enough to have him there with me the whole hospital stay."

Because C-section rates are so high in the U.S., it makes sense that so many of our surveyed mothers are not seeking a home birth for reasons similar to Sarah's, but home birth is still attractive to some mothers.

Reality TV star turned influencer Becka Martinez has been very open about her first birth experience, which happened in a birthing center, and now, 16 months after welcoming her first daughter, she's planning her pandemic home birth.

"With my first daughter Ruth, we had her at a birth center," she explained on Us Weekly's "Here for the Right Reasons" podcast. "This time, [my boyfriend, Grayston Leonard, and I] decided we were going to do a home birth with midwives. So that was already the plan. Now with quarantine and COVID-19, it's kind of nice that I don't have to be at the hospital."

For Martinez, a home birth makes perfect sense for her low-risk pregnancy. She's technically full-term now, which means that her home birth is likely happening very soon, and we're excited for her and hope she has a beautiful experience.

But a hospital birth can be beautiful, too, as Sarah A. found out. We caught up with her after her hospital birth in Miami to find out how she was feeling about giving birth during a pandemic. She says everything went smoothly and she is recovering from the C-section nicely.

Her advice for fellow pregnant people is simple: "If you have the luxury of a comfortable home birth with experts and your family during these times, that is great. However, those who are unable to have a home birth should still feel confident in the staff of the hospitals. It is scary not having your significant other or any visitors allowed while giving birth, but each person must do what's right for their families. Bringing a life to this world is still a celebration even in times of COVID-19."

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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