I'm researching midwives/birthing centers/hospitals in our area, and there seem to be a number of good options. In particular I've found a midwife who is highly praised for her homebirths on MDC, who also does hospital births. She seems like a good fit for us since a homebirth isn't a good option for us.
The only thing is, the hospital she works out of is a good half hour drive from us, more if there's traffic. Is that too far? I'm just not sure what a reasonable distance is. I'm used to being within walking distance of everything!
It depends on what you're comfortable with. Is it just the midwife who's that far away, or is the hospital at that distance too? For me, my doctor and hospital are about a 20 minute drive with no traffic, about 35 minutes if the roads are backed up. And I'm okay with that. I don't think yours is unreasonably far away.
We're 45 minutes from our hospital without traffic. Now the chances of traffic are slim 'cause most of the drive is rural - but it's still a solid 45 minutes.
Many of my patients are up to 90 minutes away---geography is rural and moutainous. It is uncommon to have such an emergency that you can't get to the hospital in time---odds of a 2 hour labor is slim! 30 minutes here is nothing.
The only other time we've been to the hospital is for the ER, and that's a 10 minute walk from here. But I'm pretty sure I don't want to have a baby at that hospital... it's only redeeming quality is that it's nearby.
Almost 4 weeks ago, I ended up with a non-emergency homebirth transfer to a hospital that was 1 1/2 hours away. I was laying in the back of our car pushing the whole way (baby wasn't descending). His heart tones were great the whole time, but if they hadn't been, we would have gone to a hospital that is 5 minutes away, but knowing this hospital, they would have done a c-section immediately. As it were, the amazing hospital I went to supported me to be able to have a vaginal birth! I guess what I'm saying is that all the pain & uncomfortableness of being in the car during labor was SO worth it to have a supportive birth team, so I say to go for it!
I would say whatever you are comfortable with. Both of my kids were born at a hospital about 30 mins away, my son was breech and a booked c section, but I went into labor before it was booked. When we got to the hospital I was already 10cms and they rushed the surgeon in. My daughter was supposed to be a follow up c section, but I went into labor, when we got to the hospital I was 8 cms, so she ended up being a VBAC with no drugs :)
My doctor, knowing my history with very fast labor, was still very comfortable with me travelling the 30 mins to the hospital I was most comfortable with.
Is this your first pregnancy? I'd guess that most (not all) women would have a long enough labor with a 1st baby that they would have enough time to get to the hospital. However, if you have had babies before and have a history of super-fast labors then perhaps you might worry about the distance.
I think it has a lot to do with your won comfort level. For me, the hospital is 20 min away, but easily double that in traffic. I knew I wanted to do most of my laboring at home, so the only part that felt tricky to me was figuring out how long to wait until going to the hospital, so that I wasn't there too soon, but also so that I wouldn't have to do the drive in the midst of transition or while pushing.
I actually WAS starting to go into transition during the drive and it was very uncomfortable, (and I threw up repeatedly as soon as I arrived at the hospital- all over the hall, all over the triage room, everything!) but I felt good about the timing- enough time to get settled and get in the tub, but not too much time. I also had a doula with me who helped me think it through and it was nice to have her expertise.
We lived about 40 minutes away from the hospital when DD was born. I went into labor in the wee hours of the morning, so there was no traffic. We also left way too early (looking back). My water hadn't even broken. We definitely had plenty of time.
We lived 1.5hrs away from the hospital I delivered my little one's at. I don't think that is unreasonable.
To me it doesn't sound bad, but I live in a rural area and so EVERYWHERE with a hospital is a 30 minute drive. I did express some concern about the 45 minute drive to the hospital I will be delivering at, and the doctor said it wouldn't be an issue, since it is my first.