Home Births May Not be for Everyone, but the Idea Might be Better Than You Think

Home births are becoming more common, despite the fact that the vast majority of babies in the US are still born in hospitals. Why are more women choosing to have their babies at home these days?

Homebirth gives you much more control over your birth experience, and that’s what attracts people to it. Still, there is quite a bit of fear and misconception that surrounds this topic.

Few ladies who have experienced having a baby at home would have it any other way. Many would agree, “Once you go home, you never go back!”

Nevertheless, there are lots of women who would never even think about it- and that’s fine. There are many reasons not to have your baby at home, depending on what your philosophy of birth is. Homebirth is definitely not for everyone.

Why is Homebirth Appealing?

• You have complete control over your birth environment- you can birth how you want, where you want, in whatever position you want, etc…

• You can wear whatever you want, or nothing at all

• You are in the place that’s most comfortable to you

• Your baby doesn’t get separated from you after the birth for procedures

home birth

• No time limits are placed on your labor

• You can eat and drink during labor

• More personalized care

• No unnecessary medical intervention

• Less pain- sound weird? The more comfortable and relaxed you are in labor, the less pain and smoother labor you’ll have. Naturally, home provides this type of environment.

Things to consider before you decide to have your baby at home

• Cost
Home births cost much less than hospital births, but most insurance companies will only pay for births in the hospital.

• How far you are from a hospital
It’s important to realize that, while usually there aren't complications, it’s still possible that you could have to transfer to the hospital during labor. If a transfer becomes necessary, it may need to be done quickly.

• Choice of provider
Usually, there isn’t as big a selection of homebirth midwives as there are hospital providers. In some areas, there are only a couple of midwives who attend births at home, so your choices are more limited.

• Your health condition
If you have a high risk pregnancy, or your baby is premature, homebirth isn’t a good option. Competent midwives will have their patients’ care transferred to an obstetrician before the end of pregnancy if there are likely to be complications at birth.

• Pain relief
If you have a homebirth, you will not be able to have any medical pain relief. There are several natural pain relief options you can use though.

• People to take care of you and baby
At the hospital, you have nurses to take care of you and help you with the baby. At home, you have to make sure you’ve lined someone up to help you after the birth.

• Extra responsibility
You are responsible for getting your home ready for your birth, and making sure you have someone to take care of you for a few days after your baby is born.

Aren’t Home Births Dangerous?!

I’d say this is the biggest objection to out of hospital birth. Believe it or not, there is quite a bit of research that shows the contrary. Homebirths for healthy, low risk pregnancies, attended by experienced midwives, are just as safe as hospital births. In some cases, it may even be safer due to the lack of unnecessary intervention.

It’s interesting to note that the countries where midwifery care is still the norm and home births are common have much better outcomes for moms and babies than we have in the US. Like I said, they are not for everyone, but they aren’t as outrageous as some people think.

Read more about home birth safety

A peek into homebirth

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