We all know the conventional way to give birth is at the hospital. But many mothers actually tend to move away from this typical way of childbirth and choose to give birth in the comfort of their own homes instead.
There are many pros and cons of at home childbirth and they are things you may want to consider before making this important decision.
Mothers have started giving birth to their child long before there were hospitals to deliver in. It’s been an option for a long time coming, and there has been a lesson or two learned from the generations of experience. In fact, according to ACOG, approximately 35,000 births per year occur in the home in the United States.
It’s a no brainer why many pregnant women prefer to deliver their child in their own homes. You’re able to be in a comfortable and familiar location, you can have your loved ones around you, and you won’t be over suffocated with nurses and hospital equipment, which makes for a cozier and more enjoyable experience.
A home birth is better for expectant mothers who have low risk factors and have taken at-home birth classes. However there are many home birth benefits and risks that play an important role in choosing if this is the right fit for you.
Benefits of Home Birth
Planning to give birth at home gives you more one-on-one treatment from your doctor, midwife, or healthcare provider. During labour at home, your healthcare provider will have more time to check your temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and your baby’s heart rate more periodically.
You will also have the freedom to choose what kind of medical treatment you get during labour. You have the option to receive or not receive medical intervention, such as pain medication or labour induction.
A lot of mothers also have a dislike for hospitals and therefore desire to be at home to experience this milestone. Giving birth in a comfortable place is extremely important for pregnant women to feel safe. Being at home also gives families the ability to have many people present at the birth, whereas hospitals normally have a capacity limit in each room.
Some other pros of having a home birth include:
- Freedom in the birthing process
- Ability to make more decisions
- Concerns related to culture and religion
- Lower costs associated as opposed to hospital births
- Lack of access to transportation
- Lower chances of maternal infections
- More privacy in the comfort of your own home
Risks of Home Birth
Although an at home birth seems like the perfect choice, it’s not the best path to take for all pregnant women. Every woman has a different experience and different circumstances will change the birth options you should consider.
Even though you may have a solid plan for your at-home birth, sometimes things don’t go according to plan and you’ll have to rush to the hospital in case of an unfortunate emergency. The chance of you needing to go to a hospital (especially if it’s your first home birth) is actually high. This serves to be a risk because of the small limit of time you’ll have to transport to the nearest hospital.
Women who deliver at home are also at risk of experiencing problems like postpartum hemorrhage and prolonged labour. Given these challenges, it’s also harder to control the pain that you may undergo during labour at home.
There may be situations in which home births are in fact not recommended to some women. This would apply if you are pregnant with multiple babies, if your infant is not in a position that allows for headfirst delivery, and if you’ve had to resort to a C-section in the past.
Some other cons of having a home birth include:
- May have to transport to a hospital during labour
- Less options when it comes to pain control
- Increased risk of perinatal harms and even perinatal death
- Some insurance plans will not cover costs
- Difficult to find at-home practitioner to fit your needs
Planning A Home Birth
After assessing the benefits and risks that come along with an at-home birth and speaking to a healthcare professional, you can have a better mindset when making a decision. If you decide that a home birth is the right fit for you and your baby, there are many things you can do to prepare for labour.
Find a practitioner for a home birth: Find a certified nurse or midwife who meets specific standards so that you know you’re in the best possible care. Make sure they have access to doctor consultations in case you may need to collaborate with a hospital during labour or in the future.
Create a birth plan: Figure out some of the logistics for when you start going into labour at home. Think about what you’re going to do to cope with the pain and where exactly in your home you would like to give birth. Discuss your birthing plan with your doctor to see what equipment or supplies you need in advance.
Prepare for hospital birth: In the case that you need to transport to a hospital during labour, make sure you have a plan set out to make the transition as quick and smooth as possible. This is why it is very important for your practitioner to have relations with other doctors at the hospital. Preparation for this would include having access to transportation and knowing where your hospital destination is.
Be aware of the risks that are associated with different types of births to make the right decision for you. As long as you make an informed decision based on professional advice and directions, you’re birth will be a time that you’ll remember forever.