Forget the crazy movie montages about giving birth at home—it’s actually quite easy in today’s modern society. Modern-day midwives will arrive at your home equipped with oxygen, IVs, and other items necessary to aid your birth—they bring the hospital to you! Home births have enjoyed a resurgence of popularity over the past few decades. Many women are choosing to give birth in an environment where they are both comfortable and in control. In fact, home births are still the norm for the global community of women!
Is Home Birth for Me?
Birthing at home may not be an option for all expecting mothers. Generally speaking, home births should only be considered for mothers in excellent health whose pregnancies are considered low-risk. Women having multiples or giving birth over the age of 40 often face the risk of complications, and may want to discuss their options with their healthcare professional. However, if you’re confident in your ability to give birth and want to really create a memorable birth experience, then home birth is for you!
Home births are not a safe option for those with preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. These conditions as well as others may lead to complications during labor and delivery requiring medical interventions. Additionally, mothers diagnosed with preeclampsia should always deliver in a hospital due to complications that may arise.
Advantages of Home Births
- You have control over your environment: you can blare music, dim lights, burn your favorite candles—basically create whatever birth environment you want without any restrictions.
- You can move freely as well as eat or drink throughout labor.
- You can film or photograph the entire process.
- You can work with a midwife and/or a doula.
- You can avoid unnecessary medical interventions.
- You can invite whomever you wish to attend the birth instead of being limited to by hospital regulations.
- You can immediately bond with your baby through skin-to-skin contact and/or by breastfeeding
Disadvantages of Home Births
- If complications arise requiring surgical intervention, transport to the hospital must occur.
- Many insurance companies will not cover the costs of midwives and/or doulas. Therefore, having these healthcare professionals assist with your birth may be an out-of-pocket expense.
- Pain interventions are less likely to be available during a home birth.
Midwives and Home Births
Midwives are professionals trained in delivering babies. They may be additionally certified as nurses; some doctors have even earned their midwifery credentials! As a profession, midwives strongly believe in a woman’s ability to deliver a baby naturally. They believe in minimal interventions and are trained in natural ways to lessen pain including massage, homeopathic remedies, visualization, and even acupuncture. Midwives are licensed professions, and see their clients just as a doctor would. They will arrive at your home with supplies, and stay throughout the birth and delivery. If at any point they notice a situation requiring medical invention, they will help you travel to the hospital. While many hospitals welcome midwives, some restrict their access and they may not be able to stay with you in the hospital. It’s always a good idea to investigate your local hospitals’ policies on midwives.
Home births can be a wonderful, empowering experience—however, both partners should be on board with the decision to deliver at home. A woman in labor will need the support of her birth partner throughout the labor and delivery process. Choosing a midwife is an important aspect of a successful home birth experience. Plan ahead and interview several in order to find the one that best meshes with your birth philosophy. And keep in mind that life can be unexpected: prepare for the best, but consider the worst. Create a Birth Plan B in case a home birth turns into a hospital birth; being prepared will allow you to still enjoy the process!