Why do I think a homebirth is so much better than a hospital birth?
I’ve experienced a planned hospital birth, a planned homebirth that ended with an induced hospital birth (and a month-early preemie) because of pre-eclampsia, and two homebirths. I am a big proponent of giving birth at home because of these experiences. The hospital births did not end up being horrible, and the nurses and doctors were (mostly) good people, yet after the homebirth, I can’t imagine doing it any other way.
One major reason is that while a male OB/GYN may be technically proficient in his field, the fact that he hasn’t given birth, and can’t ever give birth, gives the midwife and doula a huge advantage in terms of actually relating to and understanding birth from a woman’s perspective.
35 Reasons to Give Birth at Home:
In no particular order-
- Homebirth is safer – Your house is a lot less likely to be a source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and it’s not full of sick people.
- Your chances are getting a C-section are reduced with a homebirth.
- It’s cheaper – A midwife’s fee is much less costly than a hospital stay.
- You don’t have to go anywhere.
- The food is way better at home. Organic food? Vegan? No problem.
- You don’t have to have strangers at your birth (unless you want to).
- Your home is always more comfortable than any hospital room.
- Everything you need is there.
- You can be as green as you want. Hospitals aren’t known for natural soaps, cleaners, or recycled-content anything.
- You control the environment at home. If you want to dim all the lights or open a window, you just do it.
- Birth is a sacred experience. What better setting could there be?
- It’s so much quieter at home. There are no cabinets full of blinky lights, fans, and humming devices. Well, maybe some of you have that… But probably not in your bedroom. And you can power them down if you want.
- Homebirth is just more fun!
- Your older kids can be a part of the birth.
- Your pets can attend. Seriously. Pets are family, too.
- Giving birth at home is an exceptionally empowering experience. We can take back birth from The Man.
- No silly hospital gown is necessary at home. Wear whatever you want, or wear nothing.
- You don’t need an ID bracelet for the mother or the baby when you birth at home.
- You can choose the room for your birth, or change rooms in the middle. Not an option at the hospital.
- Giving birth outside is an option with a homebirth. Our first homebirth was in our front yard, in a birthing tub, and our second in a tipi in our yard. It’s probably not an possibility for most city dwellers, but our second homebirth was just on the other side of the fence from a public school (and recess ended just as active labor came on…)
- No paperwork is necessary at your homebirth.
- You can cut the umbilical cord when you are good and ready. The speed at which they want to snip our newborn’s lifeline is unbelievable.
- No gadgetry on the mother: A homebirth midwife doesn’t require you to wear a monitor or get an IV started “just in case”.
- You don’t have to sign out when you leave your house.
- Your family doesn’t have to negotiate a giant parking lot and endless hallways to visit you.
- A heating pad does not cost $50 to use.
- You can have as much sage, incense, candles, whatever, as you like.
- There is no pressure to circumcize, vaccinate, or apply for a Social Security number for your baby right after a homebirth.
- You don’t end up with a “gift bag” (marketing samples) from big corporate America, full of disposable diapers, formula, baby wipes, shampoo, soaps, and brand propaganda.
- Your baby’s placenta does not become a biohazard. We left our placenta at the hospital, but we planned to bury it, so I drove back, all bleary-eyed, and asked for it. They weren’t going to give it to me, even though we had our name on it in the fridge (just like lunch…) We had to call the OB and have her sign off on the release, and then I had to sign about four different forms, and then they finally gave it to me in a bag with “Biohazard” all over it. Sheesh.
- The dad has a bed at home. Sleeping on a foldout cot next to the hospital bed sucks.
- Nobody comes in, wakes you up, and checks your vitals every half hour at home.
- You can stream the live video of the birth to all your friends (Pay-per-view homebirths?) OK, I’m kidding.
- Having a homebirth is different. Different is cool.
- The hospital is open 24 hours, so if you need it, it will be there.
I know that it isn’t for everyone, but if you feel at all drawn to homebirth, I say “Go for it – it’s not as mysterious as it sounds.” It’s the way women have always given birth. Only recently has birth become the domain of the doctor and hospital, the insurance company and the pharmacy.
I’ve listed 35 of the reasons that we choose homebirth, but I’d love to be able to change the title to read “75 Reasons…” or “100 Reasons…”, so help me out here by leaving a comment.
If you choose homebirth, what are your reasons?
Related posts about homebirth:
- Labor of Love: Home Birth is a Choice that the AMA Wants to Outlaw
- Why I Hate Dr. Phil: Sensationalizing Home Births
- Labor of Love: 3 Essential Books to Read When Planning a Natural Birth
Jamie Ervin says
What a lovely post and great reasons! I always LOVED the idea of home birth, however I was a super high risk from day one and wasn’t a viable candidate. Given my birth experiences I am glad I didn’t push for a home birth anyway.
I am a proponent for home birth for those who a) want one b) are healthy c) have had healthy pregnancies d) are in a low risk category.
After a VERY rocky/scary first delivery I almost went with a water birth at a birthing center for my second delivery. I found a group that would take me, although they were reluctant. They did have a OB on staff and were next to a hospital for transfer if needed. That delivery was even worse than the first, resulting in major complications for me and baby but we managed to avoid medical intervention. I did need a blood transfusion and my Doc later said I had him scared for the first time in his 20 year career. After two very difficult, long, dangerous deliveries we were scheduled c-sections. No matter how much I wanted an intervention free birth (I have longed to be a mid-wife myself!) I wasn’t about to risk my life or the well being of my babies.
My cousin delivered all four of her boys at home and each experience was wonderful. I have other friends who opted for hospital births, but had very quick, gentle births and would have been great candidates for birthing at home.
When I watch birth shows, my favorites are always home births or midwife assisted birth center/water births, etc… things are so much kinder, gentler and more relaxing (if birth can be relaxing).
1001 petals says
I had a home birth as I had done a tonne of research and knew that was the way to go.
We don’t have to worry about the expenses here in Canada, but one thing I did think you might be able to add to your list is being able to have a ritual birth. I suppose it could be related to having sage, incense, candles, etc. I had planned to have a ritualized birth where I would invoke Yemaya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iemanj%C3%A1). . .it didn’t work out that way as I got way too caught up in the pain much more quickly than I had imagined 🙂 Nonetheless, it wouldn’t have been an option at all otherwise and I hope that next time, now that I basically know what to expect, I can do that.
Hm, you could also add something about how the births tend to be healthier — I read in multiple places that the mortality rate is actually higher in hospital.
Tara Benwell says
I had two hospital births and never considered a home birth. I’m thankful that my children were delivered safely, but it upsets me how many C-sections happen in hospitals in my region. In my “mom group” I think 5 out of 8 of us had C-sections.
For home births you could add no nurses pinching your boobs as if you were a cow.
Sommer-Green and Clean Mom says
First off, I totally love and respect your opinion and posts Derek. However, from MY personal experience I disagree. Had I gone with home birth b/c I believed in it and thought it was the way for me, I would NOT be here nor would my son.
Look, women did do this for centuries and years BUT also state the number of deaths. Also state the birth defects and complications. Women are meant to have children but not all women. Women DO die during child birth.
Doctors are there for a reason. We can diss them. We can bitch and moan and say “natural” is best. However, if you’re in a pinch and want to live and have a healthy child and that is how it happens, you’re pretty thankful for that doctor.
Let me ask you this, is it the childbirth that matters? The hours and it being natural for the the sake of the moms ego and opinion of what will happen and how it will go? OR does it matter more that there is a healthy breathing child and a mom to nurture that child?
A few points from a GreenandCleanMom.org who does believe in sustainability, organic living and being natural to refute a few of your points above…
“The dad has a bed at home. Sleeping on a foldout cot next to the hospital bed sucks.”
-Better then in a bed at home and a wife dead…in my case that could have been. Reality sucks but it is the truth and a slit in in the tummy and the baby coming out that way…I could give a shit less if it was “natural” I’m alive and writing and caring for my kids.
“You can cut the umbilical cord when you are good and ready. The speed at which they want to snip our newborn’s lifeline is unbelievable.”
-Super but what if there isn’t time. What if a doctor or nurse is needed. Burn your candles. Love the idea but when it comes to a life being saved and there not being time to snip when you are ready…what would you choose? Heart rate low? Baby and mommy breathing funny. Shoot, I’m at home. What do I do? Now what are you advocating for?
“Homebirth is just more fun!”
-Love you Derek but I’m a women and nothing about feeling like I was going to shit a child out of my ass was fun. Tell me you are for real?
“It’s cheaper – A midwife’s fee is much less costly than a hospital stay.”
-Cheaper and yes, I would have a baby today. I’ll pay the cost.
“Your chances are getting a C-section are reduced with a homebirth.”
-Disagree. I went from 4-10 in 20 minutes b/c the baby turned and heart rates drop and there were no other options. Don’t glorify home birth it isn’t’ a fashion show or contest. It’s about healthy moms and babies.
“The hospital is open 24 hours, so if you need it, it will be there.”
-Yes, and sometimes it is too late and depends on where you live. Write a post like this, make it seem glamorous, better and special but it only takes a few minutes for something to go wrong.
I respect your opinion and writing but be on the other side of the fence and look at your children? You’ll be thanking the doctors, needles, medicine, staff, hospital, stitches, etc. and while you hold your baby that will be what matters.
Derek Markham says
Thanks for your comments!
There are as many birth experiences as there are people in the world – I just listed the reasons we chose, and will choose, homebirth.
I completely respect all of your experiences. I wouldn’t try to convince a high-risk mother to birth at home, nor would I want to convince anyone to do it because we choose it. Our experience has been, yes, fun (my wife describes it as ecstatic, and she’s chosen to not take pain meds).
Our first planned homebirth ended up with an intervention (early inducement), and I am eternally grateful to have a healthy wife and babe because of medical care.
The option of a C-section is real for a percentage of births, but there is an alarmingly high rate of C-sections at our local hospital – 1/3 of all births there end in surgery. I have a hard time believing that all those were necessary. Sure, some are, but 1/3? And with an estimated 1 in 10 hospital patients acquiring a nosocomial infection (an infection caused by a hospital stay), it might not be as safe as it sounds.
I certainly respect the skills and equipment of modern medicine, and don’t want it to sound like I diss doctors just because… The last time I checked, the statistics about birth were staggeringly in favor of homebirths. I would love to see anything that supported the contrary.
I certainly hope nobody chooses homebirth blindly, especially based on a blog post by a (gasp) man. I hope that those that do are thoroughly educated by their midwife or doula and are sure that’s what they want.
I originally started out to write about unassisted homebirth, but I thought that might be a little out there, so I stuck with homebirth. There are many qualified midwives who are fully educated about the risks, and have the skills to make decisions if a complication arises. I trust that anyone who does choose to birth at home with a midwife is making an informed decision. Ina May Gaskin and Laura Shanley both have excellent books about homebirths and unassisted births.
And we do know some people who lost their baby during birth through medical incompetence, so there are no guarantees.
I’m glad you and your children are alive and healthy, and respect your opinions. I didn’t mean to sound like a know-it-all, I just hear so much fear-based reasoning surrounding childbirth and homebirth that I thought to counter it with a little positive spin.
The main reason a homebirth is overwhelmingly safer than a hospital birth is that anyone who is at-risk of any complications isn’t allowed to give birth at home and has to go to a hospital. That takes care of almost all the women who, in the olden days, would have died in childbirth or would have had stillborn babies.
Excellent list and excellent discussion! One thing I would add to your list that women tend to feel safer and more comfortable “psychologically” at home. Because birth is orchestrated by hormones, fear and anxiety can effectively stop or disrupt labor. The cold, sterile, unfamiliar environment of the hospital doesn’t generally help women to feel relaxed and allow the endorphins and oxytocin to flow freely. At home, women are in familiar surroundings and their labors tend to be more effective.
That being said, if a woman is afraid to give birth at home, for whatever reason, the fear will detriment to her labor and she will likely transfer.
Another big plus with homebirth is that the baby is almost never taken out of mom’s arms. As a doula, I have witnessed baby after baby, healthy and pink, taken from their mother’s arms in the first hour and often the first minutes after birth. This is usually done because the staff needs to get through a ‘to-do’ list of procedures on the baby; weigh, measure, poke, band, etc. They can’t leave the delivery room until this is done and they don’t have time to devote to every family. At home, your midwife is your own and she isn’t taking care five other women at the same time. Exams aren’t rushed and are done right next to mom or in her arms.
Life does not offer guarantees, but the statistics have shown that home birth and hospital birth are both safe the majority of the time. Women’s instincts about the place of birth need to be trusted.
This is excellent! 🙂
I chose to birth at home because I did not want to undergo another unnecessary cesarean. Yep, I was a VBAC mom. 🙂 Obstetricians told me that I would kill my baby. Every appointment was a stressful, emotional, horrid mess. Nobody seemed to believe in my body’s ability to give birth. I gave birth at home because I didn’t want to see another one of my babies spend time in the NICU. I gave birth at home because women have been doing it for centuries before me.
I gave birth at home because it was the most gentle, peaceful, and beautiful place I could think of to welcome a new child into the world.
I now help women give birth in their homes. And I love every moment of it.
Andrea in Alaska says
I’m planning my first birth as a home birth come February. I’ve had four friends deliver in the past few months. Two were induced and three were c-sectioned (do the math). I believe that a healthy woman’s body is fully capible of delivering a healthy baby naturally, and in my fifth month of pregnancy, I haven’t so much as walked through a hospital’s doors (and don’t want to unless my midwife insists it’s absolutely necessary). Thanks for this post. It is very encouraging. Honestly, I think I am taking fewer risks than my friends did, but I need to hear things from people like you to reasure me that I’m not crazy!
Sarah Lozanova says
I gave birth two months ago to a beautiful baby girl. I waited too long at home before going to the hospital because my contractions were shorter than the norm. When I was leaving my home, I regretted not planning for a home birth. I found it disruptive to leave and I had to wait for a delivery room at the hospital for about 30 minutes while I was 9 cm dilated.
I was able to have a water birth at the hospital, but birthing tubs are available for rent in many areas.
36. Being able to bathe after giving birth, spare your baby of an unnecessary soapy-water bath, sponge is enough for a newborn.
37. Having homevisits from your midwife to check on you and your baby! You don’t have lo leave the house, pack your older children in snowsuits and drive to the pedriatician office (at least for the first six weeks).
38. less chance of having “babyblues”
I’ll add more when I have more time!
I love your list! We had our first homebirth last October and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I had my son (8 years ago) in a hospital and I must add that the hospital would have to pay ME to have another child there.
–Being able to immediately nurse and bond with your baby without nurses hovering… and with the cord still attached!
–Crawling into your own, comfortable, familiar bed with your family afterward… cuddling up and resting. Purely amazing.
–Not having the option of an epidural, it is amazing at how well a woman can handle the “pain” when there is not the option of pain relief.
–The fun of irritating your in-laws (one of which is a labor and delivery nurse) with your “hippie” choices. Then enjoy basking in their change of opinion when they see the wonderful process (and how safe it is).
Aussie Mum says
Homebirth is indeed not for everyone.
I have given birth in hospital twice, and once at home. Giving birth at home 18 months ago was absolutely wonderful. Giving birth in hospital was very average, instrusive and at times stressful – but I did get two wonderful babies as a result.
For me, a combination of modern antenatal care and homebirth combines the best from the new and the old. I think to have a scan to ensure the placenta is away from the birth canal, and to ensure the pregnancy is low-risk is a desirable precaution before proceeeding with birth at home.
Birth (just like driving a car) is NEVER without risk, regardless of the location, and a qualified, experienced caregiver mitigates a great deal of the potential risk of giving birth at home.
Giving birth in hospital absolutely increases your risk of C-section, infection and non-essential interventions.
Hospitals run well on shifts, policies, schedules etc. and they need to be efficient. Hospitals are limited by their organisation and nature as to how they can cater to a labouring woman. There are only so many tubs, so many rooms, the rooms are only a certain size and so on – and these factors do impact on the way a labouring and birthing woman is “managed”, as well as impacting on her freedom to labour the way that comes naturally to her. So that sounds very earth-mother – but even a veterinarian will tell you that a mother cat is impacted by her physical and emotional environment when she gives birth.
Giving birth is a process not governed by rules, policies, schedules or efficiency. It is not a process that always fits well within an institutional framework. Giving birth is an intimate, personal, physical, emotional process. And the way a woman gives birth to her children stays with her forever. Those experiences form part of her self esteem and her womanhood.
Several studies have shown that planned homebirth attended by a qualified experienced caregiver is as safe or safer than hospital birth for low-risk women.
Thank goodness for hospitals, OBs and operating theatres. But remember the midwifes who not only deliver babies – but who also deliver triumphant, empowered mothers too.
Any chance I can use some of your comments in my “pitch” and/or website? I would be happy to reference you!
I agree with Sommer. If you want to do homebirth that’s fine, but there are risks & due to them, my husband would never let me do homebirth even if I wanted to. His reason? The safety of our child. I’ve been at births & heard from friends that had children where there was NO high-risk pregancy. If these births that I’m talking about were done at home…all those kids would be dead. An ambulance doesn’t get you to the hospital that fast. I know. I use to drive them. Who cares about the food, strangers, or money? Your baby’s safty is the #1 priority.
For my second child my husband & I were in a new town, we had two hospitals to choose from that were next to each other. It was an easy decision. One had no NICU. No way I was risking the 90 seconds it would take just to get to the other hospital if something were to go wrong. If docs are right there, you have a better chance. Yes there are no guarantees, but why risk.
I was extreemly healthy during both my pregnancies: all check ups were excellent, no scares, good readings. When it came time to deliver (I wasn’t enduced), my body would not cooperate halfway through. If it weren’t for the meds and my wonderful doctors (1st time woman w/o kids so she never gave birth before & 2nd time man) I would have been uncapable of delivering my children vaginally. Hospital birth saved me from emergancy c-sections twice and it was worth every penny to me when I look into my boys’ beautiful blue eyes every day!
We’ve had two wonderful, safe homebirths. Homebirth was the best option for my family.
The most important factor here is that women are able to birth in the place where they feel most comfortable and safe. This allows her birthing intuition to be “on” resulting in a safer and easier delivery for mom and baby.
The reason why you will find so many glorified accounts of homebirth on the web is because in many cases we are being totally disrespected in mainstream society. It’s fine if you don’t want it, but you have to respect another family’s informed decision to birth where they feel best. That is where true empowerment comes in. Even if you give birth in the hospital it is so important to stay empowered and remember that you, the mama, is giving birth. A doctor does not deliver your baby, you do.
I also want to mention that there will always be high risk births, which is why hospitals and doctors are wonderful. A lot of the scary birth stories we hear are left over from colonial America and there is reason to believe that many women might have been suffering from rickets and poor nutrition, which would have resulted in a malformed pelvis, making many women and babies susceptible to major complications including death.
Another thing to think about is to look back historically at some European standards which included a woman being tightly corseted for much of her pregnancy, not gaining much weight and staying indoors out of natural sunlight and fresh air. Yes, we remember the scary stories, but there might be a correlation to way women were caring for there bodies and babies.
In many of the societies where a large number of scary beliefs about birth came from there was a difference between noble birth and peasants. Peasants were known to be sturdy and strong and the noble women where subjected to all sorts of misinformed unhealthy practices, some of which I mentioned above.
My point is that if you are going to rely on a historical based fear of women and babies dieing in childbirth (which they did and still do) then it is important to look at the correlations and significant factors so you can consciously choose if you want to continue acting from that fear based model.
We know so much more about how to have a healthy pregnancy and birth and if you couple that with complimentary care between a midwife and doctors we *could* have some of the best birthing outcomes in the world.
Sadly, this is far from the truth. Until women and their families start expecting respect and look at themselves as the main player in childbirth we will continue to have higher maternal mortality rates than 33 other countries (according to WHO)and higher low birth weight rates than 23 other countries. Ironically we spend more on healthcare per person, than any other country. The answer might not be fancy equipment and high paid doctors.
Something has got to give and I’m not sure it will until we stop glorifying the current broken medical model of birth and start looking within ourselves and making decisions based on maternal expertise rather than fear.
I had my second in a detached birth center and I have to say it was WONDERFUL. It was absolutely FUN and exciting and thrilling and everything. I got to sit in a jacuzzi tub with scented salts and music playing for two hours before pushing my baby out in a beautiful room and then holding him and being taken care of for eight hours and then GOING HOME. What’s not to like?
Of course birth matters. It’s one of the hardest things a woman will ever do and if the people in her surroundings work to make it a pleasant experience for her, then she can look back on it as an accomplishment instead of something she was too weak for and had to be saved from.
Yes, it is sometimes dangerous. Some people who run marathons will come dangerously close to dying but we don’t tell people they all have to run marathons in treadmills at a hospital. The ambulances are sufficient. Saying a midwife in attendance is useless in the case of an emergency is like saying an EMT is useless or an ambulance is useless. Yes, hemorrhages happen quickly but guess what! Midwives have things they can do in case of hemorrhage! They can pump you full of pitocin and oxygen so fast your head will spin while you’re on your way to the hospital so don’t discount them so quickly. TALK to a midwife! ASK them what they do in case the worst happens! You might be surprised. They’re not as helpless as some people think.
Derek, just found your site through Twitter and love this post. Very topical since Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein’s book, “Your Best Birth” just came out. They also have a great website with tons of information supporting informed birth. I had a homebirth almost 2 years ago with a CNM and felt 100% confident in the process. It helped that we took a Bradley Childbirth class and understood the process so well. All these years of hospital births have taken women away from witnessing, helping and really understanding what is happening to our own bodies. We need to take that back – for low-risk pregnancies.
I was surprised by Green and Clean Mom’s response. She hasn’t read any scientific literature regarding homebirth. It’s fine to have an opinion – but she doesn’t know any facts. I am personally offended by her comment about “natural” equating to mom’s ego – and that the childbirth itself doesn’t really matter. What? Because we don’t want drugs going into our baby that we spent 9 months nourishing with healthy foods and prenatal vitamins. Because we want the freedom to labor in a variety of positions, in a variety of places and to eat and drink what we want. Where is ego involved there? It’s about making decisions about our own bodies. She sounds defensive. Perhaps she has some unresolved feelings from her surgeries. Many C-section women do. Make peace – and let the homebirthers share their knowledge and help women reclaim birth. Have to say – I’m not going to follow her on twitter anymore. Not because of her support of hospitals ( I like them for sick people), not b/c she’s bashing homebirthers as egoists, but b/c she hasn’t read any facts about homebirth before she put her opinion out there. Makes me question any other information she puts out there.
I want to add that my good friend tried for a homebirth about 7 months ago with a midwife. She transfered to the hospital after a couple hours of pushing b/c the midwife realized something was wrong. Baby was fine – but not progressing during pushing. Turned out she had placenta acreta and would have died during childbirth due to blood loss. But guess what? She already knew which hospital she would transfer to in an emergency – the midwife was trained to recognize problems and to transfer in a timely manner. She felt safe and confident through it all and her midwife stayed with her through it all to help her fulfill any part of the birth plan that she was still able to within the new situation. Midwives are well-trained. CNM’s are nurses.
Dr. Lori says
You want more reasons?
1) Its fun! (I am a woman who did home and not home and home is way more fun!)
2) You can eat if you’re hungry.
3) You don’t have to pack anything.
4) No contractions in a car.
5) You don’t have to preinstall the car seat.
6) The midwife/doula will vaccum your floor! (Large dog sheds a lot!)
7) No one cares if you have champagne while nursing.
8) You don’t need pillows to sit on afterwards.
9) You can have all the visitors that you want.
10) If you don’t weigh your baby you can’t obsess over every ounce lost or gained. You just have to look at the big picture – happy? eating? wet diapers?
11) No one next door to disturb (unless you’re in an apartment) You can be as loud as you want.
12) Head off the jealousy of older children by not leaving them to spend 3-5 nights or more w/ the new baby. I mean how do you know mommy loves who more?
13) Its really easy to change your mind at any time. Try leavng the hospital after you’ve come in?!! Our friends spent 5 hours fighting to leave and their baby died in utero (34weeks). The hospital wanted to section a dead fetus!!! – They had a lovely homebirth BTW after a few days patience.)
14) Satisfaction and a mentally sane intact mom. Our friends were the 3rd time I’d head of a homebirth w/o a living baby and all 3 times the couples have commented on how good the birth was. Yes, they are sad about the dead babies but in all cases there was an unfortunate outcome that would have happened no matter where they were planning on birthing.
I really think you can’t put enough value on the psych. impact that people who have had living babies delivered in hospitals describe their homebirth that left them w/ a baby to burry as a much better experience.
Carrie at NaturalMomsTalkRadio says
Lovely post. I shared my top ten reasons recently on my blog too. I’m currently 33 weeks pregnant and looking forward to another homebirth. 🙂
Jameel alhumaid says
I believe that homebirth is saver than hospitals. Awhile ago there was a British study showed that homebirth is much saver for the same reasons mentioned above. Also, it a very good idea to spread the concept of homebirth that hospitals cost much money.
Hi, I had two home births at home… and my reason for birthing at home was simple – I was pregnant – not sick, hospitals are for sick people. And it was one of the best experiences in my life. In that moment I was born as a mother. I knew from that day my first son was born, if I can bring him into this world on my own, I can also rise him. My first labour – 5.5 hr, my second – 3.5 hr. No meds, just my midwife, husband, dogs… second time around my 2.5 year old seen his brother come into this world, and hour later we all snuggled in one bed, slept till noon . You can’t do it in the hospital. 🙂
Angie L., Doula says
I love this! I just might write each and every one of these on little hearts and place them all over the walls and mirrors of the house. ;D
Here are my add-ons:
-> You don’t have to worry about the what happened on these floors/in this bed the day before
-> If you feel something needs cleaning/cooking/folding/watching… you can do it.
-> You don’t have to ask permission to roll over or go pee.
-> You don’t have to wait for the nurse to come “disconnect” you from the machines to get up. Because you’re not connected to any machines in the first place.
-> Husband doesn’t have to miss the football game.
-> You don’t have to hire a sitter.
-> You can order food to be delivered… and your husband doesn’t have to pay extra to eat too.
-> You don’t have to pack. Anything.
Some more reasons:
No one will stop you from eating or try to limit you to ice chips at home!
You can move around and labour in as many positions as you want without someone asking you to get back on your back or get back on the monitor.
You can be the first person to touch your baby instead of someone in rubber gloves.
If you want people to be quiet, no one will keep talking through your contractions.
You don’t have to hear other women screaming in nearby rooms.
Your family and friends can come when you want and not during visitor hours.
You don’t have to go through “shift changes” on personnel.
There is no limit or restriction on who you can have in the room with you.
You’re allowed to take video or pictures of anything you want.
No one is secretly recording you.
No one will try to put you on a schedule for vaginal exams.
No random students or interns or residents will come in and repeat procedures you’ve already had done.
Your baby will be given to you immediately instead of being whisked away to a warming table to be prodded by strangers.
No routine pitocin after birth!
No one will separate you from your partner or family.
Amy Ayres says
Great post. Yay for homebirth, birthing centers, and hospitals, we’re lucky to have options. I loved my homebirth and wouldn’t do it any other way!
My first baby was a “surprise” to say the least- I found out about my impending birth via an MRI at 4.5 months. The MRI was to determine the severity of several disc problems in my back, and it was determined that I should have immediate surgery in order to carry the baby to term. Needless to say, there were several risk factors, and we decided to have a hospital birth. Which of course, ended in a C-section. I have no problems or regrets about the birth of my son- I believe that everything happened the way it did for a reason, and I ended up with an extremely healthy, beautiful boy- and I stayed healthy and alive, too.
Now I’m expecting a second child, and have opted for a home birth. Why? Because as a VBAC candidate, I got tired of hearing the word “NO”. Because I don’t want lawyers and administrators making my decisions for me. Because I don’t want to be treated as a statistic or parameter; I want MY circumstances and MY specific metrics to be factored into all decisions. And most of all, because there are NO guarantees, one way or the other- the numbers on safety and well being with home births are better than those in the hospital. The policies on C-sections are improving, but still have a long way to go. It takes a lot of time to change the medical machine. Women, mothers, and babies don’t need to wait for that.
It’s a personal and emotional choice, and knowing the reasons and advantages of both can help you make the decision that’s right for you. And a midwife/doula is (in my opinion) more qualified to help YOU make the decisions about YOUR health and the health of YOUR baby, as they are more invested in PERSONAL care vs. PUBLIC HEATH.
I would LOVE to add my #1 reason for homebirthing:
NO NEWBORN PROCEDURES! My husband and I didn’t have to fight to wait for the umbilical cord to be cut (we had a lotus birth), no goop in my baby’s eyes, no vitamin k shot, etc. I was the first one to touch my baby, the first one to hold my baby, and the first one to bathe my baby. My midwives never took my baby away from me! At home, you don’t have to fight to get the kind of birth you want
Missy Waguespack says
At home, your child can be born into your /partner’s arms.
At home, you can sing/scream as loud as you want without disapproving eyes
At home, there’s no possibility of your baby being accidentally swapped with another.
At home, there’s full support of your wishes.
I was lucky enough to have 2 homebirths, each very unique and special. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
I am planning a home birth for this, our third, birth. The other 2 have been in hospitals. I’m actually really looking forward to it…at the end of Oct. I’ve tried to even convince some other relatives who are pregnant, but they look at me like I’m nuts! 🙂
Jennifer Watson says
I had a Homebirth with my first. At the beginning of my pregnancy I had insurance so I went to my OB for my initial blood work and exam. I could tell then that OB visits and hospital birth was not going to happen.
– My husband HATES hospitals, they make him physically ill.
– I didn’t want unnecessary tests done during prenatal care.
– I didn’t want a IV in place during hospital stay.
– I would have fought anyone who took my child from me.
– I didn’t want to fight with staff about newborn procedures.
– I didn’t want to be on anyone’s timetable. My labor was 29.5 hours. Can’t imagine what the docs would have tried to force me to do. (BTW baby’s heartrate was normal throughout.)
– I never know what I want until I am actually in the situation.
On a side note, my cat Maggie stayed in my room during pushing and delivery. 🙂 LOL
I think those who are so against homebirths have an emotional issue with their own experience – guilt maybe. Why else would they be so vehemently against it? I had friends that said Homebirth wasn’t for them – they wanted DRUGS for pain – but said I was brave.
I definitely agree with the other 35 reasons but since there is some humor to this article i will add my husbands favorite…
“celebrating the birth of our first born son with a beer!”
(he was absolutely WONDERFUL during labor and delivery i might add)
I loved that I could let my body do what it did naturally without ruled procedures or policies interrupting my birth experience.
Also that my husband could jump in the tub with me help support me at pushing, shower and go back to bed. I had 4 women tending to me and he could rest so he had time to be there the next morning.
I also Loved my daughter didn’t even ride in a car for 3 weeks.
The midwives came to us for 6 postpartum visits.
Food and clean up was all done by midwives including a weeks worth of tea!
Amber town says
36. If labor stalls, you don’t get pressured to be induce or told to go home; you just go to sleep and the midwife gets to be the one that comes and goes as needed.
37. Visitors can be offered drinks.
38. Custom visiting hours
39. You can tell your kid, ‘You were born right here,’ instead of a room in some foreign building they’ll never get to see.
40. You can make a rude person leave; at the hospital you’re stuck with ’em till the next shift.
41. More channels
42. No 5:30 am doctors rounds
43. Bigger bed
Danita Cole says
Biggest reason for me….. My kids can cut the umbilical cord! Why because I want them to and they seen the whole experience.
I had a home birth for my 2nd in the UK.
The drive to the hospital had been one of the worst things in my first labour. It was extremely uncomfortable / painful. It just didn’t feel right, my body would have never naturally chosen to be in that position seated with a belt diagonally over my tummy. It definitely interrupted the labour, to the point where it completely stopped for about 4 hours. They wanted me to go home, had I not insisted I stayed I would have had to do another 20 mins home and 20 mins back again in the car. Why does no one talk about the risk/pain/interruption of getting a labouring woman to hospital?
In the UK you have 2 midwives with you at the end, my second labour was much quicker (3hrs as opposed to 24hrs). Had I driven into hospital I believe I would have been very close to delivering in the car with only my husband. As it was I had 2 midwives constantly accessing me and had they been worried I would have had an ambulance and midwife to take me to the hospital. Neither scenario is totally risk free but I do not see home birth in my case as irresponsibly risky.
Let me first say that I have a beautiful nephew and niece that were born at birthing centers and home. I pray for all to go well with baby #3, who will likely also be a home birth. (#2 had the cord wrapped around her neck)
As for me, I will never give birth at home, and here is my list as to why:
1. I was high risk from day 1.
2. I almost developed pre-eclampsia and HAD to be induced.
3. It turns out that my daughter was head down but facing the wrong way during delivery, and normal methods for adjusting her were too high risk for our situation. She couldn’t progress down the birth canal. In order to prevent loosing either or both of us, I had an emergency c-section.
5. My daughter needed NICU observation immediately after birth. (Yes, I said NEEDED.)
4. We learned 12 hours after she was born that she had a congenital heart defect (CHD) that was nearly undetectable pre-birth. Had my daughter been born at home without NICU care or doctor intervention, she would likely have been dead inside of 2 weeks. As it was, she had open heart surgery at 4 days old
I do not judge parents that make the choice to have a home birth. Just remember not to judge us that choose a hospital birth. Even the healthiest couple can have a CHD baby and not know it.