Considering a homebirth only everyone thinks you're crazy? Unfortunately, due to widespread ignorance on the true safety of homebirth as opposed to hospital birth, this is a common reaction for women planning a homebirth. However, there are many advantages to home birth. The most pertinent include:
When having a home birth, the care providers remain consistent throughout the entire labor and delivery. There is no change of shift to new caregivers who may or may not understand or value the mother's choices for birthing.
In a hospital or birthing center, a mother is limited as to the number of companions she is allowed. She is usually limited to a maximum of two other persons. In addition, none of her other children are allowed, which can be a distraction for the mother as she wonders whether the needs of her other children are being met. During a homebirth, the mother's other children may be allowed to come and go as needed, so that they are still able to interact with their mother as she allows. This can also lessen the burden on the family of securing child care during a hospital stay.
Research consistently shows that homebirth only is as safe or safer than hospital birth for low risk women with a skilled provider present. There is also a documented reduced risk of infection when giving birth at home.
When birthing at home, no routine interventions such as shaving, enemas, or iv fluids are required. The mother is not bound by arbitrary hospital policy. She also has the opportunity to videotape the birth if she wishes, a choice eliminated by many hospitals or birthing centers. She is also able to eat and drink as she chooses, which may facilitate her energy for a lengthy labor. Having a homebirth only provides the option of food during labor; most medical settings still have policies in place against it, despite current research supporting its safety and health benefits for the mother.
Necessary interventions can still be undertaken at home if indicated, such as fetal monitoring, blood pressure monitoring, amniotomy, etc.
When having a homebirth, only your imagination limits your choices for labor. The mother is able to labor in whatever positions or environments she chooses. In early labor, she can walk around her neighborhood or relax in the tub. She has all the comforts of her familiar home to help her maintain the deep relaxation that facilitates a natural childbirth.
The mother is allowed control over her environment, from the clothes she wears to background music or even dozing in bed. A home birth also offers increased privacy from student nurses or medical interns interrupting the birth experience.
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Page Last Modified by Catherine Beier, MS, CBE
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