Find Out The Advantages Of Delivering Your Baby At Home

Homebirths offer many advantages over hospital birth - and many cases also represent a safer alternative. Learn more about this option and see if homebirth is right for you!
By Joanne Kimes

Rising trend

Home births are not just for granola-loving Earth mamas. There are plenty of advantages to giving birth in the comforts of your own home. It may surprise you to know that approximately 75% of women worldwide choose a home birth as their delivery method of choice. That is except for here in the United States where, according to Ricki Lake’s documentary The Business of Being Born, hospital deliveries are encouraged over home births because they’re more advantageous to doctors and insurance companies rather than mother and child. But now, more and more expectant American mothers are doing the unexpected and choosing home births over hospital deliveries.

Preserving safety and dignity

And why shouldn’t they? Home births offer many advantages, not the least of which includes being able to wear what she wants to wear (if anything) and eat what she wants to eat when she wants to eat it. A laboring mother will feel much more comfortable in her own surroundings. She’ll have more control over her own delivery because she won’t be forced to follow hospital protocol. She won’t be poked and prodded like burgers on a grill by revolving hospital personnel. She’ll have less chance of needing a c-section, forceps, vacuum extractor, or episiotomies to get her baby out, and hence stand less of a chance of getting an infection. And, she won’t be limited as to how many visitors she can have in the delivery room.

Although studies show that under the right situations, home births are just as safe as hospital births (if not safer), they’re still considered controversial. Some people believe that only a hospital can provide the necessary tools and medical staff to assure a safe delivery. But if you’re having a normal, risk free pregnancy (i.e. no high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, etc.), you aren’t carrying multiples, your baby isn’t in the breech position, and, haven’t had a previous c-section (although this point is controversial as well), then you’re the perfect candidate for a home birth. And, in fact, by birthing normally at home you will avoid the common hospital interventions that can potentially cause problems and further intervention you wouldn't have encountered otherwise.

Home birth considerations

Is home birth right for you? If a home birth is something you’re considering, here are some useful tips to follow:

  • You’ll need to have an experienced, well-trained practitioner assist you. This means hiring a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), a qualified direct-entry midwife (CPM), or a physician with plenty of experience with home births. To locate a midwife, contact the American College of Nurse Midwives in Washington DC at (240) 485-1800 or go to the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA).

  • Be sure that you and your practitioner have a back up plan arranged. You should know where the nearest hospital is, have their phone number handy, and arrange transportation to get you there if a medical emergency situation arises.

  • Know what the cost will be. Childbirth is emotional enough without being slapped with an enormous, unexpected bill on top of it. Check with your insurance company beforehand to see what, if any, part of the home birth they will cover. If you don’t have insurance, keep in mind that a home birth is about 60% less than a hospital delivery.

  • Have a pediatrician lined up. Just like a hospital delivery, your baby should be checked out by a physician within the first 24 hours.

  • Remember that a home birth means a natural birth without the use of any drugs, and that includes an epidural. But with the support of a practitioner experienced in attending normal births, you’ll find there are plenty of ways to get relief. And most importantly, a home birth also means delivering your child the primal, drug-free, and empowering way that Mother Nature intended it to be. And, as anyone who’s seen a glorious sunset knows, Mother Nature knows what she’s doing.

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