Home Birth

Home BirthWhile not many individuals take the time to consider it, childbirth has not always been the safe and clean experience it has become. Throughout history, women have gone through strange, painful, and alarming procedures to safely deliver their children. These processes have greatly changed over the course of time and, in reality, it was not until the 1900s that the majority of women chose to birth their children in clinics.

This tradition continues today, where most expecting mothers choose a safe, sanitized hospital with an experienced staff to assist them. To many, this seems the only appropriate option. Why? Because it can be reassuring to know that a practiced, qualified medial team is there if you need them.

But despite this relatively new and popular custom, it is important to remember that as the years progress, our knowledge progresses with them. Our understanding of childbirth and the anatomy of the pregnant woman have only expanded, giving an increasing number of women another new option: a safe, well-planned home birth.

Exactly how it sounds , a home birth is the decision to go through labor and childbirth at home rather than the hospital. There are many risks and benefits associated with this option and we have gathered the following information to help you see if it might be right for you.

Benefits of a Home Birth

First and foremost, a home birth gives you the option of including those you love in the process. By surrounding yourself with family and friends, you will have numerous helpers, a familiar and comfortable environment, and constant support and encouragement. In addition, you will be able to wear your own comfy clothes, eat and drink, shower, walk around, watch television, read, etc. Basically: your house your rules!

Dissimilar from a hospital birth, a home birth will immediately provide you bonding through breastfeeding. This is an important necessity as it will not only help a new mother stop bleeding, but will transfer necessary disease-fighting antibodies from mother to baby.

Furthermore, although this is not always a first thought, a home birth can cost about 60% less than a hospital birth. This extra money can help you purchase all those diapers, baby clothes, baby books, and everything else you’ll need!

Risks of a Home Birth

No matter how carefully screened, planned, and prepared you are, anything can go wrong during childbirth; and while the risk of infant death has dropped dramatically over the years, it is still double the risk to give birth at home rather than at a hospital.

Potential problems can arise that require medical attention and both mother and child could be rushed from home to the hospital. Some of these problems are: labor is not progressing, placental abruption takes place, the umbilical cord prolapses, there is vaginal bleeding besides a bloody show, the placenta is not delivered, your baby is having trouble breathing, your baby shows abnormal signs of distress.

With such serious risks, the importance of an experienced midwife or doctor to assist you is more than a desire – it’s a necessity.

Home Birth Suggestions    

If you have decided that a home birth is right for you, there are a few steps to consider taking!

  1. Interview and choose experienced, qualified healthcare professionals to assist you through the process of your home birth. The midwives, nurse-midwives, or doctors that you speak with should all be certified and share the same philosophy on birth as your own.
  2. Consider hiring a doula (a trained labor assistant) for the big day!
  3. Create a birth plan in order to solve the following questions: where will you experience labor and delivery, will you use anything to cope with the pain, will you partake in a water birth, do you intend to breastfeed your baby immediately following delivery, what non-healthcare individuals will be assisting, and so on and so on. Discuss your plan with your chosen healthcare providers and make sure to ask what supplies you will need to have on hand. This could include anything from towels to a protective floor covering.
  4. It is essential to choose a pediatrician to examine your baby within 24 hours of their birth.
  5. Write out a backup plan just in case a transfer to the hospital becomes necessary.

With careful screening, preparation and execution, a home birth can be an amazing experience for an expecting mother. It is important to note, however, that home births are only ideal for those who have low-risk pregnancies that include the helpful involvement of a qualified midwife or doctor to assist them. Life-threatening issues can occur and, when that happens, the delay in medical care could put lives at serious risk. Properly understanding the benefits and risks of a home birth can help you decide if it truly is the right choice for you.