I think my family thinks I’m crazy. Nobody seems to understand why in the world I would want to have a home birth.
And I’m not naïve. I know that there are certain challenges associated with having a home birth that many people are not prepared to – or should not – deal with.
For example, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists cautions against a home birth if you’re pregnant with multiples or if you’ve had a C-section in the past.
You also should not go for a home birth if your baby has not settled into a position that allows for headfirst delivery.
I keep getting asked the same question of “Why?”, so… here’s my answer for all of you who are wondering the very same thing:
1. No rushing around to get bags and drive to hospital. I am able to relax in the comforts of my own home.
For me, this was a big one. The less time you spend in the hospital, the lower your risk of needing medical interventions. You should stay home as long as possible before heading to the hospital.
Of course, that means you’re also more likely to have your baby at home because you waited too long. Why not plan for this ahead of time?
2. No waking the kids in the middle of the night to go anywhere (if that’s when I happen to go into labor). No having to wake other people up to watch your kids.
3. No trying to find a parking spot and walking through a hospital during painful contractions!
4. No filling out paper work or answering the same stupid questions a hundred times while in excruciating pain.
5. No worrying if the hospital will have an empty room for you.
There’s also no need to pay inordinately high hospital fees for your stay – which, let’s face it, even with insurance are extremely expensive.
6. No rude or unsympathetic doctors or nurses to deal with.
7. No wondering if they’re going to send you back home!
8. No revealing hospital gown; wear whatever you want.
9. No being stuck on your back during contractions; you can get up, walk around, and be in any position you want.
10. You have access to a shower and tub if you want.
11. No bulky monitors strapped around you.
This means you can move around to help facilitate childbirth.
12. No uncomfortable needles and IVs stuck in you.
You can give birth without medical intervention like pain medication or labor induction, too.
13. You can eat and drink during labor if you’re hungry or thirsty.
14. No strangers gawking at all your “business”. (Like a group of medical students in training!)
15. No worrying about your wishes for baby being ignored, or arguing with doctors about what you want. You are in control of your situation and decisions.
16. No bright lights, stale rooms, and noisy intercoms echoing in from the hallways.
17. No being told not to push yet ’cause the doc is busy with another patient.
18. You can use natural treatments like herbs, oils, and heating pads as you wish.
19. Less chance of having a C-section.
20. No long tubes crammed down baby’s throat (to clear mucus which will naturally be expelled otherwise).
21. No unnecessary antibiotics in baby’s eyes (they do this routinely just in case you have Gonorrhea).
22. No unnecessary Hepatitis B vaccine given to baby in her first fragile moments of life (done routinely as well just in case you have Hep B, which is contracted by sex and sharing needles with an infected person)!
23. You can nurse baby right away without any hassles.
24. No nurses taking baby away to nursery and feeding him/her sugar water against your instructions.
25. You can have as many visitors as you want, whenever you want.
You also don’t need to worry about whether the hospital’s policies are in line with your cultural or religious beliefs.
26. No being forced to stay in the hospital for 3 days.
27. No having to be away from your husband and kids for days.
Honestly, having a home birth is a great experience for older siblings. Not only can the kids come in to check on you and see how you are doing, but they also get to meet their new sibling much sooner!
28. You can lay in your own comfy bed when it’s over, and your husband can lay beside you!
29. No blah hospital food; eat what you want when you want.
Don’t underestimate this one! Hospital food sucks. And if the hospital cafeteria is closed when you go into labor, well, you’re out of luck.
30. No being woken up in the middle of the night so the janitor can change the trash can, and every time you get a new nurse on duty.
31. No worrying about safety after delivery; no chance of your baby being stolen, or accidentally switched (it happens!!), no concerns of contracting a secondary infection (MRSA!) from unclean equipment and staff!
32. No scary drive home with a tiny newborn slumped in the carseat.
33. A more personal relationship with midwives and caregivers. More comfortable environment all together.
34. Sometimes your birth team will clean your house.
Depending on where you live and what kinds of professionals you have on your side, you may not have to do all the clean up after the baby is born. Score!
35. You have control over who is there with you.
With the start of the 2020 pandemic, more women are opting for home births than ever before. Why?
They are nervous that their partners or other family members aren’t going to be able to be present for the delivery. With a home birth, you can have anybody there you want.
I want to have a home birth but I also recognize that sometimes, things go awry. You might have to be transferred to a hospital if complications develop.
For example, if you experience bleeding or have high blood pressure, you might need to be transported, the same goes for if labor isn’t progressing, the baby is mispositioned, or it’s showing other signs of distress.
If you’re going to have a home birth, make sure you have assistance from a certified nurse-midwife and that you are relatively close to the nearest hospital in case of a need for emergency transfer.
Home births are associated with a higher risk of infant death, so you need to plan for the worst.
When you work with your midwife, make sure you choose one whose education meets specific standards. He or she should have access to doctors and specialists at local hospitals and you’ll want to have a detailed birth plan.
What kinds of methods will you use to cope with your pain? Will you deliver in a bath tub? Talk ahead of time about any supplies you may need to buy, too.
I’m actually looking forward to the delivery this time! Please say a prayer for us, baby could be here any day now.
updated 04/26/2020 by Rebekah Pierce
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.