Giving birth is a natural, wonderful and trying process that every mother-to-be looks forward to with some level of apprehension, nervousness and anticipation. Nevertheless when it comes to giving birth, every mother wants to give their baby the best start to life – and wants to have the best birthing experience possible for herself, too.
To achieve this, the first step is trying to ensure that labor and delivery are as easy as possible; in other words, avoiding any distress or problems for both the mother and her baby. When considering birth, many women are now considering home birth.
Although for many years women gave birth at home, this later changed with the development and advancement of medicine. Many experts now believe that home birth is an excellent option. On the other hand, some disagree with home birth, as they fear the risk of any complications that may arise is far too great.
Others are clouded by the misconceptions that surround this birthing method. Despite this, moms love the idea of bringing their baby into the world in the comfort of their own home.
With the debate so intense between home birth advocates and those who disapprove of this birthing option, it can be easy for some important facts to fall through the cracks. Here’s a look at 15 eye-opening facts about home birth that may surprise some moms-to-be.
15 It’s Safe
When the topic of home birth comes up, the number one sentiment that many people express is whether it's safe at all. Research shows that home births are indeed safe with high rates of survival being reported in home births that were supervised by certified and trained attendants.
Studies show that home births are just as safe as hospital births and some may even say safer. Furthermore, home births is linked to fewer deaths, infections and injuries. The risks of complications or injuries are significantly reduced when the birth is supervised and coordinated by a certified professional midwife.
With a professional in place, the risks of complications such as hemorrhaging reduces. In addition, home births have been shown to be linked to lower mortality and even to better survival for the child increases chances of survival in the first year.
The bottom line is this: The safety of this birthing method is mainly determined by the physical condition of the mother plus the experience and know-how of your midwife.
14 Specialized Care
The biggest advantage of a home birth is that they offer specialized care. The process starts way before the labor pains begin and continues long after the baby is born. It gives the mother the opportunity to have a relationship with the person who will help her in bringing her little one into the world.
The pregnant mother starts seeing her selected midwife during her pregnancy and forms a bond. Since the midwife deals with each mother and may not have as many clients as a doctor might have, the mother will get the attention and care she needs.
This is a complete opposite to what may be the case in hospitals where the patients list is very long and the doctor may rush through visits without really getting to know the mother. This personalized touch is one of the best things about going the home birth route.
13 Presence Of Medical Supplies
For some, the idea of a home birth sounds archaic and takes them back to years when there was very little medical care available. It may give some the idea of having a baby in a bush with no medical help whatsoever which can be a scary idea. But contrary to this, home births are completely safe with medical supplies present in case of any emergencies or when need arises.
Midwives come armed with oxygen, sterile gloves, an IV drip (in the event that the mother becomes dehydrated) and medication to stop bleeding, as well as fetoscopes. In addition, equipment for monitoring the mother’s vitals and the baby’s heartbeat are put on hand together with a first aid kit.
This is designed to make everything safe for both the mother and child and ensure that no problems occur and if any do they can be easily managed.
12 Better Care
Hospitals are a flurry of activity. They are flowing with countless patients that require medical care. This means that the nurses and doctors that are taking care of you and helping you through the process of bringing your baby into this world are also helping other patients.
As you go through labor, nurses and physicians will be in and out checking on you and your vitals, and they will be available if you need them. However, they are not focusing all of their attention on you. Therefore, you may not be able to get someone who will sit and walk you through the labor process.
Alternatively, with a home birth, the midwife and any attendants are specifically there to take care of only you and your baby. They will hold your hand and guide you through labor with undivided attention as that is their sole purpose. Mothers who have given birth at home with the help of a midwife have reported being more satisfied compared to those who used hospitals.
11 Reduced Chance Of Cesarean
The home birthing method embraces the natural process of bringing a child into this world with the conviction that the woman’s body is designed with this ability. It therefore comes as no surprise that home births have lower rates of cesarean births than those at the hospital.
This could be due to the fact that home births are associated with low risk pregnancies and births. On the other hand, this could be because of the specialized care provided for by midwives at home. During a home birth, the labor process is not rushed and could take as much time as is required so long as the baby is not in any danger.
This approach to birth promotes vaginal birth without rushing to the option of C-sect.
However, do note that if the need for a Cesarean does arise, you will be safely transported to a hospital.
10 Higher Risk Of Infection In Hospitals
Hospitals are filled with people with various ailments and illnesses which makes it rife with bacteria and other dangerous pathogens.
Studies show that babies born in hospitals have a higher rate of suffering from respiratory distress than their counterparts born at home. At the time of birth, babies have very low immunity which makes them susceptible to infections. Being in an environment with bacteria and viruses, can be dangerous for your baby and in some cases has been life threatening.
Cases of babies who got sick after birth due to infections are increasing which can be quite worrying. On the other hand, when the baby is born at home there is minimal risk of exposure to dangerous viruses and bacteria, which raises the chances that you baby will stay healthy.
More so, with lower rates of C-section with home births means that the chances of being nicked with a scalpel or surgery going wrong are very low or even non-existent.
9 Home Births Are More Comfortable
Giving birth can be a scary process, especially if it's your first time. With so many horror stories everywhere it's no wonder that women even have the courage to go through this. To add on this, a foreign and sterile hospital room only makes things worse and adds to the tension which puts a damper on what should be a wonderful experience and can even in some cases be scaring.
It is also common to find that due to tension and anxiety, contractions slow down or completely stop once a woman gets to the hospital.
When opting for a home birth the one major thing on your side is that you are in your own home surrounded by your loved ones and what could be more comfortable and reassuring than this? This allows for you to relax and for labor and birth to progress naturally.
8 Dangerous For Mothers With Medical Conditions
The advantages of giving birth at home are numerous, but what people may not be too eager to reveal is that home births are not for everyone.
Mothers who are predisposed to certain conditions or are already suffering from certain illnesses are always advised to steer clear of home births as they can risky for them. Women with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, a pre-disposition to seizures and other medical conditions such preeclampsia that may put you or your baby at risk are always advised to choose a good hospital instead.
Moreover, those who go into labor early (before 37 weeks) or too late (past 41 weeks), have had a C-section and where the baby is not in the right position for a vaginal birth are also discouraged from seeking a home birth. Therefore it is best to check with a certified physician to ensure that you do not fall in any of the brackets.
7 Immediate Bonding
After going through labor, the greatest reward to every mother is a chance to hold and see their precious bundle of joy. That moment between a mother and their child is precious and makes every single second of labor pain worth it. It helps strengthen the bond between mother and child and gives the child a sense of security.
Unlike hospitals, where the baby is taken away after birth for tests and cleaning, at home, you can hold and breastfeed your baby immediately after he or she is born. This is extremely beneficial for the baby as early breastfeeding has been shown to clear the baby’s mouth and nose of mucus as well as give provide them with antibodies to fight infection.
This also helps to stop the mother from bleeding. As you close to your loved ones everyone can start the bonding process which is especially important for fathers and other siblings.
6 Healthier For The Baby
Opting to go with a home birth can be healthier and better for your baby than a hospital birth as it is shown to have higher rates of vaginal birth which is better for the baby’s wellbeing. These births are also linked to less pre-term births which are directly correlated with more health problems than babies born at full-term.
By choosing to have your baby at home, you are also giving your child the benefit of being born surrounded by people who love him and in a warm environment instead of a sterile surroundings of a hospital.
Additionally, babies who are born through home births have a higher chance of breastfeeding and a higher percentage of continuing breastfeeding past six weeks. These babies not only get to breastfeed within minutes or even hours of birth but continue to do so during infancy giving them a great start to life and strengthening their immunity.
5 It’s Cheaper
Everyone who has had a baby will tell you that it is not cheap venture. Babies are expensive from the moment they are conceived and that pregnancy test shows positive. It is therefore a relief when parents can find a great way to save up on their pennies without compromising on quality.
The misconception with most people is that home births are expensive and are only for the elite. Quite the opposite, going with a home birth is not significantly advantageous on you, your family and your baby but it also ends up saving you some of your money. Home births are shown to be around 60% cheaper than giving birth in a hospital.
This means that you can combine personalized care, comfort and not have to spend thousands. In addition, since home births are associated with lower risk of complications you can almost be certain that there won’t be unexpected expenses which will jack up the bill.
4 May Not Be Covered By Insurance
As highlighted earlier, the cost of a home birth is usually much cheaper than a hospital birth. What many may not know is that home births may not always be covered by your insurance provider. This is usually due to different sets of policies and regulations that govern home births.
A major factor could be the regulations of your home state as each state has different rules that they follow as well as your medical cover. As most births that occur in the home are under the supervision of a certified midwife (with a professional license) you may find that your insurance provider will refund you for the expenses incurred.
An alternative option, is going for a midwife who works at a hospital as they may qualify for reimbursement under some health care packages. Despite this, you will not be required to pay for the services at first and could even come up with a payment plan with your midwife.
3 It’s Not Too Messy
The image of birth can be very horrifying, especially if you have watched any videos online. This is what in most cases may make a family choose going for home birth for fear that their house and furniture will be completely ruined. But on the contrary, the process is not as bad as many may imagine.
Although the process does require quite some amount of cleaning up, it does not mean that your upholstery will be ruined. In many if not all the cases, home birthing attendants come with plastic tarps for the bed and the area surrounding so that nothing is ruined.
After you have successfully (and happily) delivered your baby and both of you have been checked and are in good shape, the attendants clean up. So in most situations, you will have your house looking almost exactly as it did before you had your baby.
2 Not All Home Births Are Water Births
When most people think of a home birth, they picture a pregnant woman in a pool of water (a water birth). Although water birth is relaxing and comfortable way of delivering a baby, it can be off-putting to some who may not see this as their cup of tea. The good news is water birth is one of the options of a home birth not the only one.
The major advantage of choosing to have your baby at home is that you can get to have options and make the decisions on what is best for you. This means you could lie on your couch, bed or any favorite spot you like. The bottom line is you are somewhat in control of what feels and works best for you (as long as you do not stand or walk around).
1 Holistic Postpartum Care
Midwives and home birth attendants provide more than just birthing services with a more holistic approach to their care unlike medical facilities that may not offer this. Their goal is not only to ensure that you and your little one are healthy and healing well but also ensure that you are progressing well in almost all sectors.
So, although you will find yourself home alone with the baby earlier than would have happened if you had gone to the hospital, you do not have to wait for the six week mark. Your midwife or doula will make several stops by your house especially within the week to ensure that you are not only healthy but also adapting to your new role.
They answer questions you might have and give you nursing tips to ensure everyone is happy including your family. This personal touch helps transitioning into parenthood and makes you feel you have someone who is guiding you through the process.