When thinking about where to deliver, many women immediately pick a hospital and never think twice about it. But the truth is, a number of expectant mothers are choosing not to have their childbirth in a hospital and opting instead on giving birth at home.
A lot of people may raise their eyebrows at the thought of a natural childbirth at home. It’s not likely that your OB will volunteer information on the topic, partly because many doctors don’t believe in home births, but also because an OB simply isn’t the best source of information on the subject. Many physicians will try to dissuade you from electing a home birth with scary statistics and medical research, but the truth is that giving birth at home offers many benefits that a hospital does not.
The best source of information regarding home births is a midwife. Midwives have been doing childbirth deliveries at home for hundreds of years and will be able to answer all of your questions. And if you do opt on giving birth at home, the midwife will be the one that’s with you every step of the way.
There are many advantages to giving birth at home. For starters, you’ll be in a familiar and comfortable environment. Because you’re likely to be more relaxed than you would in a foreign and sterile hospital room, you’ll be able to cope better with the pain. You’ll also have more control – unlike a hospital setting, at home you’ll be able to decide what happens and on what time-table, although your midwife will still be there to guide you. It’s also a lot cheaper giving birth at home. A vaginal birth at home, without any unexpected complications, typically costs between 60 and 70 percent less than you’d pay at a hospital.
Though the medical establishment is quick to rail against the dangers of home births, there have actually been studies showing that women giving birth at home with an experienced midwife have a better chance of delivering a live, healthy and safe baby than women who have their childbirth in hospitals. However, there are some risks you should be aware of when making your decision.
If you’re over thirty-five or have any preexisting medical conditions, a home birth may not be right for you. Also, if your baby’s in the breech position at 37 weeks or if you’ll be having twins, it might be a wise decision to go to a hospital where there’s a whole team of professionals on hand to handle potential difficulties so you have a safe childbirth.
If you decide on giving birth at home, your first step will be to find a certified midwife whom you both like and trust. After that, work on creating the right environment for your home birth, including general hygiene and accumulating the right supplies. Your midwife will help you with all of this as your due date draws near. Then on delivery day, you’ll join the ranks of thousands of women who, when it comes to giving birth, recognize that “there’s no place like home.”
You can also visit my blog for more info on home births.
Mark Zakowski, M.D.
The Safe Baby System