As you prepare for birth, one of the choices you will need to make is where to deliver your baby. Women can choose between a hospital, birthing center or the comfort of their own home. It’s a good idea to research each option in advance and make an informed decision. Interestingly, around 16,000 women each year choose to have their baby at home. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this approach.
Home Birth Pros
- Freedom to control your own birth experience. You can set up your surroundings in a way that you are most comfortable. Some women prefer a water birth or the use of aromatherapies and candles.
- There is little to no intervention in a homebirth- whether it is having your water broken, electronic fetal monitoring, medication or episiotomies. This is important because once medical intervention is initiated, further intervention will likely be necessary.
- You have the lowest chance for a C-section at home.
- There is no huge hospital fee to deal with. A midwife’s fee is usually much less than a physician’s fee.
- Familiarity of the environment. You will be more relaxed in the comfort of your own home, which can help ease labor. It is also more private.
- You have the freedom to eat, drink and move around as much as you’d like. If you check into a hospital, you are only permitted ice chips or popsicles until after the baby is born.
- You have the lowest risk of infection at home. Hospitals do everything they can to maintain clean wards and control cross-infection, but you are more likely to pick up an infection in that environment given the sheer number of people moving in and out.
- You can have visitors stop by whenever you’d like, day or night.
Home Birth Cons
- Not all insurance policies will cover homebirth expenses.
- There is no epidural analgesia or pain relief available at home if you are struggling with the labor pains.
- You will need to be prepared for the messiness of delivery. Make sure you have plastic sheets, plenty of towels, etc. ready to go.
- Filing for your baby’s birth certificate is now your responsibility, however some midwives will do it for you.
- Complications can result if your midwife or caregiver is unsure what to do in an emergency situation. Selecting an experienced birthing team is absolutely crucial.
- If there is an emergency, there will be a delay in receiving care while you travel to the nearest hospital.
- You will need to arrange for your own postpartum help.