Home Birth: What You Should Consider
Many expectant mothers might not realize that they have the option to have a home birth rather than a birth that takes place in a hospital. It’s not that the option for a home birth has been unavailable to expectant mothers, it’s just that many expectant mothers might not have really considered the idea.
It’s certainly understandable that expectant moms would at first think to give birth at a hospital (seeing as how a hospital birth is typically the norm), and the idea of a home birth might seem somewhat odd at first, but there are plenty of mothers that have safely brought their babies into this world in the comfort of their own home. Just because a home birth isn’t as popular as a birth that occurs in a hospital, it doesn’t mean that the option is one that doesn’t deserve careful consideration.
If you’re pregnancy is one that is one that is low risk, you might very well decide that a home birth is for you. There’s many benefits to a home birth that can’t be found in your typical hospital birth, and those benefits could make the process of birth more comfortable for both you and your baby.
Factors to take into account
Home births are perfectly safe, but before you decide to have a home birth, you need to make sure that you’re healthy enough to go through with it. If your pregnancy is low risk and you don’t have diabetes, high blood pressure, or toxemia—a home birth is an option you can consider. If you’ve experienced pregnancy complications such as premature labor, or if your baby is in breech position (meaning the baby is in position to come out feet first as opposed to head first) then it’s not safe for you to have a home birth.
And of course, if you do want to have a home birth, you should only do so if both you and your partner agree that it’s the right course of action. If everyone isn’t on board, you won’t get the full benefits of a home birth. Much of the benefits of home birth are about feeling more psychologically comfortable during the birth, so you need to make sure your partner is comfortable too.
Selecting a midwife
The first thing you need to do before you begin the preparation of your home, is to make sure that you have a midwife who makes you feel comfortable. More often than not, expectant mothers work with one specific doctor throughout the duration of the pregnancy, and the mother usually feels more at ease and safe during the actual birth process when the one providing assistance is someone they know well. Just because you’ve decided to have your baby at home doesn’t mean you won’t be undergoing the routine checkups and testing that occur during pregnancy, but when the time comes to deliver the baby, you need to have someone that you trust and someone who makes you feel confident, comfortable, and safe. It’s best if you outline a plan with a midwife, obstetrician, and doula (someone who is not a medical professional, but has been trained to help with births and will be there for you at the time of birth) before you make your decision.
Make sure the midwife you decide to go with is certified to deliver babies at home before you make your choice.
The home birth setup
If your having a home birth, you have to make sure you have the proper setup. The midwife you select is going to bring all the proper equipment and take all the necessary precautions, but you need to make sure your midwife plans to bring the following equipment and items, and it’s important that you know what will be brought.
- Oxygen for the baby just in case it’s needed
- Medications that either slow or stop any hemorrhaging
- Homeopathic and herbal medicines
- An IV for you in the event that you experience extreme dehydration
- Ultrasonic stethoscopes and fetoscopes
- Sterile gloves, a cotton hat for your baby, drop cloths, waterproof covers for your bed, and a pan that will be used for giving your baby a sitz bath (a type of bath where only the buttocks and hips are submerged in water) following the birth.
- A thermometer
- Any tools or items that are needed for suturing tears
- Infant resuscitation equipment
Even though you’ll have all the necessities to ensure you’re properly prepared for a home birth, you need to make sure that you can reach a hospital within 30 minutes in the instance that you need to be transferred due to any unforeseen issues that might arise.
The benefits of being in the comfort of your own home
One of the top benefits of being in your home when giving birth is simple: it’s your home, meaning you have more control of the situation than you would if you were giving birth in a hospital, and the birth is about you and only you. Of course, you’ll still need to take the advice and work cooperatively with your midwife, but a home birth makes it so that you and your needs and your baby’s needs are the sole focus of the procedure.
In hospitals, many babies are being born all around the same time, which means that nurses and doctors have to go around the hospital and check on every individual birth. In the case of a home birth, there’s no one else receiving care but you and your newborn. If you experience any sort of problem, difficulty, discomfort, or fear—your midwife will be there for you every step of the way to make sure you feel safe and comfortable during the entirety of the birth process. No one is going to be leaving your side, and in addition to having someone there for you at all times, you’ll be in a place that you’re more familiar with.
Home births also make it so that you don’t have to prepare yourself to rush to a hospital. Again, there is a slight chance you may need to be transferred to a hospital in the event that severe complications arise, but no matter what you’ll have a better idea of what to expect and you won’t have to experience the stress of immediately getting to a hospital once you’ve gone into labor.
Your home is a place that brings you comfort, and it’s important that you’re in an environment that can give you the comfort you need during such an overwhelming process. You’ll be giving birth in your own domain, which means you have much more control and you don’t have to wait to receive the care you need.
Minimum medical intervention
When you’re giving birth in your own home as opposed to giving birth in a hospital, you’re going to get less medical intervention from doctors. This means that you can avoid interferences such as epidural anesthesia which creates risks for both you and your newborn.
There are also many instances in which any difficulties with the birth process can be solved simply by simply having the mother change positions, or providing the mother with better hydration and food, and these aren’t methods that are typically practiced in hospitals.
Less medical intervention also means that you’re not going to be separated from your newborn following birth. This ensures that your baby’s immune system will be able to function better due to a lack of stress that would otherwise occur during the baby’s separation from the mother. Also, no separation makes it so that your baby can immediately begin breastfeeding, which allows for better protection from infection.
Infection will also be further prevented because your midwife will not wash off the vernix which covers your baby. The vernix is the waxy substance that coats the skin of your newborn, and this coating has an antibacterial effect. Typically, during hospital births the vernix is wiped away immediately—but with minimum medical intervention—the protective layer will stay on, making sure your baby is safe from infection.
Home births are affordable
Home births provide you with comfort and stability, but home births are also much more affordable than births that take place in hospitals. A hospital birth could cost you anywhere between $8,000 and $20,000, while the typical cost of a home birth costs between $2,000 and $5,000.
Home births are a bonding experience
Since the birth of your newborn will be taking place in your own home, you’ll be able to have your closest family members and friends around. During hospital births, certain individuals aren’t always allowed in the room. When you’re at home, you can have anyone and everyone who brings you comfort to aid you during the birth process.
Not only will you have the comfort of all of your close relatives and friends, but you’ll get to bond with your relatives and friends. Giving birth to new life is an absolutely incredible experience—and while it can be difficult—sharing the experience of a home birth with family members and friends will bring the ones you hold closest to your heart even closer. You get the support that you need, and you’ll get an indescribable bonding experience like no other.
The idea of having a home birth might seem a little scary at first, and that’s totally understandable. Home births aren’t exactly the standard method, and that deviation from the standard might intimidate you a little bit. Just because home birth isn’t the most common practice, it doesn’t mean that it’s the wrong way to go. A home birth is perfectly natural and safe, giving you the chance to bring your newborn into this world while getting the comfort you won’t be able to find in a hospital.