The Benefits of Home Births
For ages, mothers have been giving birth to their children in their own homes surrounded by those closest to them. It wasn’t until the 20th century that mothers sought out hospitals to give birth in due to advances in medicine and safety measures. Recently however, mothers have been discovering the benefits of bringing the birthing process back home, of course along with modern day medical knowledge and safety precautions.
This prospect may seem terrifying to mothers who wish to rely on the environment of a hospital to make sure the labor and delivery goes smoothly, but after considering all the facts about home births and water births, you may want to reconsider.
Drawbacks to Hospital Births
Women often turn to hospitals for giving birth due to the controlled environment, and access to emergency medical personnel in case something goes wrong. It turns out however, that the controlled nature of a hospital can end up being part of the problem.
Mothers in hospitals are usually confined to one position, aren’t allowed much rest, and can sometimes be subject to unnecessary interventions that can further complicate things. The confinement to one position often causes more pain than if the mother were to be allowed to change positions during labor. Some studies have shown that hospital births are no safer than home births (for mothers with no special complications) and were more likely to intervene when unnecessary.
These studies also show that infections and complications are more likely to occur at hospitals. Hospital settings often have limited privacy and often limit the involvement of the mother’s partner.They also often have nurses and doctors on set schedules, meaning that people will often be switched out during the labor and delivery process. Hospitals births are also incredibly expensive if the parents are uninsured, costing around $10,000 in most cases.
What to Expect With a Home Birth
Home births do occur in a less controlled environment as hospitals, however, it is far from a lonely process. With home births, mothers have the care of trained midwives to help with the labor and delivery process, provide medical relief, and support the mother with any need that comes up.
Ideally close friends and family members should be present to support the mother as well. The mother will also have medical resources on-hand as well. The midwives will come with oxygen for the baby if needed, IV’s for the mother to provide hydration or nutrients, sterile gloves, gauze pads, covers for the bed, a thermometer, ultrasonic stethoscopes, medications for hemorrhaging, and supplies for fixing any tearing that occurs.
The setting of the home itself tends to be one of the major factors in reducing stress and pain for the mother. Increased anxiety and fear are actually some of the main inhibitors to the body’s natural ability to fight pain. When the mother is relaxed in her own home environment, she is better able to produce the endorphins needed to fight pain.
The mother’s partner will be allowed to be present and involved for the delivery process, along with anyone the mother chooses to be allowed present. The midwives are hired on to be present for the entire labor and delivery process meaning that, unlike a hospital where random medical staff may be switched out due their schedules, the same people will be involved from start to finish. You will also be allowed lots of liberty with what you do during labor.
The midwives don’t use any invasive items in the uterus during the process or separate the mother from the child right away. This helps to put both the mother and child at ease, and allows for proper skin to skin bonding with the mother and child right away. You can switch positions at any time to reduce pain, take a shower to ease stress, and have more access to the food you want and need.
In this environment, the mother has control of what interventions are implemented, unless unforeseen emergencies arise that require a trip to a nearby hospital for a cesarean section. In addition to the added ease home births offer, the financial ease is very significant. Hiring midwives for home births typically costs in between $1,500 and $3,000 and can be covered by insurance.
The Option of Water Births
Water births are a type of birth that is becoming increasingly popular. Water births are also typically done at home and involve all the elements of a typical home birth. The difference is that the mother sits in a small pool of warm water throughout the labor process. Some mothers choose to fully deliver their baby into the water itself before the baby takes his or her first breath. The water birth option is favorable for many reasons. The buoyancy of the water creates an environment that allows for the mother to change positions quickly and easily to achieve the most comfort possible.
This results in less pain for the mother and more oxygenation for the baby. The warm water is soothing to the mother, easing the stress of the process overall. The risk of tearing lessens, too, as the warm water relaxes the perineum. All of this physical and mental relaxation allows the mother to better concentrate on the birthing process. If the mother chooses to deliver the baby in the water it is a great way to provide a smooth transition from the amniotic sac and into the world.
For those who are worried about the implications of their newborn being submerged under water, the actual risks of this form of delivery are actually quite low. The midwives would have to be very careless for anything to actually go wrong at this point. Since the warm water environment is so similar to the amniotic sac, the baby won’t start inhaling until raised up from the water, or the umbilical cord is cut.
How to Decide if a Home or Water Birth is Right for You
If you are thinking about doing a home birth or a water birth, it is important to take a few factors into consideration. These sorts of births are perfectly safe with low to moderate risk mothers. However, if certain medical conditions are present, such as diabetes, herpes (for water births), preeclampsia, or premature delivery, you will need a hospital to ensure optimal safety. Twin births have been successfully done at home or in water, but do add a level of risk. Be sure to consult your doctor and be aware of any medical issues before looking into an in-home or water birth.
If you still have reservations about the idea of birthing outside of the hospital setting, be sure to ask around if you have any friends who have opted for the in-home or water birthing method to hear their experience. This will help to give you a better idea of what to expect, and put your mind at ease about the idea. Be prepared to have some friends or family members be skeptical about the idea if you decide on a home or water birth. If you’ve consulted a doctor and are all clear to decide on the options, trust your gut and remember that the decision is all yours to do what you believe is best for you and your baby.