Part One: A Dive into Why Some Mothers Prefer to Give Birth at Home
It’s no secret that the majority of births take place in a hospital here in the United States, and this has become the norm for quite a few decades as technology has continued to improve. So why is it that there are some women who opt for a birth at home instead?
Really, a number of reasons can be contributed to why home births are chosen over hospital births, but one of the main reasons is because hospital births are not conducive to the natural, physiological process of birth. As a matter of fact, it is argued that a healthy woman with a low-risk pregnancy is safer giving birth at home than if she is in a hospital. Of course, this is an entirely unpopular opinion, but facts matter. Let’s dig a little deeper.
In most countries around the world, home birth is the standard, not the exception. Women have been utilizing midwifery care for births for centuries, and some hospitals will even allow for a midwife to be present at birth as opposed to a doctor. Still, giving birth at home is not a foreign concept, though it has been made out to be one overtime in the western world.
A lot of women who choose to give birth at home as opposed to in a hospital do so because they prefer the familiarity of their own space and the various options they have within their birth plan that are not typically permitted in a hospital setting. Some of these options include eating and drinking during labor, being able to labor for as long as they need to, having a birthing tub, avoiding any interventions, etc. More than that, the care received from a midwife is much more one-on-one and begins in the early stages of pregnancy.
Hiring a midwife usually results in a lower cost overall from prenatal through postpartum. Another factor many women who opt for a home birth enjoy is the longer, more intimate prenatal appointments with their midwives. The rush in a typical medical office setting comes from an influx of patients daily whereas there is no such rush in a midwife’s office. There is plenty of time for questions to be answered, philosophies and perspectives to be shared, and recommendations to be made that are per patient as opposed to a “one size fits all approach.”
Simply expressed, the mother is in control of her own birth when she chooses to give birth at home.
This is not to say a woman cannot be in control of her own birth within a hospital. However, the hospital is not made to accommodate such an approach. A mother would have to nearly “fight” for her birth choices in a hospital more so over being in the comfort of her own home with a midwife. Other factors to consider here are things like being able to choose who attends your birth, opting out of anything you are uncomfortable with during labor (i.e. cervical checks), having the ability to choose where and how you labor, utilizing water by bath or birthing tub, and so much more.
The point here is not to express disdain for mothers who birth in hospitals. The point is to reveal another option that most women do not even know exists.
In conclusion, to further reasons why women may opt for a home birth, it is important to remember that midwives are trained to recognize any complications that could potentially lead to a medical emergency during labor and after birth. This is no different than a doctor in the hospital being able to recognize these things. Both midwives and doctors are trained in this; however, the choice of what happens next in any such case will most likely be different depending on the midwife or doctor. For instance, a baby who is considered breech is very common. There are a few different decisions that can be made regarding the breech position. Some doctors will call for a cesarean while some midwives will implement techniques proven to maneuver the baby out of breech. Even still, a baby can very well be born in this position, though it is not common. The difference will be in the way each individual doctor or midwife views the situation as a whole.
There is much more to share regarding the topic of home birth, and ultimately it is up to the mother to make her own decision regarding what she believes is best for her and the safety of her child. This series is meant to shed more light on the fact that there are options and what those options are.
Mom & Blogger