All About Home Birth: Preperations, Risks, Benefits & Much More

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Long before even hospitals were established, the pregnant ladies used to give birth at home. However, due to the development in science, technology and innovations in the field of medicine, pregnant ladies may prefer to give birth at the hospital.

Presently, approximately 99% of the babies in the United States are born at hospitals. However, in the past decade, home birth or natural birth has become increasingly popular.

Some characteristics of home birth are discussed here.

At the same time, you may like to choose home birth due to a plethora of reasons. You might be tired of all the protocols of the hospital or even want freedom while giving birth. Generally, the different reasons due to which you may prefer home birth are as follows-

  • The major reason for you to opt for home birth could be because you may want to evade any medical intervention while giving birth. Such interventions might include labour augmentation, pain medications, or even monitoring the foetal heart rate continuously.
  • Another reason for you to choose home birth might be because you want to give birth while being surrounded by a comfortable atmosphere along with your family members.
  • Sometimes you may also prefer home birth due to its lower cost as compared to the augmented costs of hospitals and other birthing centres.
  • The option of home birth provides you full freedom and control over your birthing process.
  • You may even prefer home birth as compared to hospital birth due to the lack of transportations.
  • Some of the pregnant ladies prefer home birth due to their religious or cultural concerns.

So no matter whatever your initial reason is, you may consider all the different aspects of a home birth before actually pursuing it. But before considering home birth, you should know whether giving birth at home is right for you or not.

More on it here.

Generally, home birth is chosen by ladies who have a lower risk of pregnancy. A low-risk pregnancy could be a situation when you do not have any serious medical conditions like hypertension or other pregnancy issues like gestational diabetes, placenta previa, or preeclampsia. There are even certain situations when you may not choose planned home birth. Let us have a look at these situations.

The topic of childbirth is quite dynamic. Some of the professional organisations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are quite cautious about the concept of childbirth. According to this organisation, the safest place to give birth to your child is a birth sector or hospital. On the other hand, according to other medical professionals like the American College of Nurses Midwives, the concept of home birth is safer as compared to hospital birth. At the same time, both these organisations agree that you may not prefer a home birth in the following circumstances-

  • If you are pregnant with the multiples like triplets or twins then you may not prefer home birth. The major reason behind this may be because in such cases, there is a higher risk during pregnancy.
  • If your delivery is not perfectly timed then you may not prefer homebirth. This could happen when you do not go into labour between 37 to 41 weeks. Moreover, preterm babies or babies that are born before the 37th week require extreme care and need to stay in the neonatal Intensive care unit (NICU) of the hospital. On the other hand,  during late deliveries, the head circumference of the baby may become widened. Due to this, it may become crucial to deliver the baby through the C section.
  • If you previously had a C section, then you may not prefer home birth.
  • In situations when the baby is not perfectly positioned for a vagina delivery. This means the position of the baby does not allow a head-first delivery.

So you may not prefer home birth in the above-mentioned circumstances. However, in other situations, you can opt for a home birth. You should also make sure that you have transportation available so that you may be transferred to a hospital in case of any contingencies. So during a planned birth, you might need to get transferred to a hospital. This could happen in the following situations.

Reasons For Getting Transferred To A Hospital

  • One of the reasons for getting transferred to a hospital during home birth could be because your labour is not progressing. Due to this, you may need to opt for professional care at the hospital.
  • In cases when you need relief from pain, you may opt for transfer to a hospital.
  • If you have high blood pressure or experience extreme bleeding, then your healthcare provider might recommend you for a hospital transfer.
  • Another reason for the hospital transfer could be the disrupted position of the baby. This means the position of the baby is other than head first.
  • When your child shows signs of distress, then you may get transferred to the hospital for delivery.

Other discussions.

Risks Related To Home Birth

Before choosing homebirth, you may go through all the risks associated with it. The risks of homebirth, which you may consider are illustrated by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. According to this organization, you might see more than twice the augmented risk of perinatal death in the case of home birth. This means each one to two babies may die in 1000 babies.

Besides this, another risk of home birth is more than thrice the risk of logical dysfunction or neonatal seizures. So no matter how much close the hospital is to your location, you might lose your precious time while getting transferred to the hospital.

Moreover, if you have a first homebirth, then your chances to get transferred to the hospital might even augment. This is because approximately 23 to 37% of the ladies tend to end up in the hospital after trying home birth in the first case.

However, the risks associated with home birth do not halt here. If you may give birth at home, then you could even face other problems and issues like prolonged labour, postpartum haemorrhage, etc.

Moreover, during a home birth, you may even have lesser alternatives to control your labour pain. This aspect is overcome by doctors due to progress in the field of medicine and science. So even if you want any anaesthetic or pain medicines then you may not be able to receive those immediately at home.

Also, high risks pregnancies should be avoided as home birth and should always consult a doctor.

Cost of Home Birth

While you choose the home birth option, you could face different types of costs. However, the entire cost of home birth could be truncated if you have private health insurance. In such a situation, the cost of your home birth may be covered partly with your private midwife.

Moreover, during the tax assessment, you might even get a medical expense discount. So before employing your midwife, you can ask about her fee and then calculate your discount based on the health funds. Some of the costs that you may expect during your homebirth are as follows-

  • Different expenses for ultrasound scans and other tests.
  • If you get yourself enrolled for home birth classes, then you may want to pay for them.
  • Cost of hiring a midwife.
  • If you want to hire a doula, then you may want to pay him. This cost depends upon the experience and the involvement of the doula during the delivery.
  • You might even check up with your midwife about any other additional costs.

Hence the exact cost of a home birth may differ from region to region based on its different elements.

Preparing For A Home Birth

You may prepare yourself for the home birth by knowing its different processes or steps. Once you know how to have a home birth, you can easily analyze its different aspects. Down below are the different processes or steps that could help you to know how to have a home birth.

  1. Searching Out For A Midwife Or Practitioner For A Home Birth

    If you are eligible for a home birth, then you may start looking out for a physician or a midwife who could help you in your home birth process. The midwife or the practitioner for home birth should be licenced and certified. Since this is one of the most important phases of your life, you may make sure to carefully research the practitioner or the midwife.

    There are a number of national and state organisations that might provide the certifications to the midwives. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) only recommends the midwives who are certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

    On the other hand, you may also hire the services of a nurse-midwife who is a registered nurse and has completed the graduate-level programmes in the course of midwifery. Another option includes hiring a direct entry midwife who may perform home births. However, these midwives are not licenced in every state. So, before seeking out the direct entry midwife you may make sure that your state provides a licence to her.

    Another aspect that you may look into before choosing your practitioner is her privileges at the nearest hospitals. This is because these privileges could be helpful for you if you take the home birth to a hospital transfer. So if the consulting physician of your midwife allows hospital transfers during home births, then it could be beneficial for you.

    Besides this, you may also inquire about the different pieces of equipment that your practitioner might bring to your home and discuss the experience of birth complications and labour with her. This could help you to know about the experience of dealing with birth complications of your practitioners.

    She may have the required knowledge to help you deal with birth complications, administer medication to deal with postpartum haemorrhaging, resuscitate the newborn or even deal with a severe laceration.

    In certain situations, you might also consider hiring a doula to provide extra support to your midwife.

  2. Concoct A Birth Plan

    Formulating a birth plan is another process of preparing for a home birth.  A birth plan may serve as a path. By moving on this path, you might ensure safe delivery at home. There are many elements that you may decide on in your birth plan. Some of these elements are.

    • What are the different methods that you may use to deal with pain?
    • Who are the different people that you may like to be present with during your delivery?
    • Would you breastfeed your baby right immediately after birth?
    • Do you want to give birth in a tub?

    Discussing the different aspects of the birth plan with your healthcare provider or midwife could help you to get a lucid picture of the home birth. You might even discuss the different pieces of equipment that your midwife may bring along with her.

  3. Preparing For A Hospital Transfer

    There might be contingencies during your home birth due to which you might need to get transferred to a hospital immediately. So you need to prepare for a hospital transfer in advance. This means you may arrange for the availability of transportation. One of the most important aspects of preparing for a hospital transfer is that you may choose your planned birth location approximately 15 minutes away from a hospital.

    At the same time, you might even reap the benefits of your midwife’s privileges with the nearby hospital. You could ask your healthcare provider or midwife to make the necessary arrangements in case of an emergency hospital transfer.

References

  • You might want to check out some other guidelines as well.
  • Here are some pregnancy and birth care options.

Benefits Of Home Birth

The major aspect that influences your home birth might be your mental stability. Mental stability is in turn influenced by positive surroundings. So if you have a positive atmosphere near you and you are surrounded by people who support you, then it could have a favourable impact on your delivery.

Down below is an experience of a lady who had experienced a home birth.

According to this lady, after having two hospital births, she opted for a homebirth. Once she decided about the home birth, she hired a midwife and discussed all the important factors with her. The midwife even looked at her house, her bedroom and the bathroom to decide about the ideal place for the home birth.

Then she discussed all the types of equipment and supplies required. According to this lady, the experience of home birth is quite different from birth at a hospital. This could be because of your connexion with the midwife. Since you hire a Midwife before your delivery to discuss all the important factors with her, you develop a bond of trust and connection. So this lady said that she could always connect with the midwife and call her even if she was doubtful about her labour.

On the other hand, this cannot be the case in a hospital. You may not visit the hospital only if you are feeling uneasy or are quite doubtful about your labour. You visit the hospital if you are quite sure about your delivery.

So when the lady felt uneasy, she texted her midwife. Then, the midwife insisted on visiting her and checking out. Finally, the lady gave home birth to her child at 5:40 am. According to her, the experience was quite peaceful. The midwife and her sister were present with her all the time. Not only this, but they even provided. her personal space with her husband when required.

Though the pregnant lady was quite sick, she said that her midwife had everything under control. Besides this, when the midwife saw that the time had almost come, she urged the lady to stop pressurising too much. This was because she wanted to check out the position of the baby, to ensure that it was in head first position that could facilitate home birth.

Since the position was favourable for home birth, everything was fine. Then after a few more contractions baby got out. During the entire process, the focus of the midwife was on the pregnant lady and her baby. So according to her, her experience of home birth was quite nice and supportive.

  • Here is a reference for labour and birth using water.
  • Other resources for Moms.
  • This governmental article talks more about the safety of home birth.

Finishing It Up!

Modern home births are safe for pregnant ladies only if they have a lower risk and have prepared themselves mentally for the home birth process. So if you are thinking of home birth, then you may have a look at its different pros, cons, risks and even concoct a home birth plan that could work out for you.

Other FAQs on home birth.

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