Are you considering a home birth? While the concept of having an at home birth is certainly not new, it has become an excellent option for many women looking to have a natural birth.
Nowadays, women are choosing to birth at home for various reasons, including avoiding COVID-19 exposure, reducing the likelihood of unwanted medical interventions, comfort, and more.
If you’re considering a home birth, then ask yourself if it’s the right thing for you and do your research. Home births can be an excellent alternative for natural moms who want to avoid being in a hospital setting. Here are some facts to help you decide if having an at home birth is right for you.
Why have a home birth?
A common thought for moms having a birth at home is ” that birth is a normal, healthy process that only requires medical intervention when true problems arise or are present.” Also, some birth at home moms express views that their childbirth experience didn’t need to occur within the hospital.
In countries like the Netherlands, having a home, birth is common. In the Netherlands, home births account for over 24 percent of births. Compared to 1 percent in the U.S. (Data).
So understanding your own beliefs and mindset about at home births may help you decide on your reasoning. This is a good step toward determining if home birth is for you.
Is Home births safe?
Studies in the United Kingdom suggests that at home births are just as safe as hospital births for women who are considered low risk multiparous ( second birth or more). This study also indicates that a planned birth at home is associated with reduced intervention rates and increased rates of normal spontaneous vaginal birth (NICE Guidelines, 2014).
However, it is interesting to note that first-time moms from the study did have an increase in transfer rates up to 45% and an increase in adverse newborn outcomes( Birthplace England Collaborative Group, 2011).
Adverse newborn outcomes are considered to be intrapartum stillbirth, early neonatal death, brain damage, meconium issues, and injuries during birth.
Now, before I get some jaw drops, side-eye, and eye rolls for the data, I’ll say first-time moms can still have fantastic home births, this information is just to help you make informed decisions. Ultimately, you and your provider can decide together if you’re a candidate.
Are you a candidate for Home birth?
Not everyone is a candidate for an at home birth. If you have a low-risk healthy pregnancy, then you’re a great candidate for a home birth.
However, you are more suited for a hospital environment if your high risk and have the following pregnancy complications such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- Preterm Labor History
Again, you can follow up with your home birth midwife on what they are willing to accept under home birth standards. Every provider is different and may assess what is concerning and not concerning based on their judgment and experience.
How much does a Home birth cost?
When women think of having a birth at home, they generally think of it as a much cheaper way to go. The affordability alone may make some moms go this route.
How much is birthing in my living room going to cost me?
Depending on where you live and your home birth midwife, you can see cost between $2500-$9000. Insurance coverage isn’t black and white for home births. You need to contact your insurance company as coverage varies.
Some may cover some aspects of the birth, but may not cover other associated costs of having a home birth, so check with your insurance company.
Pros and Cons of a Home birth
Pros of a home birth
- More control during labor
- decrease chance of using pain medication
- Increase the chance of a spontaneous birth
- Less labor augmentation
- Families and children are allowed to be part of the birth
- Increase mom and babies chances of bonding
Cons of a home birth
- Transfer to a hospital is imminent if complications occur or if labor doesn’t progress.
- Increase risk of injury
- Access to pain management for unplanned & unprepared births
- Insurance may not cover associated costs.
What happens if I need to transfer?
If you need to transfer, your home birth midwife and local hospital should work together to make sure your transfer is smooth. Make sure to do your research and create a transfer plan with your midwife. Along the same lines, speak with your midwife and understand hospital practices for receiving home birth transfers.
Do your midwife’s and hospital’s best practices for transfers integrate smoothly?
You also want to question what your midwife’s experience level is with emergencies. Again, at what point will your midwife want you to transfer? You want to make sure that it’s before everything goes downhill. That’s why you must select a comfortable and competent practitioner to recognize warning signs beforehand.
What do you need for a home birth?
To get started with having a home birth in the U.S., you should first find an O.B. or a certified nurse-midwife, who does home births. A nurse-midwife is a registered nurse who has completed graduate study in midwifery.
Now, I know that there are a few other types of midwives, but some U.S. insurances will not cover your home birth if you’re not using a certified nurse-midwife. So again, check with your insurance company.
Besides, some direct-entry midwives aren’t licensed to practice in every state. Also, be sure to check out your midwife’s education, credentials, and experience. You can find certified midwives through the American midwifery certification board.
What happens at a home birth?
Your midwife will arrive on-site to help you labor and deliver your baby. They’ll oversee your at home birth, offer alternative non-medical measures for comfort and pain management.
Furthermore, your home birth midwife is there to make sure that you and your baby are healthy and safe.
They are available to help with the birth of baby and placenta and provide minimal emergency medical interventions if necessary. Your midwife should also arrive with an assistant or two to help.
Will my home birth midwife have pain medication?
No, typically, your midwife will have supplies for suturing, Iv’s, oxygen equipment, and a doppler. Also, they will have medications such as antibiotics for possible GBS and Pitocin for increased bleeding.
Depending on your midwife, she may come with nitrous oxide, though. Nitrous oxide is an odorless, tasteless gas that is administered through a face mask. Your Oxygen level should be monitored continuously while receiving nitrous oxide.
Moms can experience dizziness, drowsiness, and vomiting with Nitrous Oxide.
Related: 7 Natural Ways to Cope with labor
Who cleans up the mess?
You just had the most critical event occur in your life, and all you can think about is whose going to clean up the mess? No need to worry, stop stressing. Spend your time lying in bed; You just pushed out a human.
Your home birth team including midwife will clean up the crime scene. Not to mention, you can recruit your participating family and friends to clean up the kitchen and prepare meals.
Tip for an at Home Birth
Birth where you’re comfortable
One fantastic benefit of having births at home is the comfort it brings to many women who suffer from hospital anxiety. Being at home in their environment allows many women to relax and focus on their labor and coping with pain.
The constant interruption from medical staff, medical equipment, alarm fatigue, and the anxiety about medical interventions can slow the progression of labor for anxious moms.
On the other hand, Some women may feel more secure at the hospital. They’re surrounded by the latest medical equipment, technology, and hospital staff at their beck and call for emergencies.
These moms don’t feel like they can relax in their own homes; they can’t stop the anxiety and feeling that something bad may happen to the baby if they birth at home.
While others may find hospitals intimidating, preferring the privacy and relative peace of home. Furthermore, these moms say they want more control over their birthing experience, which is accomplished better in a home environment.
Take some time to consider where you feel the most secure, and what would be stressful and relaxing for you.
Preparation is key to having an at home birth
In any birth, preparation is a crucial element. Although you are birthing at home in your environment, preparing that environment is still an important task.
Making meals ahead and freezing them is essential. Don’t forget to have some food ready for your midwives as well. It might be a long morning or night; everyone needs to stay on their game.
Plan for an emergency before your at home birth
You must have a plan B if things don’t line up as you hoped. In labor, things can go sideways quickly.
So be prepared and have a plan B. You should make sure your local ambulance and emergency services can find you, and you might even want to alert them about the pending home birth depending on where you live.
Having a home birth can be a fantastic experience. It’s also a great way for moms to avoid dealing with the cons of having a hospital birth. But before deciding on birthing at home, make sure to do your research.