Why I am so excited to have a home birth
Many of you already know that we are planning a home birth for our baby girl coming in August :) Initially I get a lot of curious looks & questions on that – is it safe? Are you by yourself? Isn’t it scary? Who cleans everything up? So I thought I’d write a little to share my feelings on it.
I started considering a home birth about halfway through my pregnancy with K, after reading several natural childbirth books & watching The Business of Being Born. In these materials, home birth didn’t look scary. It looked peaceful. And relaxing, and really, very safe. And the more I learned about home birth the better it sounded…
- A home birth means no unnecessary interventions. At a hospital, policy often means a routine IV, restriction from eating and drinking, use of Pitocin to induce or speed up labor, and administration of drugs, all of which can work against a laboring mother when not medically necessary (this article does a great job of explaining how.) American hospitals also have a 33% C-section rate, where the World Health Organization says this should be around 5-10% (you can check your hospital’s rate here – Celebration Health is at 35% & Winnie Palmer is 43%.)
- A home birth does not mean have your baby at home alone. Midwives are highly trained to attend & assist normal birth (85-95% of all births are considered “low-risk”), as well as recognize when there is a problem that requires transfer. You receive the same prenatal care as you would at an OB or birth center, with appointments every month until 28 weeks, then every two weeks until 36 weeks, then every week until you’re baby is born, including tests & lab work. They also bring emergency medical equipment to your home birth with them & are able to administer oxygen, start an IV, perform CPR, & more. We are having this baby with the same midwives I had with Kaden, & they are truly amazing. I feel so comfortable knowing that they want the most natural birth for me & my baby just like I do, instead of feeling like I have to defend my desires against policy like I would in a hospital (i.e. “I do not want an episiotomy. No, I do not want any drugs. Please leave the cord intact until it’s done pulsing. I don’t want my baby taken anywhere away from me. Please do not give her a bottle of formula. She does not need the Hep B shot right now.”) I really want to be as peaceful, relaxed, & comfortable as possible while I’m in labor, & able to just focus on having my baby, & I know they will help me do that.
- A home birth keeps you & baby away from any hospital germs. Your body (as well as baby’s) is already accustomed to the germs present in your home, & unlikely to be affected by them. Hospitals on the other hand are a great place to pick up all sorts of foreign germs, since it is where people go when they’re very sick.
- This one is a little less serious, but I really like the idea of not having to leave my house while I’m in labor. Last time our birth center was 45 minutes away, but I don’t imagine any amount of time in a car would be especially pleasant when you’re in active labor. I’m also looking forward to not worrying about having everything packed that I may need, and that I’ll have a refrigerator full of food. And then once our baby girl is born, we just stay put & enjoy being with her while the midwives & birth assistants stick around for a little while, clean up, & make sure everything’s okay.
So once I realized that a home birth was basically the same as using a birthing center, with the added perks I mentioned above, I was really sold. I’m honestly excited about it. I think it will be an amazing experience for our family in so many ways. Can’t wait to tell you all about it :)
I also want to add to all of this that I truly hope sharing my thoughts & opinions doesn’t make anyone feel any sort of judgement for having a different birth experience. I know there are absolutely factors where medical intervention is necessary, and if a situation like that arose for me I would use it, and I’m grateful that it’s been there for my friends who have needed it. I just wanted to take the opportunity and share my thoughts a little on our choice for this birth.