Giving birth at home

Giving birth at home

There are still women who prefer giving birth at home rather than in a hospital. This article will explore the reasons why women should choose or not choose home child birth.

In the past, most women gave birth to their babies at home. But with the coming of modern science, home birth is no longer promoted. Instead women are advised to give birth in hospitals or in birthing centres. Yet there are still women who prefer giving birth at home rather than in a hospital. This article will explore the reasons why women should choose or not choose home child birth.

When it is advised
Home birth is ideally encouraged for women with the following conditions. First of all the mother should have a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. Another is that there is an availability of a trained and experienced birth attendant. Next is that the home birth should be well-planned. Lastly, a modern hospital is nearby so that the mother can be easily and quickly transferred in case of emergencies.

When it is not advised
On the other hand, home birth is not encouraged when: (1) the mother has diabetes or high blood pressure; (2) a trained and experienced home birth attendant is not available; (3) the mother thinks she will not be able to stand the pain of labour and delivery; (4) the mother experienced or is at risk of complications such as preterm labour, pre-eclampsia or a breech position of baby ; (5) the mother had a previous cesarean delivery or a uterine surgery; and (6) the spouse is not supportive of home birth.

The advantages that home birth can give to a mother are the following. First, she is in a familiar and relaxing environment with family and friends around when she gives birth. Second, she is more in control of the birth because she can decide on the environment she wants. Third, she is free to make herself as comfortable as she wants. Fourth, she can enjoy the comforts of her home. Fifth, she is not subjected to potentially problematic medical interventions. Sixth, she will have more attention, care, observation and monitoring by a trained birth attendant. Seventh, she will feel more capable and confident as a mother after giving birth. Eighth, she will have immediate bonding with her baby. Ninth, she will be able to breastfeed right after birth which is equally beneficial for her and for the baby. Finally, it is less expensive to give birth at home than to give birth  in a hospital.

Before you decide to have a home birth, several drawbacks should be considered. One is that if you cannot anymore stand labour pains, there is no option for an epidural. Two is that if complications such as exhaustion from labour, premature rupture of membranes, fetal distress, cord prolapse or hemorrhage arise, you have to be transferred to a nearby hospital. Three is you might feel the disapproval or discouragements of family, friends and physicians. Four is you are held responsible for every decision or preparation for the homebirth. Fifth is the lack of privacy due to the presence of family and friends may restrain the labour.

How to make it safe
Once you decide to go for a home birth, below are factors to be considered and preparations to be made to ensure safety:

1. Hire a certified nurse-midwife and an obstetrician with experience in home birth deliveries. Interview the prospective midwife who will assist you in the delivery. Get to know her and ask what you can do to cope with labour pains and other things you may need to know.

2. Prepare a back up plan. In case complications arise, you should have another plan to speed up your transfer to a nearby hospital.

3. Choose in advance a paediatrician to visit the baby within 24 hours after birth.  This is to ensure that the baby will not have any problem or complication.

4. Prepare the necessary equipment or materials for the procedure. Aside from the equipment that will be brought by the midwife or home birth attendant, you have to ask and prepare the other things that home birth will require.

To have a picture of what home birth is, watch this video about a woman’s options in giving birth at home or at a birthing centre.

If you are pregnant and are considering a home birth delivery, make sure that you have weighed the pros and cons of this type of delivery. No one else can decide what is best for you and for your baby. But your decision will definitely have an impact on your baby's health and safety.


For more related articles on childbirth and pregnancy, see:

Hypnobirthing Ensures Pain-free Childbirth

I gave birth at home!

Managing labour pain

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Written by

Karen Mira

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