Before the advent of hospitals and modern medicine, all women gave birth at home – and today, many new moms are interested in returning to these ancestral roots! Home birth can be a safe, cost-effective option for healthy women with low-risk pregnancies.
What Are the Benefits of a Home Birth?
Giving birth in the comfort of your own home can be a blessing and a comfort for many women. The services of a midwife are generally less expensive than those a doctor offers, and home birth can be an extremely cost-effective option for women with low-risk pregnancies, sometimes cutting prenatal and hospital costs in half. Women who give birth at home tend to have more control over the process, and can surround themselves with family and friends for additional support. Immediate breastfeeding after birth also improves mother-child bonding and recovery.
Factors to Consider
Women without pregnancy insurance may consider a home birth for monetary reasons, but first-time moms-to-be should keep in mind that there's a 55% chance they will need to go to a hospital at some point during the birthing process. For women who have given birth before, this risk decreases to 10%, so home birth may be a more cost-effective option for experienced moms. If your family has a history of reproductive health issues or if you yourself are suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity, a home birth may not be the right choice for you.
Cost and Practicality
In general, home births are very cost-effective. The American Pregnancy Association quotes a figure of approximately 60% less than the $6000 - $8000 that parents can expect to spend on a hospital birth. This may not be the case if you have health issues, are expecting twins, or require unexpected emergency hospitalization, however, so talk to both your midwife and doctor before making home birth plans. Find out where the nearest hospital is in relationship to your home, and whether or not your midwife has hospital privileges, as these factors can be important if something goes wrong.
Choosing a Midwife
When choosing a midwife to supervise your pregnancy and home birth, look for someone who is also a licensed or registered nurse; these midwives will have access to hospitals and other medical procedures which others may not be able to provide. As with any medical professional, choose a midwife who makes you feel comfortable and secure; discuss your feelings about the birth and share any feelings or concerns which may come up. Your midwife should be committed to creating a birth experience that is tailored to your individual needs.
When to Go to a Hospital
In certain circumstances, even the most perfectly planned and orchestrated home birth can go awry. If you start to experience symptoms of high blood pressure, preeclampsia, haemorrhaging, or if your baby begins to exhibit signs of distress, a good midwife will transport you to the nearest hospital right away! Plan to have a doctor on board your prenatal team, and alert this person once you go into labor so that he or she will be available to meet you at the hospital if problems arise.
With care and proper planning, home birth can be a beautiful and loving choice for many moms-to-be.
Article on Home Births
Home births are frequently chosen by women who want to have a birth that is as natural as possible. The more and more that the health care community has learned about birth over the years has made home births a more attractive option. Most home births are performed by midwives who are specially trained and certified in prenatal care, labor, birth and postpartum services.
The good news is that home births are considerably more economical than hospital births foregoing any expensive hospital charges. Home births frequently cost about 60% less than a traditional hospital birth.
Potential reasons for a Home Birth:
If you are interested in having a home birth as a way to save money and reduce your expenses, your pregnancy needs to be considered low risk. A home birth might be right for you if you:
- Agree with the general philosophy of a midwife which is to interventions such as episiotomies.
- You prefer a more comfortable setting which includes the presence of friends and family.
- You desire the freedom to move around, change positions, take a shower, and eat or drink freely as you feel comfortable.
Probable reasons to not have a Home Birth:
It is recommended that you opt out of having a home birth if your pregnancy is high risk. A high risk pregnancy may include any of the following conditions:
- Chronic high blood pressure, or toxemia (also known as preeclampsia)
- Previous preterm labor
You home birth experience will be accompanied by a professional that is well qualified to care for your delivery. Midwives will bring all the professional and health resources necessary to provide you with a healthy birth such as oxygen, IV's, Fetoscopes, and medications.
What if a hospital is needed?
The good news is that in most cases a transfer to the hospital is not necessary. This is even more true for mothers that have given birth before.
You might be transfered to the hospital if you experience a complication such as premature rupture of membranes or high blood pressure. Another reason might be if the baby is experiencing a problem or under distress.