Although it’s the most common way some moms do agree with the fact that a hospital birth can feel rather impersonal and might not be up their alley, which is why many choose to go the home birth route.
There’s nothing wrong with either method of having a baby; they’re just, well, different. Home births, while requiring plenty of research, are usually perfectly safe when performed by certified midwives or even a trained at-home nurse or doctor.
This can be an alluring aspect to the mom who doesn’t necessarily want to give birth to her baby in a hospital. There are many things to consider when opting out of the routine labor plan — but the first step to keeping it from being ‘routine’ is to normalize home births. So, while we’re not necessarily for or against them, we are going to provide some insight into why a mom might not be the best candidate for a hospital birth. Some of these reasons are personal while others are logical. And, as always, the choice is mom’s and mom’s alone.
20. A DOCTOR KNOWS THEIR PATIENTS PARTICULARLY WELL, BUT NOT AS WELL AS A MIDWIFE
There’s no denying that working with a midwife or doula can often feel as though it’s more personal than simply having a doctor. While it’s not always the case, a midwife caters to mom in a personal and emotional sense rather than just from a medical standpoint. The experience, overall, can feel as though it’s going smoother simply because, with a midwife or a doula, a mother isn’t just getting someone who knows about childbirth — she’s working with someone who knows about motherhood, too. A shift in focus such as this is something that many mothers notice as soon as they choose home births as an undeniable connection.
19. HOLISTIC METHODS CAN SOMETIMES BE BETTER FOR MOM
Although the studies might show it to be true, every person on earth will react to certain medical practices differently. More and more, we’re seeing parents who are slowly making the switch from a standard medical procedure to a natural, holistic method of treatment, which is part of the reason home births are gaining so much attention. Rather than take meds for an ailment while pregnant, a doula or midwife might have a holistic method for treatment that can often be easier on a mom-to-be. While this isn’t always the cure, it’s an option many moms feel comfortable trying first.
18. AN ALL-NATURAL BIRTH MIGHT BE THE GAMEPLAN
In the argument for natural births, home birth is often the way to go. That’s not to say, in any way, that a natural birth can’t be done in the hospital. However, in the comfort of a mother’s home, there won’t be any secondary or ‘alternative’ treatments or meds that are pushed on her in the event that pain management is needed. What is standard procedure in the hospital is not what a mother’s personal procedure might be, and this is something that a doula or midwife would respect in her home. The lack of pressure to submit to something hospital-prescribed might be something of interest to a natural-birth mom.
17. PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS CAN HINDER THE LABOR PROCESS
In the event of a pre-existing condition, it could be in a mom-to-be’s best interest to opt for a hospital birth. Unless, of course, she’s able to find a midwife or doula who specializes in said condition. It’s not impossible to find midwives with medical history or training and simply takes a bit of extra research to do so. A common misconception about at-home births is that they must be done by someone who’s not a medical professional, and that’s simply not true. While it might be more expensive, it is possible to find obstetricians who will perform a home birth.
16. MIDWIVES BRING MORE MEDICAL TOOLS THAN PEOPLE ASSUME
There is a stigma surrounding home births, midwives or doulas, that conjures up images of boho-chic women sitting around an inflatable pool chanting mantras while the woman in the center goes through labor. This is not the case. While a midwife is not a doctor, they are often trained nurses and/or trained in pregnancy, specifically, according to lifehacker.com. This means that they have a basic understanding of pregnancy—both the emotional and physical sides of it—in order to guide a woman through an uncomplicated pregnancy. However, with their medical training, they are also capable of minor procedures (such as stitching) and can perform them in the comfort of a woman’s home.
15. HAVING RECORDS OF PRENATAL CARE AND HAVING ONE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS
If a doctor or nurse that a mother really likes was able to come to all of her appointments and keep track of her pregnancy lifestyle, that’s like what having a doula or midwife is like. Not only will she care deeply for a mom-to-be’s physical health, but she’ll come in when needed to play a part in her mental health, too. Basically, she’s there to care for both mom and baby up until the point in time in which that baby enters the world. The experience, overall, is far more personal than it would be in a hospital setting and can provide comfort to moms who are not comfortable with doctors.
14. LABOR CAN SOMETIMES BE EVEN MORE UNCOMFORTABLE IN A HOSPITAL SETTING
This is a big one. Not all moms will thrive in labor when it comes to being stuck in a hospital bed. According to babble.com, having a midwife and giving birth at home can often open up a world of pain management options. As opposed to sitting in a bed for hours, in an uncomfortable position, and possibly unable to get up, a woman can move how she wants (within reason) at home. With the help of her midwife, a mom-to-be can trust that she’ll be in good hands and will have someone on her side who knows how to make her labor go much smoother.
13. IT’S NOT ALWAYS COST-EFFICIENT
Hospitals can be outrageously expensive. When comparing the typical hospital bill — which includes overnight stays for new moms, as well as meals — the cost can be astronomical. With that being said, home birth and hiring a midwife isn’t cheap either but can be a much more affordable option. For several thousand, a woman can find a midwife who is trained and experienced in home births. This cost could be doubled in a hospital setting and, if it’s not covered by a couple’s insurance, could end up being the pricier alternative. Of course, this all depends on whether a new mom is at-risk — but if not, home birth might be something to consider.
12. TOO MANY UNKNOWN PEOPLE IN THE ROOM CAN BE DISTRACTING
Hospital rooms, and hospitals, in general, can often be very stressful. With so many things beeping, bright lights, and people constantly in and out of the room, it can be a bit of a sensory overload for a new mom. At home, a midwife is able to administer an IV and can sometimes offer an epidural just like a hospital would. Additionally, there will be no strangers or unknown nurses rushing to her bedside to offer things she might not want. Again, this is a personal choice — neither way is ‘correct’; it all depends on what every mom is comfortable with.
11. SOMETIMES, THERE ARE RISKS BASED ON MOM’S HISTORY
In the event of a pregnancy that is concerning due to a previous pregnancy, there’s no law against not consulting with a doctor pre-home birth. The best thing a woman can do, in fact, is to first get the opinion of her doctor before making the choice to opt out of hospital birth. While midwives are often trained medically, some issues might come up that even they need a second opinion or advice on. If necessary, a woman should feel comfortable bringing her midwife or doula to her doctor appointments — there’s no reason she can’t have the best of both worlds in the event that calls for it.
10. INSURANCE WON’T ALWAYS COVER IT
We mentioned this briefly but to explain more in-depth, there are certain things that insurance won’t cover when it comes to hospital stays. If a new mom stays more than one night, insurance may only cover that first initial stay. If there are a certain number of meals allowed, insurance might not cover the rest. Additionally, insurance might not cover certain pain management options or delivery services, all of which can be tricky to figure out. None of this is of concern to a woman who decides on home birth as long as she’s due for an uncomplicated pregnancy — many of the techniques are holistic and it’s far more laid-back and subdued than it would be in a hospital, where everything under the sun is offered.
9. CLEANUP CAN BE SIMPLE AND EFFICIENT AT HOME!
The great thing about an experienced midwife is that she’s done this before. While some moms might be concerned about the post-birth cleanup, this is why everything is contained before mom even gives birth. Whether it be via an inflatable pool (most popular) or with the use of plastic sheets, cleanup is much easier than many moms expect. Additionally, a new mom will have the freedom to move as she can — meaning she won’t be confined to a hospital bed, introduced to the other people in a hospital, or restricted from seeing her baby immediately after she gives birth in order to rest.
8. NEEDING TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL DURING AN EMERGENCY CAN BE TRICKY
This would be a case in which an at-home obstetrician can be very helpful. Home births are not recommended for moms who are at risk for a complicated pregnancy but, in the event that a mom-to-be wants to go ahead with it, a certified doctor should really be in attendance. Again, this should be discussed with her doctor to make sure that all the necessary bases are covered. If a minor issue arises—something that a midwife is trained for—being in the comfort of home can often reduce stress tremendously. Keep in mind, midwives are trained on how to effectively deal with pain management, so if there is a true emergency, a hospital should always be the first option.
7. SOMETIMES, A WOMAN’S PARTNER MIGHT BE EVEN MORE SUPPORTIVE OF HOME BIRTH
Again, not everyone enjoys the thought of hospitals, even when it comes to a joyous event such as having a baby. If a couple can agree that home birth is the right choice for both of them, and mom-to-be is not at risk for any foreseeable issues, then there’s no reason not to go that route. In fact, it can often be much more of a personal triumph between a woman and her partner, who will be able to be there for her in ways that might not be an option in a hospital setting. In a home birth, a woman’s partner can actively be part of labor rather than just off to the side during it.
6. BREATHING TECHNIQUES ARE A NATURAL SUBSTITUTE FOR PAIN MANAGEMENT
As we said before, midwives are certified to help deal with pain management. It’s their job to guide a woman through everything she’ll feel during labor, including the unpleasant parts. This includes classic techniques such as breathing, in addition to stretching and knowing correct positions to help ease tension and pressure. This thorough understanding of a woman’s reproductive system is what allows them to perform their job with ease. Keep in mind that, according to WebMD, only certain states will allow midwives to administer a type of medical pain management. Other than that, all midwives are certified to teach natural, holistic methods.
5. NURSES ARE TRAINED ON WHAT TO DO IMMEDIATELY, BUT SO ARE MIDWIVES
Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) are licensed to practice, have college degrees, and passed their certification in order to be a midwife. If a woman is concerned about having a home birth, it’s this type of midwife she’ll want to seek out. If midwife training wasn’t complete and thorough, then the practice of home births would not be something that is legal. Just as a nurse would, a midwife is familiar with labor and the process of delivery. They’ll be able to help a mom-to-be through the entire process from start to end, as well as provide a personal touch to everything they do.
4. NOT ALL MOMS WANT SECONDARY TREATMENT
In terms of hospital births, not all moms want to be subject to what doctors will suggest. This is certainly not the case with every doctor, but many will push for a new mom to have an epidural or commit to some type of pain management. Additionally, since meds can be given freely in a hospital, moms might find that they’re offered things that they never planned on having or committing to. While it’s by no means bad to accept anything offered by a doctor, some moms prefer to go through labor naturally. Once again, for uncomplicated labor, this makes mom a great candidate for a home birth.
3. SECOND-TIME MOMS CAN BASE THEIR PREGNANCY OFF THEIR FIRST
If a mom isn’t sure about having a home birth for her second child, there’s good news: Second pregnancies can likely be based on how the first went. Obviously, the second pregnancy won’t always follow the first to a T, but if a mom was at-risk the first time, they’ll likely be at-risk the second time. If she had a c-section the first time, then there are circumstances in which she’s likely to have a c-section once again the second time. This type of pattern can help a mom decide whether she’s even a candidate for an at-home birth before she makes her final decision without consulting her pregnancy history.
2. IT’S FAIRLY EASY TO SET UP ANY HOME FOR HOME BIRTH
According to lifehacker.com, home births can even take place in places such as birth centers, which will have everything a new mom needs when she goes into labor. When it comes down to it, though, a midwife will likely leave mom in charge of her decisions and how she wants everything to be set up, as well as play out. Since the birth won’t be taking place in a professional setting such as a hospital, a mom-to-be could potentially gather things like books, music, even video games, as silly as it sounds, to distract her from the pain of natural birth. Additionally, most home births do take place in inflatable pools, something a midwife can definitely help with.
1. THERE’S NO REASON A WOMAN CAN’T CHANGE PLANS AND GO TO THE HOSPITAL IF NECESSARY
In an article written by Beth Skwarecki, who opted for a birth center and midwife for one of her pregnancies, she did have an event where she needed to go to the hospital. After realizing there was meconium in her amniotic fluid, she was brought to the hospital so both she and her baby could be treated. According to her personal account, although the issue was not a serious emergency, it was a red flag; in which case, the option to go to the hospital regardless was a good one. Having a plan B in the event of something like this or more serious can be helpful to ease any stress that can come with home birth.