When a woman gets pregnant, she usually begins the process of looking for a provider. What many people don’t realize is that the provider they pick is tied to a place of birth. The majority of births occur at the hospital since that is where the majority of birth providers deliver babies. Very few births, 1.26%, occur at home due to a belief that giving birth at home is not as safe as at a birth center or hospital setting. Here is an article that supports making an informed decision about homebirth.
Most women who are planning to have a homebirth have done a good deal of research and have weighed the risks and benefits of their choice. There are many reasons families choose homebirth including past experiences, support network, beliefs about birth and other reasons. Here are some of the most commonly cited reasons.
7 of the Top Reasons Families Choose Homebirth
1. To Avoid Risks/Interventions Related to Hospital Births
Research has consistently shown that low-risk women in the US who chose home or birth center birth have lower rates of intervention when compared to those who chose hospital birth. These interventions include cesarean birth, operative vaginal delivery (forceps/vacuum), induction/augmentation of labor, episiotomy, and lower rates of intervention-related maternal morbidity, such as infection, postpartum hemorrhage, and genital tract tearing (source).
2. They had a Bad or Traumatic Birth Experience in the Past
For these women, dissatisfaction with a previous hospital birth led them to choose a homebirth. They may have felt unheard, unsupported or coerced and have had to process their birth experience and want to avoid having that happen again. One out of every 3 women experiences a traumatic birth in the US.
3. Autonomy – More Freedom & Control
Many women choose to birth at home to have more control over their labor. At home they can go where they want when they want. They can eat and drink when and what they want. They can move however their body and baby need them to move.
Labor and birth outside the hospital often progresses more easily, partly because labor is less likely to be disturbed.
4. They Desire to be a Partner in Their Care
Homebirth providers usually treat families as partners in care – educating them so that they can make informed choices. Prenatal visits tend to be longer and are as much about monitoring physical health as they are about the woman’s wellbeing. By the time she is ready to give birth, she is well-prepared and has built a relationship of trust with her provider. For this reason, families tend to be more satisfied with their birth experience
5. They want to Deliver in Comfort of Home
Some women choose homebirth for the sheer comfort, knowing they will have so many more things how they like them at home. To them the hospital’s bright lights, constant monitoring and interruptions seem counter-productive to encourage labor.
They know that hormones work much better at home. For instance Oxytocin, essential to labor, causes the uterus to contract and helps labor to progress. This hormone, usually present at intimate moments during our life, is sometimes called the ‘shy hormone’ because it does not like being observed.
6. Ability to Choose Who is Present During Labor & Birth (family, friends, doula)
The ability to have whomever they want at their birth is a big reason a lot of families choose out-of-hospital birth. Partners often feel more included in a home setting and children can be involved as well if the family wishes. Many families were/and still currently are forced to shift gears during covid due to hospital visitor policies (i.e.- grandma can’t visit baby at hospital).
7. They live in a rural area and lack access to a hospital
Families with limited options, may choose homebirth simply because there is no hospital or birthing center within a reasonable distance. Rural providers become absolutely essential in these situations.
Know Your Options
These are some the most often cited reasons for choosing a homebirth, but there are a host of other reasons. No matter what setting you choose to give birth in, it’s important to know your options and spend time researching those options. Pregnancy by Design created the birth profile assessment which helps you quickly learn which place of birth is best suited to you based on your personality, birth knowledge strengths and weaknesses and more.
Disclaimer: Pregnancy by Design’s information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always ask your healthcare provider about any health concerns you may have.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Birth Settings in America: Outcomes, Quality, Access, and Choice. Retrieved from https://www.nap.edu/resource/25636/interactive/
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