Deciding Between A Hospital Or Home Birth
24th November, 2023

Over the past years, home births have become a more appealing option for parents. For some, it may be the idea of being surrounded by their home comforts, or for others, it may be their wish to have the baby born in a more calm environment. Whatever the reason, they are becoming slightly more common. But, why is this? What are the pros and cons to home births?

Advantages

A familiar setting- A lot of people find being in a familiar environment (such as their home) calming and more suitable to them. This can help with nerves and anxiety commonly felt by parents when they are approaching the birth of their children. It can also help eradicate any fears that parents may be feeling- the hospital environment can be very daunting and overwhelming to some, and controlled, steady feelings are always going to be best for labour. Therefore, for some people, it is more suited that they chose to have their baby from their own home. 

Increased Control- Home births allow parents to have more of a say over how they would prefer the labour to happen, with advice and supervision from a midwife of course. This can include preferred labour positions and medical interventions. Without the hospital setting, parents can freely have more of a say of how they would like the labour to progress, and this can include utilising their home.

Prioritised Care- When you are in your own home, it is just you, your birth partners and the selected healthcare professionals. This means that you are at the centre of the care, there is no need to worry about distractions etc. There is a stern focus on the care of the parent and not anyone else around, which could happen if you chose to give birth in the hospital setting. A birth plan set by the parent will be implemented and followed, which allows more focus on what mum really wants.

Reduced Medical Interference- At home, you will face fewer medical intervention i.e. epidurals, episiotomy etc. This can reduce stress of parents who may have had fears surrounding interventions that may be required or suggested. Also, certain medical interventions can be a risk to both mother and baby during birth, including cross contamination and infection. Some parents want their birth to be as natural (without interference) as possible. 

Mother and baby after home birth.

Disadvantages

Safety & Risk Factors- Not everyone will be suitable for a home birth. There are factors that can affect parents from being able to deliver their baby from home. These factors can require a hospital setting where strict supervision is available, along with a wider range of medical equipment. Things like high blood pressure and diabetes can affect you having a home birth. Also, the position of the baby can affect the likelihood of home birth- if baby is breech, a home birth is far less likely due to the complications. 

Outcome- It is not guaranteed that hospital care will not be needed if you have a home birth. Sometimes, unexpected circumstances can arise which require more intricate medical attention, not always available at home. Or, it may be that a different healthcare professional is required to provide assistance. If a home birth does not go as planned, both mother and baby are put at risk, with the need for specialised care being temporarily unavailable. However, if something like this were to occur, there would be a healthcare professional with you to asses and help the situation.

Preparation & Clean Up- A lot of preparation is needed when welcoming a baby, especially straight into your home. It is important that you have a clear birth plan and you have everything available that you may need. This includes sheets, towels etc that will be needed to help reduce mess. Then, once the birth is over, you are going to have to make sure everything is properly disposed of and tidied so that you can welcome your baby into a clean, safe home. 

Links

For more on home births, click here.

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