Women who choose to give birth at home are in the minority, but homebirths are growing in popularity in Australia. The number of women opting for homebirths doubled between 2009 and 2010. More and more women are choosing to have their babies at home. The reasons behind each decision is unique to the family situation, but common reasons to choose a homebirth include:
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #1: Comfort Factor
At a homebirth, there is no fluorescent lighting, no uncomfortable hospital bed, no beeping machines and no strangers walking in and out of your room while you labour. You will be at home – a familiar environment you feel safe and secure in. You will have access to all of your belongings, and will be able to move around the house at will. You can light candles, listen to music, eat ice pops from the freezer, and take a stroll around your garden if you fancy some fresh air.
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #2: Invite Only
It’s your home, so you get to decide who is present at your birth. Whereas a hospital may limit you to two birth partners, at home you can choose to have as many people as you like. Older siblings can be present to welcome the newest member of the family. You can choose to have your mother or best friend there to offer a helping hand during labour, or care for any existing children. You could choose to have a birth photographer present to capture the experience for you.
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #3: Location, Location, Location
If you give birth in your own home, you have more control over where you give birth. If you want to give birth in a pool, you can hire one and, assuming there is no medical reason on the day, you should be able to access it during labour if you want to. In a hospital or birthing centre, you may find that there are only so many birthing pools available – and there is a risk that there will not be one available on the day.
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #4: Staying Put
Choosing to give birth at home has the added benefit that you do not need to worry about when the time is right to head to the hospital. Some women worry about arriving too soon and being turned away, or too late and giving birth in the hospital car park. If you’re planning to stay at home throughout the labour, you’ll always be in the right place.
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #5: No Journey
If you decide to give birth at home, you won’t have to take a car journey during labour. Some women find the car journey – going outside, enduring a bumpy car ride, and checking in at hospital – quite stressful, and some feel it disrupted their labour experience at least temporarily.
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #6: No Sharing
The midwife attending your homebirth will be looking after you and your baby, and no-one else. In a hospital setting, you may find that your midwife is caring for a number of women during the early stages of pregnancy. Some women report being left alone for long periods during early labour. If you choose to give birth at home, your midwife will stay with you throughout, allowing you to feel safe and supported during labour.
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #7: No Hospital
If you are scared of hospitals, or would just generally rather avoid them if at all possible, then a home birth could be perfect for you. It’s important that you feel safe and relaxed (well, as much as is possible) during labour, so you should choose an environment where you feel safe. If you have your baby at home, you may be able to avoid hospitals altogether.
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #8: Background Noise
If you give birth at home, you will be surrounded by familiar sounds, allowing you to feel safe during labour. In a hospital, there will be beeping machines, the hustle and bustle of a busy maternity ward, and even the sounds of other labouring women. Women often report hearing the moans of other women in maternity wards, which can be scary, especially for first time mums who are in the early stages of labour.
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #9: Privacy
Privacy plays an important role in helping women to feel safe during childbirth. At home, you don’t need to worry about unknown medical staff entering your room, and you won’t be faced with a sea of strangers if you decide to leave the room. You’ll be able to control who is present at your birth, and will have the run of the house without worrying about bumping into someone unexpectedly.
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #10: Reduced Risk
Women who choose to give birth at home have a reduced risk of medical interventions. IVs, epidurals, forceps, ventouse and ceasareans are only available in a hospital setting. Risk of infection to both mother and baby is also higher in a hospital setting.
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #11: Hospital Transfer
One of the reasons some women find the idea of a homebirth scary, is ‘what if’. What if something goes wrong? What if labour is taking too long? What if something is wrong with me or my baby? Firstly, it is important to remember that the risk of complications and interventions is much lower for women giving birth at home. Secondly, if labour isn’t going to plan, you will be transferred to a hospital. Your midwife will organise a transfer as soon as she suspects something isn’t right, and she will accompany you to the hospital.
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #12: Own Bed
One of the most commonly heard reasons for a choosing a hospital birth, is the lure of your own bed. Once the baby is born, and your midwife has gone, you will be able to snuggle up as a new family in your own bed. You will be at home with your new family straight away, you won’t need to wait to be discharged before you can take your new baby home. Your partner will be with you for your first few days of parenthood, instead of having to stick to hospital visiting hours.
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #13: Recovery
Childbirth is exhausting, and you and your baby are likely to be in need of a good long sleep once it’s all over. Being able to snuggle down in your own bed can help to ensure you get a good sleep – once you’ve been able to draw your eyes away from the amazing new life you created, that is. You won’t be stuck on a hospital ward with three other women and their newborn babies , trying to block out the noise so you can get some rest. You’ll also have access to all of the food in the fridge. You’ll be able to eat whatever you like, and not rely on whatever the hospital is offering that day.
Reasons To Consider A Homebirth #14: The End
Once you have that baby in your arms, and have delivered the placenta, you will be able to get showered, changed and into bed to start your life as a new family. You won’t need to wait around to be discharged, you’ll already be home.
If you would like to know more about hiring a doula, please read the following BellyBelly articles:
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If you want to know more about birth pools go to the best place to find them: