There was a time, of course, when most births took place at home. It just wasn’t practical for a pregnant woman to walk several miles into town to get to the doctor. In fact, for the majority of human history, birth has taken place at home. There are a number of potential benefits to having a home birth, but there are also times when it’s just not advisable.
A home birth can benefit you in a few ways. First off, the experience can be somewhat less traumatic when you have it in the comfort and the familiar environment of your home. It may also help to avoid some of the fairly routine but often medically unnecessary interventions that can come with giving birth in a hospital. A home birth can save you money, too, although that should rarely be a primary consideration.
There are some women who should not have a home birth. In particular, women who have a high-risk pregnancy or who are likely to experience complications during childbirth shouldn’t probably have a home birth. Some examples of women that fall into this category include:
- Women that have certain medical conditions that cause pregnancy risks, including diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Women who have previously had abdominal surgery or a C-section. Of course, it’s worth noting that this doesn’t apply to every women who’s had a cesarean, as more than two thirds of women will be able to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).
- Women who have experienced certain complications during the course of their pregnancy. This includes women who have had preeclampsia, who have experienced premature labor, or whose baby is breech at the 37 week doctor’s visit.
- Women who are pregnant with twins or with multiples.
For women who have low risk pregnancies, home birth is relatively safe. Statistics tell us that the death rate for babies at home is similar to what it is in hospitals. Medical interventions, such as episiotomies and cesarean deliveries, are statistically much lower at home as well.
If you’re considering a home birth, make sure to discuss the risks and other implications with your healt care provider.