Deciding where and how to give birth is a deeply personal choice. While hospitals have long been the conventional choice, people are becoming more open to the idea of home birth.
I won't hide my bias here. I had two home births and I absolutely loved them. Home birth can be an amazing, safe alternative to a hospital birth, and this option happened to be in alignment for me.
But is home birth right for you? Here are five reasons why you should go for that home birth – and one major reason to skip it:
You want to give birth in water
Depending on where you live and what your birthing options are, a hospital may not be able to guarantee a water birth. This is is something you can have more control over at home.
For many reasons I advocate working with a doula. One great perk is getting help with the set up and take down of your birthing pool. This also takes the load off of your partner or birthing support person so that they can focus on supporting you.
Your pregnancy is deemed low risk
Home births are typically only recommended for low-risk pregnancies. Depending on where you live, this may factor into the kind of medical help that you are eligible for (i.e., whether a birth practitioner is willing or able to facilitate your home birth).
You may be surprised to learn that outcomes for home births where I live, in British Columbia, are actually technically the safest option (the order is home birth with a midwife, followed by hospital birth with a midwife, then hospital birth with a doctor).
So while home birth can absolutely be a safe option, that's not always the case. If there are other risk factors or complications involved, that level of safety may be compromised. It's important to understand this and work with your health care provider to create a home birth plan that is safe.
You'll be more comfortable at home or you dislike hospitals
Oh, this was me! I really did not want to be in the hospital. I just wanted to stay home as long as I could. For my first birth, I didn't fully commit to a home birth, I just wanted to stay home as long as possible (then we didn't end up leaving).
It felt best to be in the comfort of my own home after giving birth. But no, that's not how everyone feels – and that's okay. I have many friends who loved being in the hospital for a day or two as they adjusted to their new life.
But if you feel like I do, being home is a major, major perk.
You want a birth experience with fewer interventions
What does that mean, exactly? An intervention in birth refers to any medical procedure, technique, or action taken during labour and delivery to manage or assist with the birthing process.
Studies have shown that home births are associated with lower rates of medical interventions, such as cesarean sections, inductions, and epidural use. Home birth is a great option if it is your birth plan/preference to involve fewer interventions.
Having a home birth is your dream
I never, ever thought that I'd have a home birth or even consider having a birth without an epidural. My learning journey took me from my original plan to a home birth and it turned out to be right for me.
But there are many people who just have a feeling that it is right for them. Or sometimes people have a challenging first experience with a hospital birth and so their dream is to do something different with their second birth experience.
Either way, if having a home birth is your dream, it's worth learning more about and possibly pursuing.
And here's one major reason NOT to have a home birth
It doesn't feel safe or right for you. You truly don't need any other reason not to have a home birth. If home birth doesn't feel like it's in alignment for you, then it's not. And that's okay.
Many people just feel better being in a hospital. For them, getting there is the thing that allows them to feel safe and relax.
It's amazing that we are becoming more open minded to home birth, but that doesn't mean it is the one right way to do it. Everyone deserves to have the birthing experience that is right for them.