I’ve had 5 babies (of 7) at home. They were among the most wonderful experiences of my life. So I’m sharing my 10 favorite reasons to have a home birth.
Top Ten Reasons to Have a Home Birth
- You’re the boss. Nobody tells you what to do when you have a home birth. If you want to putz around doing household chores until things get really serious, you can. Want to labor in bed? Go ahead. If you want to bounce on a big ball, you can. You can choose to listen to Simon & Garfunkel or Patsy Cline or Buddy Holly while you labor. You’re in control. Noone is going to tie you down on your back in a small bed for “monitoring”. Move, wiggle, crawl, squat, sleep, walk, make out with your husband. You can do whatever you want that will help you deal with the pain and move the baby out.
- You can invite who you want. Your kids can be present if you want them there. This is an awesome experience for them. Instead of being scary, they will learn what birth is really like (not how it is in the movies!). They will begin to bond with the newborn immediately instead of it being a stranger who comes home with mom. Your parents or friends can be there. They can help with your children or run errands, get food, clean up. Your people can be part of the experience of welcoming the new child into the world.
- You can kick people out if they’re not helpful. Midwives are good for this. They even tell people to be quiet and not bug you during a contraction! If someone is bringing bad mojo to your birth or impeding your progress, you can ask them to leave. In a hospital, you may be stuck with a mean grouchy nurse or an arrogant doctor with cold hands, and you can’t tell them to leave!
- No slippery slope of interventions. Interventions muck with nature and most of them have never been proven to improve outcomes (meaning, more live babies and moms). Most interventions are nothing more than CYA for the hospitals who are more concerned with liability and dollars than with your comfort. Induction leads to more painful and fast contractions. That leads to labor meds, which leads to sleepy babies who can’t help themselves down the birth canal. Which leads to C-section which leads to breastfeeding difficulties.
- Eat, drink, have baby. Did I mention you can eat and drink freely instead of being restricted by hospital regulations (which again haven’t been proven to be helpful and may lead to low blood sugar and ineffective/prolonged labor?). How are you going to get through the most intense physical work of your life without sustenance? Noone would expect you to climb a mountain without food and water yet that’s about how much energy you expend in a typical birth.
- You can labor or birth in water. If it floats your boat, you can labor in a big kiddie pool and enjoy the relief from pain. You can also give birth in water if you like, something that your hospital may not be willing to go along with.
- No scary drive home from the hospital. That white knuckled drive home from the hospital with an hours-old newborn was one of the most stressful situations of my life. It’s so nice to give birth to your baby and snuggle in to get to know each other in your own bed!
- Nobody takes your baby away from you. There are no concerns about your baby getting kidnapped or switched with someone else’s child when your baby is born at home. Most new mothers feel an intense need to be physically near their newborn and experience distress when the child is away from them. With a homebirth, the newborn exam takes place right there with the midwife. Your baby never has to leave your sight.
- Less pain. Fear increases labor pain. The comfort and familiarity of home decrease it. Most people associate hospitals with pain and death, therefore when they step foot into one, their body goes into an altered state that isn’t conducive to birthing (high adrenaline, stress hormones). At home around the things you know, you are free to be yourself. There are no frightening sounds and sights, no harsh lights, and everyone is there by invitation only.
- Confidence. Giving birth naturally is an empowering experience. Plus it makes the stuff that comes after it (breastfeeding, caring for a baby, toddler, child etc) easier. Why? Because you’ve learned to trust yourself.
Have you ever had a home birth? What were your reasons?