Homebirth is a safe and intimate experience that leaves women and their families feeling empowered by their birth experience. Your birth would take place in the comfort of your own home with your midwife by your side to guide you, support you, and help make it a safe and positive experience.
Homebirth is for women who have no major health issues. It enables a woman to have more control over her birthing experience, to labor in her individual way, and to have continuity of care with her care provider with minimum interventions.
It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that women in America started giving birth in hospitals. Before this time, homebirth was commonplace, and it was assumed that this is where a woman would deliver her baby. With birth being moved from the home to medical facilities, birth has changed from a natural process to a medical one. Modern medicine has brought valuable contributions to our lives, but it has also medicalized one of the most rewarding and life-changing experiences in a woman’s life.
Birth is a normal physiological process, and both you and your baby are affected by the care you receive on that special day. The day of your baby’s birth does not have to be one of tubes, needles, hospital gowns, and fluorescent lights, but can be one of closeness and gentleness as you birth your baby in your personal surroundings.
There are so many advantages to homebirth that far outweigh the possible drawbacks:
Possible Drawbacks from Homebirth:
- Delayed access to emergency surgery
- Possible transfer to hospital
- Possible lack of support from family or the community
Advantages of Homebirth:
- Promotes natural childbirth
- Holistic care
- Limits unnecessary medical interventions
- Fewer complications and cesarean delivery
- Continuity of care and individualized attention with care provider
- No time-lines to dictate labor progress
- Non-pharmaceutical forms of pain management
- More cost-effective than hospital birth
- Woman and family-centered experience
- Privacy, comfort and security of a familiar environment
- Facilitates family bonding and involvement
- Relaxed and peaceful setting
- Parents have more control over their birth experience
- Not subject to hospital procedures
- Freedom to move about, eat, drink, and bath as you wish
- No mother/baby separation
- Uninterrupted bonding and breastfeeding
- Reduced risk of infection for mother and baby
- Gentle experience for baby
There have been several studies on the safety of homebirth. Studies repeatedly show fewer complications during labor and delivery and for the newborn in the homebirth setting. The British Medical Journal published one of the most well known studies of over 5,000 women in North America who had chosen homebirth. The outcomes showed women’s high levels of satisfaction, with their birth experience and their midwives. The study also revealed a low rate of birth and neonatal mortality for women birthing at home. It also confirmed that a vaginal hospital birth is on average three times more expensive than a homebirth. The evidence in the study affirms the American Public Health Association’s recommendation to increase access to out-of-hospital services with direct- entry midwives in the United States. To access a one page fact sheet showing the results of the study, click here.
Other articles and studies on homebirth:
- gentlebirth.org and search for “safety of homebirth”