What are the Advantages of Homebirth Over Hospital Birth?

Posted in Homebirth, Pregnancy

Pregnant people choose to have their babies at home for various reasons, but some of the most common reasons include the following:

  • Belief that homebirth is as safe or safer than the hospital
  • Trust in birth as a normal, healthy process
  • Preference for midwives as caregivers
  • Increased options such as fewer vaginal exams, upright pushing positions, delayed cord clamping, or water birth
  • Desire to avoid interventions such as epidurals, intravenous fluids, episiotomies, or forceps/vacuum extraction
  • Previous negative or traumatic hospital birth experience
  • More control and choice in who is there, where to labor, what position to labor in, whether to eat and drink, etc.
  • Greater sense of being able to let labor progress physiologically without interference
  • Security and comfort of own home and belongings
  • Less anxiety and stress
  • Immediate, skin-to-skin contact with the baby and lack of separation from the baby
  • Easier breastfeeding initiation
  • Lower risk of having a cesarean birth
  • More family unity
  • Lower cost
  • Less exposure to hospital bacteria and other germs
  • Discomfort with hospitals, doctors, or medically managed birth
  • Desire for privacy and to avoid strangers
  • Higher satisfaction level
  • History of fast labor where it is difficult to get to the hospital in time

In terms of what the research shows, evidence-based practices are used routinely at homebirths. These include:

  • Oral nutrition in labor (being free to eat and drink as desired)
  • No routine IV fluids, amniotomy (breaking the water), or episiotomy
  • Encouragement for being upright, mobile, and active
  • Continuous, one-to-one support with a known, trusted midwife
  • Non-pharmacological approaches to pain management
  • Intermittent auscultation of the fetal heart rate (no routine continuous electronic fetal monitoring)
  • Individualized second stage management and support for spontaneous, involuntary bearing down efforts
  • Delayed cord clamping
  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact which promotes thermoregulation in the normal newborn, breastfeeding, and initial bonding

Interventions that are not evidence-based are used routinely in hospitals. These include:

  • Labor induction without evidence of medical necessity
  • Continuous electronic fetal monitoring
  • Artificial rupture of membranes to initiate or speed up labor without evidence of medical necessity
  • Routine placement of an IV and administration of IV fluids for the duration of labor
  • Restricting food and fluids during labor
  • Reclining positions for pushing and birth
  • Episiotomy
  • Immediate clamping of the umbilical cord

Wondering where I got this information from? Take my online childbirth preparation course and find out!

Childbirth Preparation Course (web-based eight-module program)
Promotes birth as a normal, physiological process and acknowledges that people have a fundamental right to understand all of their choices in childbirth. The course is appropriate for people choosing to birth at home, in a birth center, or at a hospital and addresses the circumstances around each environment. It is the goal of the course to address not only the many factors of pregnancy and birth but to also provide a space in which there is a sensitivity to and celebration of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, relationship status, and family framework.