Very few pregnant women opt for home birth today. That isn’t because it is risky or isn’t convenient but because it isn’t a norm anymore. Home birth was the natural choice for most women before the modern day hospitals and nursing homes shaped up. Today, couples and families tend to make reservations at hospitals several months in advance. Some hospitals remain chockablock at certain times of the year and that makes things difficult for innumerable couples. Besides, there is the financial factor which one has to bear in mind.
If you are considering home birth, then you must do so after some deliberate thoughts. More importantly, you should know what you are signing up for. In other words, you should know the home birth pros and cons.
The Pros of Home Birth
Freedom is the first major advantage in home birth. You don’t have to comply with any regulations or any policies of any organization. You have the free will to do whatever you want and to setup the space in any way you feel comfortable. You can choose certain shades for the walls, you may have lights of your choice, you could opt for water birth, you can have some aromatic candles or even use aromatherapy. In your home, you can do whatever you feel like as long as it is not unsafe for your child or you. Other than that you don’t have to listen to doctors and nurses or read a list of rules and restrictions that most hospitals have.
2. Minimal Intervention
In home birth there is minimal intervention. The moment you walk in or get admitted in a hospital, you would be under stringent supervision. Whether it’s your water or fetal monitoring, episiotomies or medication, there would be multiple channels of intervention at different stages. You should know that once any kind of intervention begins, it is only the start. You would continuously need that intervention. At home you wouldn’t have any such intervention. This is desirable for many women.
3. Increased Chance of Natural Birthing
There was, is and always will be a debate between natural birthing and a c-section. When you opt for home birth you are more likely to have natural birthing. At home you wouldn’t have doctors and nurses pursuing you to opt for a c-section. It is actually a business practice in hospitals. C-sections cost more and they are quicker for doctors. They can attend to more expecting mothers in a given span of time. C-section is convenient for mothers as well but one must not have to be compelled to choose either.
4. Lower Health Costs Involved
The greatest advantage of home birth is possibly the monetary aspect. There isn’t a hospital bill to foot, you don’t need a physician and a gynecologist and a nurse or a midwife attending to you all the time. You can do away with useless or excess intervention and monitoring equipments which will also inflate the bill. If there is some kind of financial problem then home birth is the only option, else someone wants to take a loan or run into debts.
5. Be in the Comfort of Your Home
Home birth is actually more comfortable for many women. Contrary to what some may believe home birth doesn’t make labor painful. This perception exists because many people feel that medications and epidurals are at easy disposal when a pregnant woman is in a hospital. Home is familiar territory. A pregnant woman is going to be at ease there. Moreover, rushing to the hospital after the water breaks is often a very exhaustive and traumatic experience for most women.
Home birth would also allow you to drink and eat whatever you want. You should exercise caution but you don’t have to resort to popsicles and ice chips which hospitals would compel you to take till after you have given birth.
6. Less Risk of Infections
Home birth is the least risky when it comes to infections. Hospitals may be kept clean and sanitized but your home is a private place and you know how clean and sanitized it is. Moreover, there aren’t other patients like in a hospital not all of whom may be healthy. A hospital isn’t just for patients. Visitors too carry in infections and may infect others.
7. Be Near Your Loved Ones
In regards to visitors, home birth will allow you to see your loved ones more often.
The Cons of Home Birth
1. Lack of Insurance Coverage
One concern with home birth is the lack of insurance coverage. Only a few policies will cover expenses incurred during home birth.
2. Pain Relief is Not Readily Available
Pain relief or epidural is unavailable during home birth. In the absence of trained nurses and doctors, birthing can become a messy experience.
3. Parents Are Responsible for Paperwork
The paperwork pertaining to the baby’s birth, including the certificate, would have to be arranged by the parents.
4. Emergency Care is Not Immediately Accessible
One of the most concerning shortcomings of home birth is the possibility of getting help if there’s any complication. Emergency care or help may not be immediately available.
Home birth will not do away with the need for postpartum help.