Home birthing is a popular option for mothers, and its popularity is growing exponentially as home economic situations decline. It is a double edged sword, however, and one I am very careful of when discussing birthing options. There are many factors to consider when deciding on a home or hospital birth, and many safety measures to take before plunging in.
First, if there are any complications with your pregnancy at all, even if they seem minor, I would not suggest a home birth. Also, if there happen to be any health problems with you, or there were problems during birth for previous children, go to the hospital.
Second, be sure that you do not attempt an at home birth without a professional. Whether you choose a midwife or a doctor to be by your side is up to you. You can have as many people as you like attend the birth in your home, and they can help or simply enjoy the event. But do not assume that because you have 6 family members helping that you don’t need a professional. Child birth is wonderful and magical, but it is also unpredictable, so be prepared. Also be prepared to transfer to a hospital if complications arise that need full medical attention, and be sure all of those attending the birth are prepared for such possibility.
Some benefits of home birthing are better comfort, a more relaxed environment, no need for the uncomfortable commute to the hospital, cheaper overall cost, and complete control over the delivery and who will be there. Disadvantages for home birth include having to meet the low risk criteria, the lack of anesthetics, having to find the right midwife or doctor to over see the delivery, and the possibility of having to transfer mid-labor or directly after labor if a serious problem arises.
Of course, the benefits of a hospital birth are obvious to most. A few of them are being surrounded by professionals should anything go wrong, the availability of anesthetics, and a greater ability to rest afterward. Disadvantages are just as obvious to me: higher cost, restricted power over how the delivery will be handled and who can be there, and the hassle of getting to the hospital in time. There are no advantages to having your baby in the car, except possibly a good story later.
These days, the probability of having a safe and successful home delivery is very high, especially if you’ve planned well and taken all the required precautions. Even so, it is not the best option for everyone. Just like possible labor induction methods, it is a decision that should be weighed and researched extensively before coming to any conclusion. Just be sure to ensure the safety as much as you can of you and your baby.