Home Birth Advocacy

Top Ten Reasons Why Home Birth Results in a Better Birth Experience Than Hospital Birth

25 Comments 18 August 2010

*list organized in no particular order

1. Home birth dramatically decreases risk for unnecessary obstetric and/or medical interventions, which increases safety and quality of birth.

2. Choosing your own care provider for your home birth means interviewing several midwives and deciding on someone who meets your emotional and physical needs.

3. After you give birth at home, enjoy a home cooked meal prepared by a loved one.

4. When you give birth at home, you decide who attends your birth. There are familiar faces of family and friends…and even your pet!

5. If you want to, take the clocks off the walls. Let go of time altogether and allow your body to move at it’s own speed.

6. The floors in your home are wood or carpet, not linoleum. The lights can be dim, (candles!) rather than glaring or florescent.

7. No interruptions at a home birth. Turn off the cell phones, pages and beepers. There is only the sound of your voice, soft music and the hushed voices of your birth team.

8. After you give birth in your home, you will see the location where you gave birth to your child and can tell them the story when they are older.

9. Feel the freedom of nakedness at home; your naked body and emotions.

10. During home birth, you are the boss. You call the shots. Who comes, who stays, what position you give birth in and where, how many times you get in and out of the tub, and who catches your baby.

Your Comments

25 Comments so far

  1. Sandi says:

    Ice Cream sundaes about 14 hours in… just cuz you feel like it!

  2. Megan says:

    Also, amazing VBAC support – no automatic repeat c-section, no continuous monitoring, freedom to labor without restrictions but with awesome, attentive care and guidance!

  3. Gaylee says:

    You won’t get bullied, yelled at, coerced into interventions you don’t want, birth raped.

  4. Carolyn says:

    Lovely post! Another interesting benefit that I’ve heard from Dads is that they feel ‘normal’ and in control at home. Men too feel more agency at home. The men I’ve spoken to after birthing at home, particularly those who’ve had prior experience with birth in hospitals say that they felt intimidated in hospital, didn’t know where to stand, sit or what to do – just tried to keep out of the way. At home, they felt they were in their space and everything was ‘normal’.

  5. pocketbuddha says:

    After a home birth, your baby stays with you to nurse & bond without interruption. He can look at you with clear eyes, smell you & your home instead of sterilized hospital linens, hear your breathing, heartbeat, and voice instead of some nurses who’s taken him away to be cleaned.

  6. Heather says:

    1. Can wear (or not wear!) whatever one likes

    2. Do not have to constantly be on guard against hospital staff wanting to do things to Mama or baby that you don’t want done

    3. No one insists that you stay in bed

    4. No needles or !@#$% monitor belts (my hospital birth happened because I was in a car wreck & the seat belt broke my water. My belly looked like Welch’s grape jelly from bruising. The monitor belt was NOT comfortable!!!

    5. No one trying to check your cervix mid-contraction (I am 38 years old–was 35 for my hospital birth–and have NEVER come so close to killing someone!)

    6. 2 hours after my homebirth, the midwives were gone, the house was clean, save for a load of wash to be run in the morning, we had eaten (real food, not hospital slop) and we were all 4 of us curled up in our own bed, with the dog & cat asleep in their customary places, and me tandem nursing the new baby and his then 17 month-old sister.

    7. After my homebirth, we didn’t go an y where for 2 weeks–and then it was just out to eat ’cause I had cabin fever. The midwives came to the house to check on us the first few times.

    8. My hospital baby had jaundice lights (which were not helpful with nursing). My homebirth baby had sunbaths.

    9. At my homebirth, no one tried to stick needles into my baby or assign a serial number to him. My homeborn baby is 22 months old & has never even been to a doctor. What for? He’s never had anything more serious than the sniffles. (Neither has his sister, who is 3–but she has seen a doctor a couple of times since she left the hospital, but not for reasons of sickness)

    10. I could actually do something useful during most of labor, rather than just being in the hospital dwelling on the contractions. I was doing housework till about the last hour.

  7. BerkshireMom says:

    The lighting can be natural sunlight or moonlight as well. You can have OPEN WINDOWS! Or adjust the heat for YOUR comfort. You can GO outside any time. Eat, drink, and labor. Screw ice-chips – who’s brilliant idea were those anyway?! No one waking you to give you a sleeping pill or draw blood. You are not on display for the new group of over-eager residents looking to “fix” your “problem”. Scream, cry, grunt, pray, sing, laugh, or be completely quiet – YOUR way. Oh, and you won’t have to tolerate the gal next to you screaming, grunting, praying, singing, laughing, or stonely silent. Your baby is not in a glaringly bright room with a dozen other crying infants being “cared for” by overworked staff who “forget” to use hand sanitizer or wash their hands, or to bring him to you for EVERY feeding after you specifically said breast milk ONLY. NOTHING better than falling asleep in your partner’s arms while watching your precious newborn breathe, and staying just like that, undisturbed, until you wake.

  8. Tammie says:

    Having my baby in MY OWN BED! and no one to wake me up in the middle of the night to …. take my tempature!!

  9. Jennifer S Jansky says:

    It was really easy being at home to be able to use my herbal remedies freely and without any argument from anyone. I got to have a wonderful herbal poultice that brought such huge relief right after my son was born!

    Great post! :)

  10. Stacy says:

    You can catch your own baby.

  11. catherine says:

    i have a friend who’s extremely well qualified midwife sister delivered her first baby with her at home. The baby girl never breathed on her own at birth. She was respiratory resuscitated and taken to hospital. A CT scan later showed that s…he had had a massive stroke inutero days before the birth. This was undetactable and unsurvivable. She died in hospital after taking her off the ventialtor days later. You can imagine the ‘flack’ they got from friends lambasting them for choosing a home birth at all (not very popular in that social group). But they stood firm in the choices they made. To this day (after the birth of a well brother), they insist that having her in their home- for even that short while was precious to them. And having her aunt bring her into the world was part of that special experience too. A sad experience but made more manageable by having been at home together for part of it. An unuaual reason I know, but still something to think about. To quote Dr Patch Adams: “dying is not a failure of medical science, it is the last act of living”.

  12. Caroline Flakelar says:

    Your children can see how a baby should be born; can welcome their sibling into the world and don’t have to be without their Mummy at all.

  13. Chelsea says:

    Getting to eat what you want, when/if you want.

  14. Cassandra says:

    I would replace #3 with sleeping in your own bed. Unfortunately not everyone has loving supportive people available to cook for them afterwards, but everyone does have their own comfy space to be in. Also, some people might enjoy a hospital providing food, even if it’s not that great. My birth center orders out food from local restaurants and it’s better than what I would get at home. Just a thought!

  15. No nurses constantly asking you if you want an epidural or telling you to lie down!

    No beeping machines to make your nerves go crazy.

    No shift changes.

    You can climb in your own comfy bed after the birth!

    Baby never leaves your side.

  16. Lisa says:

    Your “birth plan” says things like what CD you want playing during the birth and what scent of candles you want, and nothing about what interventions you DON’T want.

  17. Arianne says:

    I have to second Heather’s “no monitor belt” (ouch) and “no being checked mid-contraction” (holy crap ouch). But an unexpected benefit I found in home birth was that I felt uplifted and rejuvenated after my prenatal check-ups rather than drained, demoralized and whipped.

  18. Staceyjw says:

    Those are the best reasons you have for home birth? #1 is not even true, it is NOT safer to have a home birth. It’s true that really bad things don’t happen often, no matter where you birth, but if an emergency happens there not much you can do at home- hope your midwife/partner catches the complications and transfers you in time. But there are some problems, rare but they happen, that will result in death without immediate expert care/surgery. I think it’s fine if you choose to home birth, but to say it’s safer is just not true.

    FWIW, the hospital I went to was fantastic, I had a great
    experience there. all the “interventions” ended up being needed, but they could have been avoided. another area hospital even has a whole floor for natural birth with
    midwives, and just about everything on your list can be done there- even a water birth!

  19. I have three words: Your. Own. Bed. I absolutely LOVE my bed, and it was the most glorious place to be, both for the NAP I took when I reached full dilation (yep, I napped!) and also for comfortable sleep I got with my brand new baby right after the birth. No hospital could provide me with my memory foam mattress, and that was just ONE of the hundreds of reasons to stay put. :)

  20. Marla says:

    * You’ll never be expected to pee in a bedpan!

    I know that’s minor compared to so many other things, but I hated that about my hospital births soooo much! The last time, when they handed it to me I started to cry and just flat out refused. I made them unhook the IV for a lousy 3 minutes so I could pee in private. Geez.

    *Oh, and nobody will fuss at you if you fall asleep while nursing your baby in bed.

  21. Jen says:

    Staceyjw: current published research supports the assertion that home births have better outcomes than hospital births. The major emergencies that can occur during delivery are not myriad, there are 2 biggies: cord prolapse and placental abruption, and many times even the almighty dr in the hospital cannot save the patient from those emergencies. Sounds as though you have a knee-jerk reaction to home births. What is it about them that causes you to feel so strongly? Perhaps you should explore that.

  22. Meron says:

    It is so amazing to see this post after a long time advocacy on institutional delivery,as I am a midwife, I find it so difficult to accept and recommend home birth as a safer way of having a baby.Have you thought of the complications that may arise during or after birth on the on mums and little fellows?


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