Home Birth Advocacy, Home Birth Safety, Pregnancy

Preparing for Natural Birth in the Hospital vs. Home Birth

5 Comments 14 December 2010

A common comment, (sometimes a broken record) those planning on giving birth at home, or have birthed at home, hear is “you’re so brave!”

We shrug, lay claim to how giving birth really has nothing to do with that, saying, or thinking, women who give birth in hospitals are the brave ones.

Those who have heavily researched giving birth in hospitals today, take into account the massive increase in cesarean sections, inductions and maternal mortality (the United States is currently ranked #41 in the world – should it be better than that?).

When we learn that home birth is as safe as giving birth in a hospital for low-risk women, the answer seems simple. Stay home (and stay the hell out of the hospital).

But this post isn’t supposed to be rah-rah home birth.

I want to talk about the very different strategies women implore when planning to give birth naturally at home and the hospital. Because despite the odds, (1 in 3 women giving birth in hospitals will have a c-section) there are plenty of women giving birth naturally in hospitals. I have proof in several friends.

Increase your odds of giving birth naturally in a hospital.

You can have a positive hospital birth experience!

One major perk of giving birth at home is making the decision who to hire as a midwife. Search the web, pick up the phone and interview as many experienced midwives you can find.

As much as this advantage is touted by the home birth community, main-stream hospital birthers may not know they have the same right.

If you don’t like your doctor or midwife in the hospital where you are getting care, FIRE THEM.

One of the single best things you can do to ensure a better birth experience is to find a care provider who sees eye to eye or at the very least, respects your ideals and personal wishes.

If you’re birthing in a hospital, write a birth plan.

This is important because it can act as your go-to Q&A when nurses you haven’t met before arrive on your birth scene. Be sure to go over your birth plan with your doctor or midwife well ahead of time.

HIRE A BIRTH DOULA. Yes, I meant to write this in all caps, it’s that important.

Mentally and physically prepare for home birth

Giving birth at home takes a different kind of self-advocating responsibility.

The women who would say you’re so brave for giving birth at home might very well be thinking of your nuts for choosing a situation where you’re unable to get an epidural. <wink>

Funny thing is, I’ve heard from plenty of home birthing women who, head just above the water in full transition, thought they were nuts for not taking the drugs either!

Home birth requires planning, stamina, determination and confidence in yourself. There is no falling back on anything but yourself, the work you’ve done to get there and your birth team.

The quiet, uninterrupted space of home is just what many women need to birth peacefully on their own time. But…

Sometimes, for some women, giving birth in a hospital is safer than giving birth at home.

Complications arise. Some women simple aren’t eligible to give birth at home.

Likewise, there are plenty of situations when giving birth at home saves women for completely unnecessary interventions. It happened to me! Had I birthed in a hospital, I would have had a c-section!

Wanting a safe, peaceful and natural birth all comes down to personal preference and the determination to get what you want, (within reason) no matter where you are.

Blessed birthing!

Your Comments

5 Comments so far

  1. Rachel H. says:

    Thank you! I would have had a c-section too, had I birthed in a hospital. I pushed for over 2 hours, and this was almost 24 hours after my water broke.

    I was a textbook c-section. Water breaks, labor doesn’t start, once labor does start 24 hours later the pushing phase goes on and on.

    Thank god I was able to birth in a birth center (detached from a hospital). I chose birth center b/c our house was being renovated.

    Next birth will be at home :)

  2. Ashley says:

    I had a natural birth, in a hospital and was very fortunate to have a great support system that respected my wishes! It starts from the beginning though. I went straight to a mid-wife with a very low intervention rate, my husband was supportive and advocated for me, and I had my mom there to be my momma bear and step in for me if I couldn’t (Since I was delivering 6 weeks early they wanted me hooked up at all times just in case but she made sure they did it in a way where I could still move which saved me from pain medication!).

    My first question when my water broke to my mid-wife was will there be intervention since I started laboring so early and she was very comforting that my body knew what was best and we would let it work it’s magic unless there were major complications. I feel like a lot of the hospital midwifes and nurses get a bad rep sometimes so we need to make sure we acknowledge they great ones and I had the best!

    Now the downside to delivering in the hospital and early was having the neonataligist who had to come in once my dear son was born just to make sure everything was fine (he was perfect even early at 6 lb 1 oz and no need for NICU!) I didn’t know it at the time but was a formula advocate and told me that b/c of blood sugars I couldn’t nurse right away and my son would need formula. I wish I knew then what I know no and just refused the formula because it killed my self esteem when it came to nursing and I eventually gave up.

    So overall my experience was a great one but that being said as long as I carry my next baby full term I want a home birth because I simply am not the kind of person that likes hospitals and if I can be at home with my family I’ll take that road!

  3. tina says:

    I just had a VBA2C about two months ago, I totally agree you have to do your research for the right care provider. I had interviewed a midwife for a home birth and she recomemended my midwife in case homebirth didn’t work out for me. I loved my midwife, we got along great she listen to me and truely cared about my birth experience!

  4. tina says:

    I just had a VBA2C about two months ago, I totally agree you have to do your research for the right care provider. I had interviewed a midwife for a home birth and she recomemended my midwife in case homebirth didn’t work out for me. I loved my midwife, we got along great she listen to me and truely cared about my birth experience! I laughed moments after birth w/my son on my chest when she offered to call the many ob’s that said I couldn’t have a vbac and tell them I could!

  5. Deanne says:

    I too had a wonderful in hospital birth…all natural!!! It was something that I was very passionate about in the beginning…I had a mid-wife through Associates in OBGYN in Grand Rapids MI…it was the best ever. Those women know what they are doing. About the time I decided I was crazy for going all natural it was time to push and I had a beautiful baby girl…over all it took 10 hours. I had to go straight to the hospital when my water broke at the mid-wives office because I tested positive for the Strep-B strand…so it was penicilin for me during the first stages of labor(that I wish I could have skipped as I don’t like antibiotics all that much) however I wanted nothing to hurt my baby!!! I got what I wanted but it was because from the very beginning my husband and I were very adament about what we wanted this experience to be like. Gotta have the support system…I would however consider a home birth next time around…


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