Why Choose Homebirth?

March 15, 2008

Until the beginning of the 20th century, the vast majority of births in the United States took place at home. It was not until the 1920's and '30's that hospital birth was considered to be an option for the general public. Jimmy Carter, born in 1924, was the first U.S. President born in a hospital.

From Home to Hospital: Where Is Safer To Deliver Your Baby

This shift from birth at home to hospital was partly due to the advent of the automobile, which made it easier to transport a laboring woman to the hospital.  Another factor which contributed to the change in birth place was physicians promotion of hospital birth. It was economically advantageous to have many women gathered in one place together (the hospital) to be cared for by one physician. Simple birth related jobs that didn't require the skill of a trained physician, such as comforting the laboring woman and checking her pulse and vital signs could be done by low paid assistants. Physicians also pressured legislatures to restrict or make illegal the practice of midwifery in many U.S. states. In addition, the claim that hospital birth is safer than home birth created a general fear of homebirth.

Warm and Familiar: Benefits of Homebirth

Among the majority of cultures around the world, birth is considered a natural family event which takes place in the warm, comfortable and supportive home environment.  Where better to go through the challenging experience of labor and delivery than among your closest loved ones, in familiar and welcoming surroundings? Where better to succumb fully to the "nesting instinct" that so many women have close to the onset of labor?

What is it Like?: Feeling Labor and Birth

Imagine the beginning of labor. You would like to relax a bit in the bathtub (if your water has not broken) or shower. Perhaps you would like to sit in a comfortable chair and listen to music. Maybe you are a bit hungry and would like a little something to eat. How about a walk in the garden or around the block? Then, as labor progresses and the birth becomes imminent, you lie down in your own warm and welcoming bed. Imagine wrapping that amazing new being in a warm, soft, freshly laundered baby blanket. After the birth,  your husband stays with you for as long as you both desire. If you have older children, imagine them joining in this incredible feeling of joy and thankfulness that your baby has finally arrived. In contrary to this, if you had planned a hospital birth, you would have been  packing a bag frantically with a few essential items,  and racing to the hospital as fast as possible. What a difference!

At Least Imagine It: Homebirth

There is no hospital birth plan, and no hospital, no matter how "mother friendly" that could replicate the experience of a homebirth. Every healthy mother with a low risk pregnancy and healthy fetus should at least imagine the possibility of a homebirth, even if she ultimately decides that it is not for her.

***This article solely represents the opinion of the author. To learn more about home births, click here.

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