Home birth is safe; So why the misconception?

You know what I love the most about my job? Being able to support all kinds of families on their journey to becoming parents; either for the first time or for another time. It melts my heart seeing new life come into this world and I just cant get enough of it. Many of you know that for my second pregnancy and the birth of my youngest son Roman, I had a home birth. Home birth to some is considered not safe and they’d rather be in a hospital. If that is your opinion, I am not here to sway your thoughts in any way, but I do want others to know that home birth IS safe.

My home birth was an insane roller coaster, but truly amazing; one ill never forget. If we decide to have another child later on down the line, I would definitely want to plan another birth at home. Why is there this misconception that having your baby at home is not safe and the worst thing you could do for the health of yourself and your baby? I think people are looking at it the wrong way. In my opinion, if you do your research, have a great provider, are considered low risk, and have a solid back up plan, then what would deter you from having your baby at home.

home birth
Pic via Chelsey Jones Photography

Things to Consider:

When deciding to have a home birth you most definitely need to plan for it. Whether it is with a midwife or you decide to free birth (having no medical provider to assist in the birth), you MUST do your homework. Birth isn’t just something you go into without planning for. Whether its at home, the hospital or a birth center, you must come prepared.

Even though home birth is more rare here in the U.S. it is slowly on the rise. Home birth is safe and is SO rewarding. If not planned correctly though, there can most certainly be some drawbacks. Organizations such as the World Health Organization, the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the American Public Health Association all support home and out-of-hospital birth options for low-risk women, so talk to a provider to see where you stand in the risk factor.

Like myself, more women are wanting less medical interventions during pregnancy and birth and if you try having a hospital birth, sometimes your wishes are not heard; especially in black women. I wont touch on black women in America today because that deserves a post in its own. I will just say though, that unfortunately women are not heard no matter how loud they talk.

Home birth is safe, but is it right for you?

Home birth is safe, but it can come with risks. When considering to have a home birth these are the things to consider and ask yourself:

  • Can I afford to hire a trained health care provider to assist in my birth? These would include a Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife or Direct entry midwife ( a midwife whose education and experience meet certain standards.
  • Does my midwife have the proper skill set to transfer me to the hospital when red flags arise?
  • Am I pregnant with multiples? This is usually a higher risk, but I have seen women with multiples birth at home.
  • Is my pregnancy considered low risk?
  • Do I have any outstanding medical conditions?
  • Did I have a previous cesarean? Also higher risk, but have definitely seen HBACs at home.

Birth is a risk in itself, no matter where you plan to have your baby. The old folks used to say ” Its the closest thing a woman’s body can come to death.” Its just one of those things you have to decide for yourself when it comes to where to birth your baby. You might be wondering, why do people even consider home birth if hospital births are so common?

Why Home Birth?
  • More control over your birth space
  • Its cheaper than a hospital birth
  • Ability to be in a more familiar and comfortable place
  • The decision on how many people to allow in your birthing space
  • Be able to have children present if you choose to (This was important to me)
  • The ability to not have so many unnecessary medical interventions
  • Religious concerns that the hospital may not abide by
  • Labor management can differ
  • The ability to birth the way you want because its YOUR BIRTH
home birth is safe

There are most definitely times when a home birth turns into a hospital birth and considered no longer safe for mom and baby. To me, it is the same as when a vaginal birth is no longer safe in the hospital. Usually when a hospital transfer is made it is because of the following:

  • The baby is in distress
  • The mom is looking for pain relief
  • Labor has stalled
  • Hemorrhaging
  • The mom experiences hypertension

Those are just some of the reasons, but are usually the most common. Having a skilled midwife with you to help monitor all of these things, especially the red flags can put your mind at ease when deciding whether or not to plan a home birth. The truth of the matter is, some women do end up in a hospital transfer and its okay. You didn’t fail at birthing the way you wanted, but things happen and our plans can change.

home birth misconceptions

The end result…..

So, can everyone birth at home? The answer is simply no. Not every woman has a low risk pregnancy and many women have medical conditions to deem it just not safe. For all the other low risk women out there though, you should definitely consider it if you are comfortable birthing your baby at home. Just because there are some risks, doesn’t mean its unsafe because there are risks in all walks of life. It is up to you to make the best decision for yourself, because in the end its your birth and no one else.



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