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Homebirth is the process of giving birth to your baby in your own home. While it may sound taboo to many, for some its the way they wish to welcome their new family addition into the world. When pondering your childbirth options, study the pros and cons of homebirth carefully before making a decision. Make sure you involve your spouse/partner and physician or caregiver in your thoughts on childbirthing so that the best possible decision can be made for you and your new baby.  

Pros of Homebirth

Laboring mothers are in a state of intense pain and having the comforts of home proves to be beneficial at the management of pain. While giving birth at home, you can use a birthing pool, bath tub, shower, or even a variety of positions to get through labor. If there’s OTC pain relief medication accessible, like acetaminophen, you have the option to take it without risking harmful effects happening to your baby. You are also able to listen to any music you like, or watch any television programs you like which can help you to lessen the tension that can increase pain. You are also free to eat and drink at your leisure which can help you feel more energized for the duration of your labor.

Homebirth allows you the freedom to keep friends and family involved in the birthing experience. Family is valuable by all means, and having the support of the ones you love can get you through this wonderful and trying time, it’s also great for bringing loved ones closer together. Your spouse/partner can be free to be as involved in the process as you wish him to be, and he can also provide the loving hands that deliver your baby into the world.

Since your home is resided in by you and your family ( with the exception of visitors occasionally ) there are less health hazards posed to your newborn. Hospitals play host to multiple contagious aspects due to the number of ailing or infectious persons entering the facility such as MRSA, TB, hepatitis, and flu. At home, you can rest a little easier knowing the health state of each person involved in the homebirth.

When choosing homebirth as a childbirth option, you are in control. You have the authority to say who can attend the occasion, where you want to labor and deliver, and what environmental aspects are to be in place. For instance, you may allow your sister to be involved in the event but opt to say your uncle cannot. You can also choose to deliver in the tub, your recliner, a birthing pool, or your own bed. It’s all in your control with a homebirth. You say what environmental aspects you want in place such as darkened rooms, brightly lit rooms, hot or cool air temperature, and even the detail of using your favorite scent or air freshener throughout the home.

Cons of Homebirth

You may run the risk of encountering an emergency situation such as the need for a c-section. Sometimes during labor, your baby may turn into a breech position that makes vaginal delivery impossible, or life-threatening to your baby. You may also have hemorrhaging after the delivery which is common in some cases, but can be life-threatening to you. At home, there are no operating rooms readily available to you, and depending how far away your home is from the nearest hospital, your risk of losing your life, and/or the baby’s life if you can’t get there quick enough. Heaven forbid anything like that should happen, but it does happen .

There’s the chance that you may feel the need to use strong pain medication such as Demerol or epidural, and pain relief options like these aren’t usually accessible at your home. If you have a midwife attending the birth, he or she may have some form of pain control that you may use, but the option of an epidural is out of the question.

Your midwife/birthing attendant may not be able to get to your residence in time. Weather conditions, sickness, or other situations may occur that can keep your caregiver from reaching you. Most midwives have a back-up plan for this type of situation, but sometimes, even their back-up methods can fail. It’s important that you and your spouse/partner know what to do if the need arises to deliver the baby yourselves. You will both be responsible for handling all complications yourselves, delivering the baby yourselves, and managing your after delivery care until help can be attained.

You may face strong opposition from family and friends when choosing a homebirth as a childbirth option. Traditional medical practices have increased over time making hospitals or birthing centers appear more favorable and more capable of successfully dealing with labor and delivery. Your friends and family may feel that it is just too taboo or unethical to avoid using a medical facility that employees advanced medical care staff, uses hi-tech equipment, and can act swiftly in an emergency situation. This con of homebirth is especially true in your older family members that may not have had access to all of the new medical advances during their own children’s births, and they may view you as “crazy” for passing up the opportunity to utilize such modern services.

It’s a very personal decision to make, and one that requires careful consideration. It’s best to thoroughly discuss the topic of childbirth options and home birth with your physician or midwife. There may be factors related to your health that will refrain your choice of a home birth. Problems like hypertension, diabetes, breech baby, hemophilia, and multiple others can label your pregnancy high-risk, and most care providers do not encourage home births at all if you fall into any health topic which is labeled high-risk factors. Try to discuss your options often with your spouse/partner and provider so that you will be certain of your decision before your due date. Your decision should be based on your preference for childbirth and your physician/midwife’s advice.