Comedian Jim Gaffigan sums up with class the reasons why women choose home births: The hospital is just too far, we want our babies to die, our husbands didn’t want to put on pants, and my personal favorite…“We didn’t want to give birth in a hospital gown somebody died in yesterday.”
At first you might be offended, until you realize that he and his wife had their four babies at home. Although I completely agree that giving birth at home has its perks when it comes to pants, there are 10 other reasons why the home birth is making a comeback:
- You can labor and birth in your own space.
One of the things I loved most about my birth was being able to do it at home. I could rest in my own bed, curl up on the couch and watch a movie, roll on the exercise ball, cook in my kitchen to pass the time, and pace in my own space. Seriously, it’s hard enough to poop in a foreign place; imagine giving birth in one.
- Your birth plan is respected.
Many women choose to give birth at home because they fear their birth plan will not be respected at a hospital – and rightly so. You can search high and low for the “perfect” doctor to follow your “perfect” birth plan, but when “B-Day” finally arrives, who knows which doctor will be working and what nurses you’ll have. The last thing a birthing mama wants to do is argue over her birth plan, and unfortunately, this happens more than you might think.
- You have continuity of care.
If you choose a homebirth, you’ll work with the same midwife throughout your entire pregnancy. Instead of 7- to 10-minute appointments you’ll have 60-minute appointments. A good midwife takes the time to know you and your baby, and this relationship establishes trust and a bond that is essential to a healthy birth and delivery. By the time your baby is born, you’re no longer strangers, which is a good thing. What’s more personal than a stranger checking out your hoo-ha? Which brings me to my next point…
- Your hoo-ha will be relatively undisturbed during a homebirth – minus the bowling ball that’s about to come through it.
There is nothing more frustrating than being on a hospital bed and having somebody you don’t know constantly checking your lady parts. It is unnecessary, disrupts labor, and is just plain weird.
- You can birth in any position.
Ball, bed, bedroom floor, it doesn’t matter. You want to squat against a wall, you can do it. You want to birth in the tub, have at it. You want to birth on your side, on all fours, or knees to face, go forth. Nobody’s stopping you, and everybody’s game.
- You can eat, stuff your face, and stuff your face again.
I know…women who give birth at a hospital can’t eat because of the insanely low risk of aspiration should a c-section be needed, and because a doctor doesn’t want to catch poo instead of your baby. But seriously, have you ever labored for 45 hours and tried to push a donkey through a keyhole on an empty stomach? Try running a triathlon on nothing but ice chips. When you’re at home, you are free to stuff your face, not because you’re craving a steak but because you need energy to finish the race.
- A homebirth carries a substantially decreased risk of medical intervention.
According to a large prospective study by the British Medical Journal, a homebirth substantially reduces the risk of obstetric interventions including forceps, vacuum extraction, episiotomy, epidural, and caesarean section. More often than not, it’s these unnecessary medical interventions that cause the “emergency” situations that require a hospital in the first place.
- A homebirth is just as safe (if not safer) than a hospital birth.
A planned home birth attended by a licensed midwife is associated with very low and comparable rates of perinatal death, a 50% lower risk of pre-term birth, significantly lower rates of mother mortality, and a 97% birth experience satisfaction rate. The largest landmark study of U.S homebirths confirmed these findings and also included women who would normally have been considered high-risk (i.e., breech, VBAC, multiple gestations, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes).
- You can have the best of both worlds.
Just because you give birth at home doesn’t mean you can’t have the benefits of a hospital, should you need one. A good midwife always comes equipped with a good emergency plan…and the ability to recognize if and when you need to use it.
- Women who give birth at home have quicker and easier recoveries.
It’s true. Women who experience a home birth seem to bounce back quicker. This could be due to the lack of intervention, or because the uterus shrinks faster without drugs, you can rest in your own bed without an interruption every five seconds, meals are home-cooked, long herbal baths soothe the wounds, or you have the intimate care of your companions. Either way, if giving birth at home makes me feel less like I’ve been run over by a monster truck, crushed by a semi, hit by a deer, and left on the road to die, sign me up.
Maybe you’ve never had a home birth. Maybe you’re thinking about it, or maybe like me, you were intrigued by the mystery that so many women before us have experienced. Either way, you’re in good company. These are just ten (of the many) super cool reasons (in addition to not having to wear a dead person’s hospital gown) that might make you want to be a part of the “crunchy mama home birthin’ baby movement.”
And just in case you wanted a good laugh, check out this skit on home birthing and tell us why you chose a homebirth below!
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