Healthy, Natural Pregnancy: Considering Homebirth, Part 2

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Mommy-with-c-green-shirt

**Enjoying my sweet little guy in the early weeks after his homebirth. Would you believe that we have basically no pictures of his birth because either the battery died or the film ran out on all 3 cameras present? :) **

Last time I shared some of my reasons for choosing homebirth, and a bit about my experiences thus far.

This time I would like to bring to you a few other opinions, from some real life friends/family who have also chosen homebirth!

Angela, mother of 3
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Her first child was an intended homebirth, but was born in the hospital after induction due to dangerously high blood pressure. Last two children were born in her home, with the same midwife I use. Both babies had issues with their umbilical cord (one had the cord wrapped around it's neck 3 times, the other had an extremely short cord which could have presented problems). Regardless, both births ended safely and she would definitely choose homebirth again.

Here are some of her reasons:

  • You don't have to labor anywhere but in your own home, where you are comfortable, in your own environment.
  • You can have your hubby right there in bed with you after the birth.
  • Indulging in a special treat after the birth (Her treat of choice? A cappuccino!)
  • You can be more comfortable in your own bed and bathroom, and have everything you need right there.
  • It feels safer. There can still be complications, but a good midwife knows how to handle these.
  • You can choose to have any guests that you would like present at the birth.
  • You and your husband stay in charge of what happens to their baby. No fighting with doctors and nurses over their ideas about baths, feedings, etc.
  • She loves that her older children didn't have to go to the hospital environment to meet their new sibling, but could just visit and bond with the new baby at home.

Jessica, mother of 1 (soon to be 2).

Her first birth was a successful homebirth, also with the same midwife. She is choosing a homebirth again for this upcoming baby.

She says,

"I chose homebirth because I knew that I would be more relaxed in my home than in the hospital, and therefore it would make the labor and birth easier because I wouldn't be tense. I spent hours in my soaker bathtub and it was wonderful. Overall, it was an amazing experience that I would love to repeat!"

Amy (my sister-in-law), who just recently became a mother of 2.

I attended her first homebirth, which was very intimate, beautiful and complication-free. It was great to see her and her husband so at ease in their own surroundings, and relaxing soon after the birth. Her newest baby, born two weeks ago, arrived in quite the hurry (about 40 minutes) and so she was thankful that they had already been planning a homebirth, didn't need to attempt to get to the hospital and already had everything they needed on hand!

Here are her thoughts:

"My biggest reason for choosing homebirth is mostly about my comfort. I feel safe at home and I like that I can control my environment. I can do whatever I need to do. I also love being able to have a birthing pool.

Hospitals feel white and sterile to me, full of interruptions. I feel as though I couldn't be focused and safe. I trust my midwives and I know what they can do if something were to go wrong."

Want to know more about the safety of homebirth?

Homebirth: Safety and Benefits
The Safety of Homebirth: The Farm Study
Homebirth: As Safe as Birth Gets

This list is not exhaustive at all, but just a few links that I was able to easily find online. There are many books available, and most midwives should be able to provide you with reading on the safety of homebirth. When we made the decision to attempt our first homebirth, our midwife provided us with detailed information on the legality and safety of homebirth (with several studies and a lot of very encouraging statistics), including specifics for the province in which we live.

I could have gone more into providing you with links and studies and statistics, but the fact is that it's not my agenda to convince you that homebirth is safer than hospital birth. Truly, I just want to present it as a wonderful option and to simply whet your appetite on the issue. It's a decision to be made prayerfully and carefully, with both husband and wife in full agreement, to which there is no right or wrong answer. :)

For those who have had a homebirth, or are considering having one, are your reasons similar to the ones given above? What is it about homebirth that appeals to you?

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. “■It feels safer. There can still be complications, but a good midwife knows how to handle these. ”

    I have yet to see or hear of a midwife who can take care of an inverted uterus or where the uterus spilts open and the baby is “born” inside the abdomen. Or what happens if you have are having a home delivery and all of a sudden the heart rate plumets and all of a sudden you need a C-section. Can’t do that at home.

    There is a very good reason that there are hospitals and OB-GYN doctors. A midwife does not have the training that they have and while home deliveries were common 100 years ago, many women and babies died at home. Sure, you can spot some complications, but nothing is predictable.

    On the other side, if there are more home deliveries and more complications, will midwives be sued just as doctors are sued now?

  2. I wish a home birth was a option, but with a heart problem it is not possible. Complications have been a problem with all births and the labor is slow at first which takes a makes a great strain on my heart. My Dr. is great, she is all about hands off. She will let me decide on everything unless there is a major problem. She lets me decide on what I want as she says, I know my own body better than her and should make the choice. We would have lost the last two without being at a center as we live a hour from the hospital. Both where born not beathing and way to early to make it on there own. I have no problem with home births and pray it would be a option for my daughter someday, but there are real medical reasons some people just should not do it also.
    I was told I would never get preg, then when I did I was told I would never survive being preg., then later in the preg. that the babies would not survive close enought to term. Well I have been preg. 5 times and have 4 healthy children with me and one waiting in heaven. Those men in the white coats don’t know as much as God does. I trust he will have His will, and if he wants us to have more he will provide.

  3. I loved my homebirth! I had my first 3 children in hospitals and while I was able to have natural births it felt like I was having to work against the normal flow most of the time in order to have the natural birth I wanted. I always had to be one my guard to prevent anything from being done that went against what I hoped for.
    I know this is just me but I didn’t like being in the hospital at all. It wasn’t comfortable and I wanted to get out as soon as possible.
    For my 4th child we finally stayed home and I loved it. My labor which tends to be a little drawn out was able to happen in my own home where I could go take a shower or bath as I wanted, walk around in my own home, bake bread in the middle of the night while laboring rather than just walking meaninglessly around the hospital halls, lay in my own bed or sit on my own couch.

    Also it was so nice after the birth the get cleaned up right away in my own bathroom and get dressed in normal clothes and then just be able to cuddle with my baby. At about 1 hour after birth the baby and I were both clean and we (my husband, midwife, sister and I) could all sit down to breakfast together. Company could come and sit and admire the baby in the comfort of our own living room.

    I did appreciate having the midwife and a sister who helped a ton with cleanup and care. Also for all my births my husband has been an essential help in encouraging and back rubbing and just being there!

  4. Thanks for doing this post! I love hearing encouraging words from others who have successfully homebirthed, especially since I am planning my first one soon! My reasons for not choosing to birth in a hospital this time are the same as what you have listed (comfort, control, etc.) but also I really like not having to get up and rush around grabbing bags and kids, rushing to a baby sitter and then to the hospital. I’ll really enjoy being able to just relax in my own home, and not have to rush anywhere.

  5. Our homebirth was unassisted, although, it wasn’t planned that way. It was our fourth baby, and I have had all uncomplicated, vaginal deliveries. We knew, because of the contractions I had been having, that the baby would most likely come very quickly. My husband does have his EMT cert., and we had to stop twice to pray (and to calm the nerves!!!) We did not have the ability to have a midwife due to insurance.
    But, here are my most favorite things about our experience (which, again, might be unique in that we were unplanned and unassisted!!) And just to be clear, I am not advocating, or discouraging unassisted births… I think you must make the choice you are comfortable with. However, when there is a head coming out of you, I would suggest maybe not getting in the car. Just me. =)
    1. All glory goes to God that we are okay… it was not the doctors, the medical equipment, the wonderful nurses or doctors. But, this is double-edged. I was amazed that God created our bodies to do exactly what mine did, and I was also amazed that God protected us and nothing went wrong.
    2. The bond between my husband and I was changed forever (although I think this could be true even with a midwife!!) He was so much more involved, instead of a doctor, and you can tell both in his bond with me and with the baby!! I would recommend that if your midwife and husband are okay with it, let hubby do as much as is comfortable. There is a special grin that comes over his face as he proudly declares, “I delivered our baby!!”
    3. I LOVE getting to hold and nurse baby without arguing about his care, having him taken away for long hours, or anxiously waiting for husband and baby to come back to where I am. We just all got to be together.
    4. No hospital food. I got to eat what I wanted… and imagine how eager our family was to bring whatever food we wanted on their way to our house to see the precious baby!!! =)
    5. The kids got to see the baby just after he was born. He threw a blanket on me and ran to get the kids, “Your baby brother is here!!!!” It was such a joyous time for us all together, to marvel at what God had done.=)

    I’ll limit it to five… but, I just want to say blessings and grace to you all awaiting these precious ones. I just love babies. =)

  6. Breanna, I don’t personally know anyone who has done it (at least, not on purpose, lol!). I’ve read a bit about it, and I can understand some of the reasons why someone might choose to go that route.

    Personally, it’s something that my husband and I have discussed and don’t think that we would choose ourselves. We are so fortunate to be in a situation where we are able to have a certified midwife do all of my care, and attend our homebirths, and to have it covered financially by our medical plan. For me, I am not bothered by the presence of 1-2 midwives at my birth, and in fact, I welcome their care, their comfort, their suggestions, and their ability to handle things should a situation go in an unfortunate direction.

    I know of several birth stories (of friends) where although there was not an extreme danger, it was so helpful to have the experience and knowledge of the midwife present. What could have been a potentially dangerous situation was completely safe, because of her expertise. In fact, my first birth could have ended badly, had my midwife not taken charge of the situation and suggest that we transfer to hospital.

    As well, in my last birth, my son was born quite blue, and although he may have been just fine with no intervention, I was grateful that he was able to receive oxygen through the care of our midwife, while I snuggled and rubbed him immediately after the birth.

    All that said, while I wouldn’t want to condemn anyone for making the choice, and I know that it can be a positive experience for many people, it’s not something that I’m ready to do myself or to promote. :)

    Thanks for asking, though! :)

  7. breanna says:

    i’m curious your thoughts on unassisted child birth… willing to say…??? :) i’m a “uc’er” myself and just very curious your take on it…

  8. I’m having my baby in October, but I will be having a VBAC in an in-hospital birthing center an hour away. I want a home birth, but my husband does not feel comfortable (my first was a DISASTER that ended in a C-section, baby not breathing, etc. so he’s a little uneasy), so we found our happy medium. I have a doula and a midwife, and I’m going as natural and intervention-free as I possibly can (I plan on mostly laboring at home). If all goes well with this one and I’m able to have a successful, wonderful birth experience free of interventions, my husband is more likely to go for a homebirth next time!

  9. All four of our children have been born at home, and (Lord willing) we’re planning to have our fifth at home (due in August). All of our births were attended by a CNM (certified nurse midwife).

    I have loved home birth for all the reasons listed above. One of the main reasons that home birth has been so great for me is that my births tend to be pretty fast. I usually don’t even know I’m in labor until I’m in transition. I think knowing that I’d have to get to the hospital would make me nervous (I’d constantly be wondering if I was in labor!). With baby number 3, both of my midwives were at other births and one of them made it as I was pushing.

    With as much as I love home birth (I just feel most comfortable at home), my husband and I are both agreed that the main consideration is Baby and Mom’s safety. If there was ever a reason home birth might not be safe for us, we would rather be at the hospital. :)

  10. Homebirths are somewhat of a sensitive topic for me. I would have loved to experience a natural birth, preferrably at home but I would have “settled” for a birth center!

    My first pregnancy / birth was extremely dangerous and I nearly died. In fact I am still facing complications from it, the most recent being that I had to be sterilized as a hole was torn in my heart from the first pregnancy and if I got pregnant again I had a 70% chance of dying. I am all for putting my trust in God, but I believe that God wants us to do all we can (or can’t, in this case) and then leave the rest up to him. So I chose to be sterilized. If it is His will that I get pregnant again, I am sure I will.

    Anyway, it hurt for a looong time that I would never be able to experience a home birth. It’s still a sore spot for me. One of my good friends is planning for a home birth in September and I’ve settled with reading as much as I can to help her, and passing her great stories of wonderful homebirths.

  11. I would have loved to have had a homebirth with my son… in fact, we had planned one. We even labored (partly) at home, but wound up having to go into the hospital because my water had broken, and nothing was happening 36 hours later. (I was barely 1 cm, and hardly effaced.) They wound up giving me pitocin, and shortly therafter my son’s heart rate crashed, leading to an emergency Cesarean. Now I’m stuck with hospital births, because the only birth center in town closed down, and home births after Cesarean are not legal in Arizona. :(

  12. I used a freestanding birth center the first time as we were an hour from any hospital. The birth center was that far away too, but if any emergency happened, then I thought we could get to help quickly. We also lived in a state where home births were illegal, so we had to drive across the state line to be at a birth center. Now we have moved and are expecting #2- this time with a home birth. We are actually further from a hospital- more like an hour and a half, but I feel comfortable now because I know more what to expect and what God made my body to do.

    I was so thankful the first time around that I wasn’t in a hospital because I would have gotten pitocin (since my labor was extremely long), and then the problem was positioning, which the midwife was able to correct during labor, so I know I would have had a c-section had I been anywhere else. I think if I was in a hospital, I would always be nervous of what they were going to do to me or the baby- much scarier than a home birth!

  13. Jessica says:

    Just noticed a typo on my reasons… it should read…”easier so I wouldnt be tense.” Otherwise it doesnt make sense. ;)

    Jessica, the soon mother of 2

  14. Jennifer C. says:

    This time around we are going to have a homebirth. I didn’t choose homebirth at first b/c I wasn’t sure how I would handle a natural birth – or how my body would, for that matter. After 2 uncomplicated natural births in the hospital, I felt like I was comfortable about trying at home. Especially after our son was born (the 2nd). He was large 9lbs 9 oz. and they kept checking his sugar all day b/c it wasn’t “high enough” to clear him. I have a medical background and I could tell he seemed fine, but because of hospital “protocol” they had to keep checking and I was too tired to dispute this. So, Lord willing, this July we will be having our first homebirth with a really great midwife!!

  15. I would have a homebirth, if at all possible (which like I said before its not due to no midwives here). I would have one for similar reasons that you listed. Mostly because of the after the birth part though. Being at home and relaxing there and not having that hospital environment and interuptions. I couldn’t even sleep at the hospital, so I went two nights without sleeping (one for labour, one afterwards).

    Honestly as far as it goes for the actual birth I get so much in a zone that it doesn’t matter to me where I am for the most part. I thought the hospital atmosphere would bother me but I was focusing on the birth and I didn’t notice during the labour and birth.

    I hope that someday I can have a homebirth. My doctor told me that my last labour would have been ideal for a homebirth. Its too bad doctors can’t do them, since there aren’t enough midwives in rural areas (or any).

  16. I have had 3 homebirths out of my nine children, and I wish I had done it for ALL of them. Basically? It just feels natural at home. Can’t put my finger on it, but immediately after my first one, I told everyone there, “This is how God made birth to be!” What incredible experiences they were!

  17. Sounds nice! Hope this next one goes well also.

  18. I’d love to try for a homebirth in the future, but with the insurance we currently have they are not covered. Unfortunately, we don’t have the funds at this time to pay for the midwife out of pocket.

    However, we were very pleased with the birthing center where we spent time after our son was born. Yes, after, since he crowned in the parking lot and was born in a triage room :)

  19. my reasons for homebirthing were similar to yours. Another reason is simply faith in God instead of faith in doctors. I believe that our society puts a great deal of faith in doctors, as if they can thwart God’s will if he would have someone to die. I am extremely grateful for medical technology and how much can be done for us these days, but above all we must put our faith in God.