Humans giving birth at home has happened for centuries. NPR recalls how almost all U.S. births happened at home back in 1900. Although at the time, 1 out of 10 babies that were born at home died during childbirth, modern medicine has since reduced that rate by 93% in 1997. But, today, with the correct planning and conditions, giving birth at home can be a safe, beautiful, and memorable experience for the whole family.
Understand the Risks
There are several reasons why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists still recommend accredited birth centers as well as hospitals for childbirth. Statistically speaking, these medical facilities are the safest option for new moms. In the event of any birth-related emergency, a hospital or similar medical facility already have the staff and equipment necessary to respond and ensure safe delivery. At the same time, hospital births typically involve pharmaceutical pain relief and if necessary, invasive medical procedures, which are what those who are pursuing a home birth want to avoid. By understanding all the risks and conditions related to giving birth at home, you can plan for any emergencies that might occur.
Not All Women Can Safely Do It
Prenatal checkups are absolutely necessary to see whether or not a home birth is a viable and safe option. Health line lists the many conditions that can make a home birth unsafe. This includes women who are pregnant with twins, as well as women who have had a C-section prior to the planned home birth. The article also mentions certain conditions which may come up at the time of birth that may lead a midwife or obstetrician to recommend transferring to a hospital. This includes high blood pressure, the baby not being positioned correctly, arrested labor, vaginal bleeding unrelated to the birth, and the need or desire for pharmaceutical pain relief.
Find the Right Specialists
Not every healthcare professional is trained to work in private home environments. However, more and more health professionals are qualified to practice outside a hospital or clinic with Maryville University explaining how today’s medical graduates are now trained to treat patients in their home. This shift in how medical professionals are trained has led to more midwives, doctors, specialist nurses, and obstetricians who specialize in home births. A birth specialist who has experience in both home and hospital births will be able to assist you in the event that you need to transfer to a hospital.
The Research Doesn’t Stop Here
The number one way to ensure a successful home birth is by finding out everything you can about the procedure as well as your own health and capacity to give birth outside of a hospital. Again, prenatal care and checkups are vital for this purpose. An obstetrician who knows about your medical history is the best person to consult whether or not you can do it safely. Friends, family, and colleagues who have themselves given birth at home can tell you what to expect and what to prepare for. It’s also important to know the location of the nearest hospital or accredited birth facility from your home in case you need to transfer. The more you know about home birth, the better you and your partner, friends, and/or family can plan for the safe delivery of your baby in the comfort of your own home.
If you’re looking for more practical information about pregnancies, check out the answers to Why are prenatal vitamins essential? If you’re a partner who wants to know what you can do to help your wife (or surrogate) through their pregnancy, Healtheoz has a guide.
Pregnancy can be one of the most fulfilling yet difficult times for any woman. If you are planning a home birth it is best to do as much homework as possible. This will make it easier and safer.