Deciding On Home Birth Versus Hospital Birth

By Tiffany Tseng. May 7th 2016

Since the idea of doing things “old school” tend to have an appeal on some people, the idea of giving birth at home rather than at a hospital may pop up as an expectant mother’s inquiry. Is there a better method of giving birth between the two? Is one more dangerous than the other? You can find helpful information between home birth and hospital birth in this article to help you make an informed decision.

Why Go With Home Birth?

While the topic of home birth is still hotly debated studies have shown that expecting mothers in optimal health can take advantage of home birth and reap its benefits. Those who choose home birth can have several benefits, including:

  • Minimal medical intervention. In a home birth, there is only one midwife present to help move the delivery along. In a hospital, the delivery room may be crowded with a multitude of nurses, the delivering doctor, and other medical students and interns. Such an environment can prove to be noisy and uncomfortable during labor. The calm and private environment, with minimum medical intervention, is sometimes preferred.
  • Greater sense of accomplishment. Many women who chose home birth feel a greater sense of accomplishment because they felt that home birthing was more “natural,” as they are done without “exterior” aid, such as drugs and medication. With only a midwife to ensure smooth delivery (versus various nurses), it allows the mother to feel the full responsibility, and the following sense of accomplishment.
  • Quality environment. The comfort level of home birth is more appealing at an emotional level, as you are surrounded by loved ones and family members rather than medical strangers. Also, you are giving birth in your own home, a familiar environment, minus the medical, harsh ambience of a clinical delivery room. The mother can have control over the lighting, music (if desired), and room temperature.

However, regardless of how healthy the expecting mother is, there should always be a “plan B” of going to the hospital should any medical emergency arise.

Things To Consider For Home Births

  • Absence of emergency medical equipment. There is no 100 percent guaranteed safe delivery, so in the state of any delivery complications, home birth will not have the proper equipment to rectify the emergency at hand effectively.
  • Not optimal for women over age 35. Since pregnant women over the age of 35 have a higher risk for miscarriage and birthing complications, home birth may not be optimal for those individuals.
  • Not optimal for multiple gestations. When a delivery consists of twins, triplets, or more, the multiple babies delivered tend to be at greater health risk versus only one baby per delivery. Women who are expecting more than one baby during the delivery should not consider home birth, but seek hospital birth to ensure safety.

Why Hospital Birth?

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Committee on Obstetric Practice feels that hospitals and birth centers are safer for delivery. Numerous physicians also advocate that hospital births are still at an advantage over home births for various reasons. These may be some factors to think about when deciding on the method of delivery:

  • Caesarian section. If any potential fetal complications are detected, the physician may choose to perform a caesarian section (C-section) to maximize the baby’s survival rate; this procedure cannot be carried out during home birth. Also, women who previously had births via caesarian section will not be able to choose home birth, as it places them at the risk of rupturing the uterus.
  • Mothers with preexisting medical conditions. Expecting mothers who have preexisting medical conditions should consider hospital birth over home birth. Pregnant women who have hypertension or diabetes can encounter delivery complications that may potentially jeopardize the mother and the baby’s life. Women expecting twins, triplets, or more are also not suited for home delivery. Hence, hospital-grade medical attention would be imperial for those women’s delivery.
  • Preterm birth. Women who are expected to deliver before reaching the full term should seek hospital delivery so any potential complications can be rectified easily. The infant can also be immediately taken care of by medical professionals right after delivery.
  • Ability to react to any medical situations. If any birthing complications were to arise during delivery, the hospital will be well-equipped for prompt reaction toward medical emergencies. They will have all the equipment to ensure the mother and the baby’s optimal health, whereas home birth may not necessarily provide the same service.

While this article can give some pointers and differences between the two birthing methods, it is still better to consult medical experts on the best suited method of delivery. Indeed, a large part of the decision is ultimately based on the health history of the expectant mother.


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