The idea of giving birth in the comfort of your own home is certainly an appealing one. However, it’s not the right decision for everyone. If you’re considering a home birth it’s important to balance the pros and the cons. Know the facts so you can make the right choice for you and your family.

The Downside to Home Birth

There are t hree big drawbacks when it comes to having a home birth. The first drawback is that your insurance may not cover it. That means the expense of the doula or midwife is up to you.

The second primary drawback is that there no anesthesia available to you if you’re giving birth at home. Many women in the hospital change their minds about anesthesia mid-way through the labor and delivery process. At home, you cannot change your mind. Epidural or other pain relief medications are not an option.

Finally, the third primary drawback is that if there is an emergency during labor and delivery then you may have to head to the hospital anyway. And there will be a delay in receiving care for you or your baby until the ambulance arrives or you get to the nearest hospital.

Some minor drawbacks to delivering at home include:

* Childbirth is messy. You’re going to want to make preparations for cleanup.
* Paperwork. The birth certificate will be your responsibility. Generally hospital staff takes care of this for you.
* Postpartum. If you deliver at home there are no nurses or physicians to check on you. You’ll want to arrange for postpartum help.
* You are responsible for cleaning up your baby and swaddling them. This may also be a positive depending on how much energy you have after childbirth.

The Upside of Home Birth

It’s very easy to see why a home birth would be so attractive. You’re able to experience this special moment in the comfort of your home. You can have more people around you if you choose which means more support.

* You can also sleep in your own bed after delivery. Often staying in the hospital isn’t comfortable or restful.

* At home you also have a bit more freedom to say what goes when it comes to your delivery. During the early stages of labor you can watch television, listen to music or just hang out with your family. In the hospital you can do these same things however it’s not as relaxing as it would be at home. You also control what happens to you. In hospitals they tend to tell you what they’re doing rather than ask you.

* Many experts agree that home birth is safer. Infant mortality rates seem to be a little bit better at home. And there’s less of a chance of a c-section or the use of forceps. This may be partially attributed to the fact that home births are less stressful on the mother.

* A home birth means you can give birth in whatever position feels right to you. And you can change your mind. In the hospital they generally have one way of doing things. Though, to be fair, many hospitals are broadening their options. Some even offer water birthing rooms now.

* When you give birth at home you’ll likely use a midwife or a doula. This can be a much more personal and positive experience than a team of doctors and nurses who have 50 other patients to tend to.

Before you decide whether to have a home birth or to go to the hospital there are some important considerations. Take a look at your local hospitals policies and procedures. Do they offer alternative birthing options? Do they provide private rooms? Are you a high risk pregnancy? If you are then a hospital is likely the best choice. More and more women are choosing to have a home birth. Take some time to decide which choice is right for you.

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