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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Choosing a Home Birth

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A guide for expectant parents about the advantages and disadvantages of a home birth and questions that they should ask.

Once, giving birth at home was the norm. Over time, with medical advances and treatment becoming increasingly widely available, regardless of social and financial status, women began to give birth most commonly in hospitals. In current times, as long as mother and baby are both well during the pregnancy, women are given options about how they would like to give birth. Home births are becoming an increasingly popular choice. In England, current statistics show that one in every fifty babies is born at home. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of giving birth at home and some of the questions that you may like to ask before making your decision.

Advantages of Giving Birth at Home

One of the major benefits of giving birth at home is that you are in a comfortable and relaxed environment in comparison to a hospital. Many women feel that this helps them to cope with giving birth. Another advantage is that it avoids having to travel to hospital. This is very uncomfortable when in labor. It also avoids you being separated from your partner and any other children during labor and following the birth. It is more likely that you will have a midwife that you have got to know throughout your pregnancy, which many people find an advantage. A final advantage of giving birth at home is that it gives many women the feeling that they are in control of their own labor and that they feel empowered.

Disadvantages of Giving Birth at Home

There are also some disadvantages of giving birth at home that need to be taken into consideration. One of the most important factors to consider is that if there are complications, you may need to be transferred to the hospital and this takes time. The further you are away from a hospital the longer this will take. Another is that pain relief options during labor are limited when giving birth at home. For example, an epidural cannot be administered at home because this requires a qualified anaesthetist. Finally, in some circumstances, the midwife or doctor responsible for your care during your pregnancy may feel that a home birth may not be appropriate and will duly recommend that you give birth in hospital regardless of whether you and your baby are healthy during the pregnancy. Examples of these circumstances include the birth of twins or a breech baby.

Questions to Ask

When making a decision about your choice of birth and writing a birth plan there are some questions that you need to ask your midwife or doctor.

• If there are complications and it is necessary to transfer me to hospital, how long will this take?

• Will a midwife stay with me at all times throughout the labor?

• If I need to be transferred to a hospital, which one will this be?

• Will I be able to use a birthing pool and how do I go about obtaining one?

1 comment

Sharla Smith
Posted on Dec 8, 2011

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Elizabeth Nuttall

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