In the U.S., home birth is still relatively rare as a birth option, though it has become more prevalent in recent years. Unplanned home births can occur when a pregnant woman goes into labor but cannot deliver at a hospital. In most cases, however, a certified nurse or midwife plans and performs home births. Before COVID, approximately one out of every 62 births in the nation happened at home. In 2021, there were over 50,000 home births in the United States. This was a 12% increase over the year before and the highest since at least 1990.
In obstetrics, giving birth in an accredited facility is deemed the safest option. However, it also recognizes that each pregnant woman has the right to make decisions regarding her health. Although home birth is generally considered a safe option for most pregnant women, it’s important to note that it can be risky for some individuals. For instance, if you have a history of health problems, you should avoid giving birth at home. Women considered low-risk can still be more prone to experiencing neonatal death than those who deliver at a birthing center or hospital.
If you are considering giving birth at home, ensure that you have been continuously healthy throughout your pregnancy and not experiencing any complications. A certified nurse-midwife can help ensure that you and your baby are taken to a hospital quickly if necessary.
Pregnant women who have previously given birth through a C-section are not allowed to have a home birth. According to a study, attempting a vaginal birth at home has a fetal death rate almost three times higher than hospital birth.
Many women choose to give birth at home instead of in a hospital due to unsatisfying previous encounters with hospitals. They cite various factors, such as the number of staff members and interruptions. Many women felt they were not being heard and respected by the hospital staff. They noted that having a home birth helps them feel more empowered and able to make their own decisions regarding their health. Due to the relaxing and familiar environment, home births can reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage and vaginal and perineal tears.
Before considering a home birth, you must speak with your healthcare provider about the possible risks of this type of delivery. Start the process for a certified midwife far in advance. This individual can help you give birth at home safely and effectively. Having a plan in place is also essential during a home birth. You must ensure that you have a way to get to the hospital in case there are any complications. A lack of progress in labor or changes in the fetal position can lead to an emergency visit to the hospital.
One of the other essential factors to keep in mind when considering a home birth is the expense. It’s estimated that around two-thirds of all home births are self-funded.