Giving birth at home has the potential to be an incredible experience, but it’s not for everyone. Let’s explore some perfectly good reasons NOT to choose home birth.You’re too afraid of what other people think or don’t want to stir things up. You WILL get backlash and criticism and “I’m just warning you because I care about you” kinds of comments from family members, friends, and medical professionals when you opt-out of the hospital birth route. If you aren’t prepared to either tune that out or confidently explain your decision, you might not be ready to choose out-of-hospital birth.
You are incredibly pain-avoidant. If you’re a self-professed wimp when it comes to pain, and don’t have interest in learning how to move outside of that self-limiting belief and find new strength you never know you had, don’t choose home birth. Cos there are no epidurals or pain-relieving drugs available to you there. Natural childbirth’s defining feature does NOT need to be pain, however. There’s so much you can do to transform it and work with it… but you will need to put in the work to learn how to do that.
You enjoy having other people tell you what to do and calling the shots for you. Maybe you find it comforting to let experts and authorities direct your care and firmly inform you of what’s going to happen next regarding interventions and timeframes during labor and birth. If you are someone who enjoys relaxing into the authoritative directives of knowledgeable professionals, a hospital (and an OB) is probably a perfect choice.
You want a get-away from your older kids and your messy house. If you’re overwhelmed and need a vacation of sorts from your daily life, hospital staff will bring you all your meals and keep away visitors for you for 24-48 hours, which can be nice. Note: they’ll also come in at all hours of the night and day to interrupt your sleep and your bonding with paperwork, questions, various doctor check-ins, taking vital signs, offers of vaccinations, etc… but if you don’t mind the frequent intrusions, the change of scenery can be nice.
You’re nervous about the mess of birth ruining things in you your house. If you’re a clean freak and get hives over the thought of a speck of blood getting on your duvet, you might not want a home birth. Although, honestly, if you have. midwifery team, they’ll do such a good job cleaning up afterward that you won’t even be able to tell anything happened.. and you won’t have to lift a finger to do the clean-up, as you’ll be tucked into bed like a queen snuggling your new baby. But that’s got to be too good to be true, right?
You believe that continuous electronic fetal monitoring is a vital part of making sure your baby is safe. If the constant rhythm of your baby’s heart tones being mapped onto a strip of paper deeply reassures you that all is well and that any emergencies will be caught and responded to in a timely manner, stay in the hospital. Midwives use the more evidence-based intermittent fetal monitoring method, which has been shown to be just as effective (if not more so!) at foreseeing issues while also reducing the number of needless interventions, but it can be hard to believe that, I know.
All that matters to you is a healthy (aka alive) baby. Sometimes the ends justify the means, and so even if the process of getting there isn’t enjoyable or empowering, that’s a small price to pay for a healthy (living) baby. Hospitals are really great at delivering that. Ok, technically their stats of infant mortality and morbidity are not better than those of trained homebirth midwives, but there’s probably an error in the research, right?
You’ve been informed that you’re having a very big baby and therefore he/she might not fit through your pelvis. That third-trimester ultrasound estimated your baby’s weight to be in the 80th-90th percentile, so the chances are high that you’ll need some assistance from a vacuum, forceps, or maybe even a cesarean section to get him/her out, so it’s best to be in the hospital where they have those tools on hand to get your baby out when your too-small pelvis fails you. It’s true that third-trimester ultrasounds are notoriously inaccurate at estimating a baby’s size and that most women’s bodies won’t grow a baby they can’t also birth, but doctors are usually right and trustworthy in their recommendations, aren’t they?
You don’t want to have to pay more (or any) cash. Giving birth is expensive, but thank heavens insurance covers it! That $20k bill from the hospital will probably be mostly covered by your insurance, leaving you less than $5k to pay out of pocket. Phew! Or maybe you have one of the rare insurance situations that covers the hospital bill 100%! On the other hand, a home birth midwife is usually $5k or less, and that includes all prenatal care and 6 weeks of postpartum care for you AND your baby, but it’s still more expensive than sticking with an OB in the hospital and definitely not worth it if you don’t like highly-personalized, high-touch relational care.
You would prefer to just power through birth — escape the sensations of it, too! — and get it over with; no need for having a transformational rite of passage! The truth is that home birth invites you to do some pretty deep inner work (if you’re doing it right). There’s nothing automated or brainless about it. You’ll have to work hard to move out of old programming about what makes birth safe and normal, face your own fears, hone and lean into your intuition, and take radical responsibility for yourself, your baby, and your birth. If you’re not ready to sign up for that, home birth isn’t for you.
I hope this helps you clarify your decision!
And if it pushes you toward home birth but you know you’d benefit from some support and education along the way so that you can truly reap all the benefits, holistically, I have just the thing for you.
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