The reasons that families choose to birth at home vary, and are often multi-faceted.
Birthing at home statistically reduces the rates of interventions such as cesarean section and episiotomy, which is a reason many mothers consider it. Laboring and birthing at home can be a comforting experience for not only mothers, but fathers as well. It is easier to be uninhibited in labor in your own space, which is helpful to the birthing process.
Water birth is another common reason for seeking out home birth, as many hospitals do not offer water birth. Laboring in water can provide pain relief in labor as immersion in water provides a feeling of weightlessness and the ability to easily change positions. Some mothers choose to stay in water to push, which may help reduce the rate of perineal tears.
For parents with other children at home, home birth is an option that allows the children to be involved as little or as much as the family chooses. This can facilitate a smoother transition as a growing family. Sometimes an older sibling is given a special job such as announcing the baby’s gender immediately after birth, cutting the cord, or dressing baby in her first outfit.
Recovering in the comfort of your own home is another reason that families choose home birth. While it is true that you are provided meals in the hospital, family and friends can (and should!) be willing to set up a meal train. You can also set back some freezer meals during pregnancy to feed the family while you recover and bond with the newest family member. A postpartum doula or mother’s helper is another option if you wish to be at home while having additional help.
Immediate postpartum care for mom & baby and a 2-day postpartum visit are provided in home as well.
This blog post was originally written for the Evansville Birth Network blog and posted on October 14, 2014.