What are the advantages/disadvantages of giving birth at home and in the hospital?

Choosing whether to give birth at home or in a hospital each have their pros and cons. What are the advantages and disadvantages from your experiences?

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26  Answers

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I had 2 hospital births and 2 home births. Every birth is a unique esperience but my home births were so much less stressful. What was nice about my first birth was I was able to use the tub for labor and that was very comfortable and supportive. With my first child I had a doctor who at a critical moment,( he was unsure which way to turn my sons head as he was stuck...so )he consulted a midwife who then became my midwife for all following births. She was the real birth expert. For my first I ended needing a vacumm extractor and he cut me as well as I tore and then he proceeded to use way too many stiches said the real birth pro. My second birth at same hospital with same midwife went well except the nurse who was taking my sons heel prick did not handle him gently and bruised his whole right leg, traumatizing both of us. My homebirths were wonderful. I laboured at my own place in my own space and played my stereo super loud and rocked to the beat.
We ate when we were hungry, I could stay in the bathroom as long as I wanted. We watched a comedy and I traipsed around in just my long t-shirt. The whole thing was lovely and peaceful. No one poking me. No one uninvited. Just calm and supportive, love. No rush to the hospital. I definitely preferred my home births.

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I had 3 hospital births and 3 home births. I like what other people have said about both. As for me, I felt like an incapable sick patient at the hospital and nobody cared how I felt about the way that I wanted to give birth. At home I was a birthing mommy and my opinions mattered to everyone around me and my children got to be with me. It was really amazing!

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You were fortunate that nothing went wrong!

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i wish home deliveries are as safe here in the Philippines. I haven't had one but I hear about a lot of things going wrong. I agree though, that in hospitals, they don't really care about how you feel. I would want to have a home delivery the next time i give birth.

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I think it's VERY telling that all the medical staffers commenting here are coming from such a fear-based place. That's exactly the environment I DON'T want my babies born into.

Anyone who does the research will find out just how bad the maternal and infant mortality rates are in the states-- hospital births for non-high-risk mothers are NOT safer than home births. Overuse of epidurals and pitocin, and the CYA mentality of medical staff is way more dangerous than birthing at home.

I had 3 hospital births and one at home. My husband had been opposed to home birth out of fear, but after we did it he is SO pro home birth. It was a million times better.

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I felt a need to comment here. I'm an RN, a former labor and delivery nurse at that, and I can vouch that indeed, hospitals are NOT the best place to deliver babies. It is very intervetion-based, which is what has led to our having such a high mortality rate compared to the rest of the world, regardless of our advancement in the medical care field. The biggest mistake women make when coming into the hospital to have a baty, is that they hand their lives, and all medical decisions over to US. They educate themselves very well on how to take care of themselves in pregnancy, and how to take care of the baby when it is born, but very little on the actual birthing process. ONE intervention leads to another and another, and each intervention comes with risks, and thaose risks rise further with every added intervention. If we in the medical field stopped treating labor and delivery with a fear-based approach, like it's some kind of medical emergency, things could be so different. Rather than offering interventions, offer support, and choices. When I have my baby, I will do everything in my power to have it at home. When you look at the c-section rates in hospitals, it's close to 40%, and yet the c-section rate for midwives, especially with a planned homebirth is 2%. Midwives are truly more specialized in birthing than doctors are. We nurses didn't dare call in the doctor before the baby's head was almost out. A midwife stays with you throughout the entire pregnancy, through your whole labor and delivery, and 6 weeks after the bay is born. So many make the mistake of thinking that doctors are more specialized than midwives are. That is simply not true. Doctors are SURGEONS, that is what THEY specialize in. Either way..I think parents should have the right to decide where and how they want their babies to be born, WITHOUT judgement. BUT....please, educate yourself, and watch "The Business of Being Born" to help you with that decision....

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Amen and thank you to everything Danielle above said. I had two births in the hospital and one at home, the last one and that was 24 years ago! I personally loved my home birth, it was much less stressful being in the comfort of my own home, and I felt so much more like I was looked at as a human with feelings rather than a body with a baby in it that 'they' had to control how it came out. More recently, two of my daughters have had babies all in the hospital, the first two were nothing but interventions and stress even tho they were very informed but the hospitals (and doctors) have their rules and you only have so much say. Sometimes if you know what you want they get mad at you for challenging their 'plans' and will often try to completely ignore what you want. Luckily my one daughters second birth was a Vback with a doula and a midwife and a very supportive gyne and it all went so very smoothly. Unfortunately finding that kind of situation took going to 3 different doctors in that one pregnancy before finding someone who would even consider a V back, not to many of those around, some hospitals even refuse to allow it no matter what the doctor would agree to. One thing I did learn about hospital births, the nurse you get in the delivery really really matters , yet you don't have a say about that, its sort of the luck of the draw! Way to much out of the Mother and Dad's control, but having a doula or midwife really helps you have an advocate, they have to deal with the 'rules' too tho and be very good at handling the staff they have to work with in the hospital as well as the parents.

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I'm 100% agreeing with the comments above. I've been an L&D RN and am seeing the same issues....hospitals and doctors do treat all pregnancies and births as abnormal illnesses....when the vast majority of births are healthy. Women's bodies are MADE to give birth. At home, you have so much more control. However, a home birth requires ALOT of planning and you must consider what you will do if you have a rare (but possible) complication. It's also essential to take excellent care of yourself.....good diet and activity can decrease your chances of developing diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy.....2 things that can increase your risks during a home birth. Of course, even very healthy, meticulous women can have problems, but they are the rarity....NOT the norm that most hospitals treat them as. Plus, hospitals are filled with germs. During less busy times, Maternity nurses are frequently "floated" all over the hospital to help staff other units, where they can be exposed to a plethora of nasty germs that you don't want anywhere near you. For the most part, if a Maternity nurse has floated, she is not allowed to shower or change her clothing after leaving the germy area. Therefore, your nurse could have just walked up from the ER where she was in close contact with infected bed sores, the flu, draining wounds, or god only knows what else. This is a topic that Maternity nurses have been fighting hospital administration for years about because we know it puts our mommies and babies at risk. But most hospitals disregard our pleas. I would recommend that anyone considering hospital birth first check with a manager at the hospital about their policies for "floating" their maternity nurses to other units. They may be put off by the question, but it's a legitimate question.....and one that I would certainly ask and voice my concern about if I was a patient.

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Birth is amazing and can be a beautiful experience wherever it happens. That being said, there are definite pros and cons to hom vs hospital delivery. Most important factor is delivering where you feel is the right place for you and your baby. each mom/baby and situation is unique.

At home, a mom can be the the one to call the shots and be truly able to trust herself without interference. Much harder to do this in the hospital where lots of interventions are usually required from the very second you step in the door. No matter where you are, excellent support is crucial to the best delivery possible. I do agree that the hospital is best if there are complications and when those interventions are life-saving rather than problem-causing.

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Two hospital births and three home births. For me, once I decided to come home to have my babies, there was no looking back. I tend to have long, easy labors. In the hospital, they were in a rush to get everything done (can you say Pit Drop?). When we figured out that I just have long labors, I was able to prepare mentally and physically for them and let my body take over and do what it knows how to do instinctively. I loved being in my own home, my sweetheart and kids around, and to be able to choose those who would be there to support me, not just have those that were assigned to me that shift.

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advantages to homebirth: in your own space with a care giver you know and completely trust.... all the decisions they try to make for you in the hospital you make for yourself at home.... and in my experience you recieve much better care... no one knows more about normal birth then a midwife

disadvantages: takes more planning and prep... birth kit caregivers meals.... but for pregnant me its like the greatest nesting project ever so it might not be a disadvantage after all

advantages to hospital: it's the best place to be if you or your baby have experienced any health issues during the pregnancy

disadvantages: it's not my home and my midwife doesn't deliver there

i know so much more can be said but i have babies who need me :)

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My hospital birth with my daughter was induced. It was frightening and very painful, and I felt to be a passenger on someone else's (not fun) ride. I had a vacuum extraction and episiotomy, but no pain medication, which was the only part of it that I was happy about after, except, of course, the presence of my perfect adored first child. I was so in love with her that it took a while to process the birth and how traumatic it was.

My son was born at home, and ...wow!!! It was vastly easier and less painful, I was on top of the pain and worked with it, rather than being scared of it. For at least half the labour it just felt like gas pains, the work really only went for 3-4 hours, and I hummed and swayed through the height of each surge. I ate when I felt like it, moved where and how I wanted to, had the people I wanted there, and felt safe. It was my day, my experience, my birth. It was truly soething I did. At the end of it I felt utterly jubilant, triumphant, relieved, and it healed a lot of things for me. I birthed my son on the porch outside our home, with my 3year old daughter, my partner, midwife and doula. For me, it was a beautiful, awe inspiring experience,

I think wherever a woman feels safe and supported with her needs respected and her birth undisturbed is the right place to birth.

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Hi Tine. I'm a former labor and delivery nurse, and I'm planning a home birth if we finally get pregnant. I have a question for you: having your midwife there, did you find that you still needed a doula, or was the midwife enough? I was wondering. Thanks!

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DS1 hospital-rec'd pit and an epi-birthed him on my back. Tore terribly. In the room and got woken up every couple of hours. Finally went home and baby and I slept.

DS2 home-in a birth pool had baby-no drugs, no interventions, baby never the room I was in. I did have a midwife and doula.

If I had to do it again-home birth all the way. I never liked hospital to begin with-they are for the sick and dying not the birthing of new life :)

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as long as you are empowered it doesn't matter. as long as you know your rights will be respected and your birth plan honored with no one trying to force interventions on you you don't want them have birth were ever you feel best don't do one or the other because you feel you "should". give birth where you feel safe loved and most powerful. i'm having a home birth but not because the hospital was bad I just feel better at home.

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Have had one hospital birth and 3 home births. They just don't compare. I had a natural birth at the hospital, but felt controlled, unsafe, unvalued and more there, further I have permanent damage to my pelvic floor from the experience and it is completely due to the way things were handled there.

The home births on the other hand I felt respected and loved and not stressed. Won't say they were not painful, they were ( at the end) but I was able to follow my instincts and felt great about them during and afterwards.

Each of my children born at home also had things happen at the births that handled with the normal way things are handled at a hospital would have been very dangerous.

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I had both of mine at home and wouldn't want it any other way, If something was going wrong, yes i would go to the hospital but Home births are so much more private, relaxing, you are in control not the doctor, you can get in the tub or be in any postion you want, you don't have to just lay on a bed. Just make sure you have a good, kind, caring midwife that you are comfortable with and that knows what she is doing. Really it comes down to what you are the most comfortable with but, I say home births all the way.

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Birthing is usually a straight forward event but on those occasions when something goes wrong it can quickly be fatal for mother or child. The best solution is a birthing centre with provision for early discharge which provides the appropriate level of skill and equipment for rescue of those unexpected life-threatening events .
My very healthy daughter-in-law and my son were well prepared for a home delivery of their first baby. As an RN I had concerns and told my son that during his delivery he required suctioning and a short stay in ICU post delivery. Suctioning a baby is a basic skill for a midwife. When my grandson was born with his airway blocked by a mucous plug, the midwife panicked, and in the first critical moments of life the baby suffered a lack of oxygen and, tragically, died a week later. This was a beautiful, perfectly formed little boy born to loving, healthy, fit and well prepared parents. Had the baby been born in hospital he would have been suctioned immediately and most likely survived.

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I am so sorry for the lossof your grandson glad you spoke to t=others about it, my condolences to your son and daughter in law. Even bofore reading this I was leaning toward hospital/birthing center birth. My daughter's cord was wrapped around her neck twice and was delivered by c-section because I didn't dilate past 2 cm in 36 hrs of labor. Somethng could have gone terribly wrong if I had managed to dilate and she hd been born at home or even in the hospital 31 years ago. Maybe you can have a midwife in hospital with you ??

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135 55

I'm sorry for the loss of that beautiful new life! You're right, suctioning is a basic skill. I would hesitate to blame home birth because "the midwife panicked" though. Was his cord still uncut? As long as it is attached, baby is getting oxygen and 1/3 of their body's blood volume in that cord blood, which is SO important, especially in cases like this!

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I am a mother to 4 children all born in a hospital. I fully enjoyed my experience delivery our babies, I had the most wonderful nurses and doctor. I was induced with my all 4 kids because they were big babies, had an epidural and I would not have done to any other way. In the hospital I felt safe and was glad if I or my children needed immediate attention we would get it. So basically it's personal preference but neither one is better than the other.

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I had my one and only birth in the hospital. I did not expect to but I was vomiting with my contractions. It was a planned hospital birth but I had wanted to try it drug free, so the nurses let me use the shower and a huge ball to sit on. The ball made me hurt more and the shower only helped for a few minutes. I ended up getting the epidural,on my own choice, after trying all other forms of pain relief. The epidural is the only thing that stopped me from vomiting. While it wasn't the birth I had planned for I am very happy I was in the hospital so that I could have options. My doctors and nurses were more than happy to let me try drug free and didn't push it on me.

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I had a homebirth and will not ever birth in a hospital unless me or the baby need medical attention. A normal birth is not a medical emergency.
There are so many advantages to having a homebirth. Low-stress, relaxing, you are not on anyone's schedule, you can let your body work naturally and get all the benefits of the hormones and natural biological processes. You can eat, drink, go to the toilet, take a shower, lay down and sleep, walk around, whenever you want to without having to ask permission.
When baby is born there is no doctor to take her away and start injecting her, bathing her and washing off all the vernix which she needs, and wrap her up and put her in another room and feed her formula behind your back. The first person who touched our baby was her daddy. He caught her and held her against me. She stayed near me and slept next to me, and still does. She was born alert but barely cried, and she latched on perfectly. She is a healthy, happy baby.
A hospital is where people go who need medical attention. If me or my baby were in distress, sick, injured, we would need to go there.

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The way I see it, its to each her own. If you feel better at home, then do it at home. and if you feel better in a hospital, then go to the hospital. there are some moms (like me) who can't deal with the pain, by the time my contractions were right one top of each other so I was begging for the epi. Both of my kids were born in the hospital, and I love my hospital and my doctor. everyone is different, just because a home birth is good for you doesn't mean all moms should have one

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OK. IMHO, as all of my children had difficulties right after birth, I think hospital is the way to go, but I wish OB's were only around for the problems, and midwives were the rule. I think that midwife hospital birth would be great.

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From my own personal experience if I didn't give birth in a hospital I would of been dead right now. My child would have no mommy, my husband would have no wife. C-section, I would of been in ICU for a while and if I had a home birth I would of died.

My doc let me get into any position that was comfortable to give birth. If I hadn't had a cather I would of been allowed to use the shower too. I didn't get treated like a sick person at all while I was in there, but they were very very very concerned about me and helped however they could to make me comfortable and helped a ton with my son. They let my husband slept there the whole week I was there.

Am I a medical profession? NO! I am a mom that had the crash cart brought to my room because I almost died.

I think so many people think because of everything we're offered and how the medical field has advanced that no one dies, almost dies, or have things go wrong while giving birth. Things can go wrong very very wrong.

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We're you induced? Did you have an epidural? Did you know that the likelihood of that combination leading to maternal death is significantly higher than the likelihood of a mother dieing during a home birth? Most people who say "I would have died if I hadn't been in the hospital" don't consider the fact that they may not have even come close to death if the hospital hadn't messed with a natural process in the first place. My own sister in law almost died because she had a postpartum hemorrhage--that hemorrhage was caused by her body being saturated with pitocin, so her own body couldn't use it's natural chemicals to shut off the bleeding, and the hospital couldn't use the pitocin to stop the bleeding. Watch business of being born and see if your opinion changes. They specifically address the "if I hadn't been in the hospital" thing. It's sometimes valid, but rarely.

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You know why is it when someone thanks the medical field for helping them and saving their lives and that people who don't have home births are looked down on so strongly. What the hell would you done if you had gone into accute kidney failure, you ripped so badly that they only way to stop the bleeding was to stitch it because you no longer had two holes but one huge bloody hole. That you blood pressure dropped 50/30 right after you pushed your child out. Yes I was induced due to my preclampisa was so bad that they were scared I was going to have sezuires. I went from 4pm to 9pm with being induced than stopped because I wasn't progressing but because of my blood pressure they kept me in. Than started it again at 6am and kept it at the lowest as possible. My doctore mind you also delievered babies in barns in Russia, and yes he had done home births, and I'm damn happy for having him as my doctor. I was also having major panic attacks and thankfully he knew how to handle me. I left the hopsital with a hemoglobin of 5.8 and an very very depleted iron level. I was visiting kidney doctors and other medical professionals afterwards. I also had 5 blood tranfusions. And to top it off the whole time I was pregnant I lost more weight than put on for the child. I so much time in the hospital hooked up to IVs for fluid and trying everything not to vomit and nothing worked. I was on a diet of drinking Ensures 3 to 5 times a day just to get protein in me. I also couldnt handle the pregnancy vitmins and was eatting flintstone ones instead. But why go on? You wont see the point, you'll still point out that it was all the doctors fault. Believe me I looked into home births, I researched but because I was became a high risk and the risks were piling up, my husband and I choose that it was safer to go to the hospital. The only person in that whole materinity ward I had problems was with the lady that kept pushing breast feeding and even had the gull to ask if I would stop my antidepressants so I could breast feed. Which by the way I also had severe PPD, which I guess wouldn't of happened if I breast feed or better off dried my placenta and ate it. If I seem defensive its because I am. This is all I have heard for four years. My husband could of lost me. But your right its all the doctors damn fault.

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No, Ginger, it's not the doc's fault at that point, and I'm sorry it was so awful for you, and that you had a doctor capable of handling the situation. Induction automatically rules out a homebirth...so the point is, that the induction and the rest of your health history is exactly why you HAD to give birth in the hospital. If anything, you might have been the candidate for a c-section. The point is, that so many people say, "If I hadn't been in the hospital I would have died, when their COMPLETE UNNECESSARY AND not Indiciated medical interventions (like the ones I had) are what put them at physical risk. My birth would have been safer at home. It turned out fine, and turned out without major complications...but it was stressful, discouraging. That wasn't your situation. If you're certain that your diagnosis was correct (and I'm sure that it was) then don't take those questions personally...they don't apply to you.

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Thank you Katherine for understanding. Its just something that we hear even after we tell them my story. I still struggle for wanting another child but my husband is very scared of loosing me if we try again.

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I never had a home birth so I can't speak for it's pros and con. I had both my daughters at the local hospital. We live in a small town in VT so the hospital is small but we had a great experience. I gave birth in and stood in the same room for my whole stay. The nurses and doctors were so nice and accomodating. They brought in a bed for my husband he stayed in the room with my and the baby after delivery. I had a lot of support when I was struggling to get breastfeeding started and they called me at home after discharge to check in on us.

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I have been a labor nurse for 7 years and I am still hoping that in the future all birth can be as comfortable and patient controlled as a homebirth, but with the safety in emergencies and also pain relief if people change their mind that hospitals can provide. It makes me sad that advocates of hospitals use fear of emergencies to make people choose the hospital and advocates of home birth use fear of medical facilities acting as despicable tyrants to entice people to stay home. I just hope that whoever chooses a home birth won't be afraid to seek medical intervention if the need should arise. There are always outliers, but in general, people at the hospital really want to help if you need us. We love healthy babies and healthy moms and wish you the best.

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wish you had been my nurse, instead of the Nurse Ratchet they hired at St. Josephs, Burbank.

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In a hospital for saftey's sake. After four healthy children, I wouldn't have it any other way. My third child was a "blue baby". She was born with the cord wrapped around her neck. The fourth child was an I.U.D. Baby. The hospital was imperative. I hope this helps your decisions.

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I have 8 children, my 5th was born at home after 4 uncomplicated hospital births. I had a lovely midwife who had been delivering babies for over 20 years and I had a doctor in attendance (although he arrived after the birth because the labour was very fast). My baby born was born "flat" and took a long time to rescussitate which was very stressful for both the midwife and my husband and I. We were only 5 minutes from the hospital but even that could have been too far if my baby hadn't started breathing.
In some ways it was more relaxed at home but I remember just wishing I could lie down for a minute during the labour (we had the loungeroom set up so I could squat to give birth on the floor) and then after the birth the doctor and midwife chatted for ages and didn't give my husband and I any time alone with the baby which we were used to getting at the hospital. The other thing I found hard after my homebirth was that I was expected to just resume my normal duties because I was at home and when visitors would arrive their children would often make a big mess in the house which I found difficult to clean up after so recently giving birth. It took me longer to recuperate after my homebirth because I was used to having a rest in hospital for a few days without having to cook etc.
I also had a uterine infection and postpartum haemmorage after my home birth (which I had a history of with some of my other births).
I enjoyed my prenatal visits with the midwife and it was nice having her for the entire pregnancy and birth but I haven't gone back for another homebirth.

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Huge advocate of hospital birth or birthing center. Why not use modern technology and medicine when it is available. I had a text book perfect pregnancy, but unfortunately my son's cord was wrapped three times around his neck and had I not had a heart monitor placed on his head I would have not known his air was being cut off as I was pushing. We could have had a tragic birth instead of a beautiful healthy boy that is thriving two years later.

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As a Labor and delivery nurse for the past 20years, I could never in good conscious advise anyone to have a home birth. Everyone needs to weigh the risk and benefits. The benefits of a home birth are numerous I will admit. The mother is better able to control her environment and deal with the stress of labor without interference from Dr's and nurses. There is no "time schedule" and no one is trying to rush the process with pitocin. The mother can move around, take a warm shower, warm bath without being hooked up to monitors. There are many skilled midwives who are perfectly capable of attending an uncomplicated delivery. The question is, are you willing to risk your life and your infants life that you will have an "uncomplicated" delivery. I have seen many normal labors which turned into very complicated deliveries. Even the most skilled midwife can not do a stat C/S at your home. If your infants heart rate drops to the 40-60's for several minutes (normal is 110-160) where do you want to be? I have seen mothers and infants that would have died had a home birth been attempted. Personally, any benefit to my personal "labor experience" is not worth the risk of my life or my infants. There are many Dr's and hospitals which will work with you and try to give you the experience that you want. They do however have to follow standards of care, for the benefit of mother and infant.

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I am a labor and delivery nurse and work in a hospital. I have seen too many times what can go wrong during labor or delivery and would not chance it with a home birth. In fact, my second son had the cord wrapped around both his neck and his arm. We had to do an emergency C-section when his heart rate dropped into the 40's and would not go back up. Thank heaven we were in the hospital or he might not be here today!

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Yours might have been different than mine and totally needed a C Section but I had a similar experience and was able to safely deliver naturally at home. My last birth was at home and the cord was wrapped around her neck two times, the midwife had to go in there and unwrap it. Yes her heart rate dropped too as soon as my water broke. But they did not just cut the cord and deliver which further cuts off any chance of oxygen getting to the baby, they unwrapped cord and we had to do some fast position changes to get her out quickly but she was and is fine, all grown up now. If I had been in the hospital that would have been a C section and it didn't need to be BUT it proved that you have to have midwives who know what to do and do it!

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linda, its unlikely that you would have ever had a c-section if the cord was able to be unwrapped.

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Deffinatelly giving birth at home is very risky o don't advice any woman to do that. Anytime the hospital is the safest.

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First of all, no one should criticize home birth simply on anecdotal evidence (opinion) without doing the research. There are a few important things to remember.... Home birth is not for all deliveries. It is only for for healthy full term pregnant moms who take an active role in having a healthy pregnancy (eat well, don't smoke, know what is normal or needs attention during pregnancy, etc.) No gestational diabetes, preterm babies, pre-eclampsia, etc. One needs to educate themselves about normal birth processes and have the confidence in their bodies to birth and their midwife to attend them. Secondly, statistically among healthy low risk pregnant moms home birth is no more risky for mom or baby than hospital births. Look at Ina May Gaskin's records if you need to. Also research shows that intermittent fetal monitoring with a Doppler is as safe as constant fetal monitoring with the belts that are strapped on hospital laboring moms. I did a lot of research in preparing for my most recent birth. It was obvious to me that although all interventions have a use that most are over used and lead to messing up the birth process and a cascade of more interventions. Watch “The Business of Being Born” for more info. Birth is about as safe as live ever gets. Hospitals generally treat birth as a disaster about to occur instead of a normal biological process. I had a home birth almost 3 mo. ago. If I am blessed with more birth babies I plan on birthing at home. It meant so much to me to be able to birth on my turf and my time table. My birth attendants were there to attend to me and my needs and desires without the need to “manage” me so that they could divide their attention among several laboring moms. Plus after the baby was born and my midwife and the others I had invited to the birth had cleaned us and the area up and went home, I was in my own room. Quiet and peaceful. I was able to rest without being disturbed by the needs of nurses/hospital schedules/regulations/protocols. The birth was the best it could be because it was designed for me and my family in particular. I had birthed in hospitals before. If you like being part of the system there (I have met women who do) and want pain meds or other interventions or have a true need for a C-section, then the hospital is for you. I can’t relax in the hospital and it is very hard to birth if you can’t relax! I want to tell the staff there, “Stop pestering me, I am trying to have a baby.” I was relieved when my baby was finally born because I knew if at anytime the baby’s heart rate was not ok or I was not fairing well that we would need to go to the hospital. I remembered being treated like a piece of meat on an assembly line there. With this most recent birth, I know that I would have ended up with a C-section. I know that it would have been an unnecessary one because the baby’s heart rate was always great (she was never in distress) and my vitals were fine. It was by far not my first birth, but it was very long. I screamed for 12 hrs with contractions coming every 2-3 min. A hospital would have never allowed this because it would have freaked out the other moms and it didn’t fit the labor pattern they want every mom to follow. One tip: Choose your midwife judiciously. One that is very experienced and confident and who has a good bedside manner. My midwife is a CPM (certified professional midwife), is licensed by my state and has delivered close to 700 babies. She has excellent obstetrical skills. Food for thought: Did you know that the Netherlands has low infant mortality and maternal childbirth related death rates and yet about half the babies born there are born at home?

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To clarify: My labor was 46 hrs with 12 hrs being the screaming part of 1-2 min contractions coming every 2-3 min. I wasn't progressing quickly, yet my midwife was not worried since the baby and I were fine. Just like not all mommies are alike, not all labors are alike.

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It is probably better if things go well but, if not, things can go seriously wrong and very fast too.

11 0

I am not a health professional, and I think home births sound lovely, but I was glad I put up with the medical scene as my babies would not have lived being born at home. Cords around necks, decelerations, aspiration ... scary stuff...we need to find some middle ground in US hospitals. Moms who DO go to hospitals can help by should stop not agreeing to schedule births or have elective inductions or elective c-sections.

135 55

When you have a birth professional, they are trained to see the little red flags that go up at the first sign of trouble. Sure, things can go bad fast at home. They can go bad fast in a hospital also. Doctors and nurses are overworked and may miss those signs, but midwives are there at only one birth, just for you. Homebirth isn't for everyone, just like the color green isn't everyone's favorite. You have to educate yourself, learn what YOUR best birth will be. Don't just follow the herds, whether it be the homebirth crowd, or the hospital birth crowd. KNOW what EVERY risk and benefit is. Weigh what is most important to you, and your family. In the end, you and your family will live with those choices, whatever they are... so LEARN.... and be sure.

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7 6

AS AN RN I DO NOT RECCOMEND GIVING BIRTH AT HOME. IF YOU HAVE AND EVERYTHING WENT WELL YOU'RE LUCKY. NO BIRTH IS SUCCESSFUL UNTEL THAT BABY IS OUT AND BREATHING. MOM IS NOT SAFE UNTEL THE PLACENTA IS DELIVERED SUCCESSFULLY AND SHE DOESN'T HEMMORHAGE. HOSPITAL'S ARE WILLING TO WOWRK WITH YOU ON THE DELIVERY AND HOW YOU WANAT IT. TOO MANY TIMES AT THE LAST MINUTE OR DURING
DELIVERY SOMETHING HAS GONE WRONG AND YOIU NEED THE EMERGENCY SERVICES A HOSPITAL CAN PROVVIDE. I HAVE SEEN IT HAPPEN TOO MANY TIMES IN 30 YEARS.
WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT - YOU HAVING YOUR WAY AS MOTAHER EARTH OR A LIVE CHILD AND MOTHER.

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8 20

I'm an RN as well, and I completely disagree with you. I worked in L & D, which is the very reason why my PERSONAL choice would be to have my baby at home. Hospital births are intervention-based, and each intervention increases the chance of complications, not to mention that one intervention leads to another and so on. Birthing is a personal choice, and each family needs to make a choice according to what is important to THEM, carefully taking into consideration ALL the factors, including safety. Many studies have actually shown that home births are safer. C-sections are given left and right in a hospital, which puts the child and mother at higher risk. C-section rates in hospitals are usually close to 40%, while home birth c-section rates are around 2%. Consider watching "The Business of Being Born" and "Pregnant in America" before making assumptions. You might be surprised. Midwives are actually MUCH MUCH more experienced and efficient at normal vaginal deliveries that doctors are. A midwife stays by your side the entire time..trust me, as a labour and delivery nurse, you don't dare call the doctor in until you see eyebrows. People automatically think that doctors have the most experience and are safer, when in fact, it is the very opposite. My child will be born with a midwife, and if there are no complications with my pregnancy, I will have the baby in the safety of my own home.

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