Risks & Benefits

Of Home Birth

Risks and Benefits in Home Birth

There are benefits and risks in delivering your baby at home.  Women who deliver at home are not exposed to the infections that are present in hospitals.  They take more responsibility for their health and the health of their growing baby. They ask questions and search for answers about their healthcare.  At home, labor can begin on its own.  Women can freely move around during labor and give birth in a position that is comfortable for them.  If desired, they can labor in the shower or bath.  There are no routine interventions.  No separation of mother and baby occurs after birth.  Bonding and breastfeeding are much easier in the comfort and relaxed atmosphere of their home.  The cost of homebirth is substantially lower.  Family and friends can be more involved if the couple desires.  Some risks of homebirth include: delayed medical care in case of emergency transport. There is also a risk that the midwife will not make it to the birth, causing the partner to have to fill this role. These risks are real and should not be minimized while making the decision for where to deliver your baby.  

There are also benefits and risks to hospital births.  Some benefits to having a hospital birth are:  it is the safest option for high risk mothers or if unforeseen complications arise during labor (such as prolapsed cord or placenta abruption).  It is close to an operating room, if cesareans are needed.  It offers the most advanced technology should babies need immediate medical care.  Other benefits to hospital births are access to pain-relieving drugs and epidurals.  Some risks are that mothers may not be able to move around during labor if hooked up to a monitor.  If mothers go into labor too quickly, the doctors may not have time to give pain-relieving drugs.  The primary care doctors, chosen by the mothers, may not be the ones who deliver;  It usually will be the doctors who are on call.  Hospitals, especially larger ones, can seem impersonal and intimidating.  Private rooms are not always private because of the revolving door of nurses and other hospital staff; it is common to get less rest at a hospital.  Separation of mothers and babies is often routine.  There are also many hospital policies and rules that need to be followed.