Derek Markham, Eco Child’s Play
Why do I think a home birth is so much better than a hospital birth?
I’ve experienced a planned hospital birth, a planned home birth that ended with an induced hospital birth (and a month-early preemie) because of pre-eclampsia, and two home births. I am a big proponent of giving birth at home because of these experiences. The hospital births did not end up being horrible, and the nurses and doctors were (mostly) good people, yet after the home birth, I can’t imagine doing it any other way.
One major reason is that while a male OB/GYN may be technically proficient in his field, the fact that he hasn’t given birth, and can’t ever give birth, gives the midwife and doula a huge advantage in terms of actually relating to and understanding birth from a woman’s perspective.
35 Reasons to Give Birth at Home (in no particular order):
1. Home birth is safer – Your house is a lot less likely to be a source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and it’s not full of sick people.
2. Your chances are getting a C-section are reduced with a home birth.
3. It’s cheaper – A midwife’s fee is much less costly than a hospital stay.
4. You don’t have to go anywhere.
5. The food is way better at home. Organic food? Vegan? No problem.
6. You don’t have to have strangers at your birth (unless you want to).
7. Your home is always more comfortable than any hospital room.
8. Everything you need is there.
9. You can be as green as you want. Hospitals aren’t known for natural soaps, cleaners, or recycled-content anything.
10. You control the environment at home. If you want to dim all the lights or open a window, you just do it.
11. Birth is a sacred experience. What better setting could there be?
12. It’s so much quieter at home. There are no cabinets full of blinky lights, fans, and humming devices. Well, maybe some of you have that… But probably not in your bedroom. And you can power them down if you want.
13. Home birth is just more fun!
14. Your older kids can be a part of the birth.
15. Your pets can attend. Seriously. Pets are family, too.
16. Giving birth at home is an exceptionally empowering experience. We can take back birth from The Man.
17. No silly hospital gown is necessary at home. Wear whatever you want, or wear nothing.
18. You don’t need an ID bracelet for the mother or the baby when you birth at home.
19. You can choose the room for your birth, or change rooms in the middle. Not an option at the hospital.
20. Giving birth outside is an option with a home birth. Our first home birth was in our front yard, in a birthing tub, and our second in a tipi in our yard. It’s probably not an possibility for most city dwellers, but our second home birth was just on the other side of the fence from a public school (and recess ended just as active labor came on…)
21. No paperwork is necessary at your home birth.
22. You can cut the umbilical cord when you are good and ready. The speed at which they want to snip our newborn’s lifeline is unbelievable.
23. No gadgetry on the mother: A home birth midwife doesn’t require you to wear a monitor or get an IV started “just in case”.
24. You don’t have to sign out when you leave your house.
25. Your family doesn’t have to negotiate a giant parking lot and endless hallways to visit you.
26. A heating pad does not cost $50 to use.
27. You can have as much sage, incense, candles, whatever, as you like.
28. There is no pressure to circumcise, vaccinate, or apply for a Social Security number for your baby right after a home birth.
29. You don’t end up with a “gift bag” (marketing samples) from big corporate America, full of disposable diapers, formula, baby wipes, shampoo, soaps, and brand propaganda.
30. Your baby’s placenta does not become a biohazard. We left our placenta at the hospital, but we planned to bury it, so I drove back, all bleary-eyed, and asked for it. They weren’t going to give it to me, even though we had our name on it in the fridge (just like lunch…) We had to call the OB and have her sign off on the release, and then I had to sign about four different forms, and then they finally gave it to me in a bag with “Biohazard” all over it. Sheesh.
31. The dad has a bed at home. Sleeping on a foldout cot next to the hospital bed sucks.
32. Nobody comes in, wakes you up, and checks your vitals every half hour at home.
33. You can stream the live video of the birth to all your friends (Pay-per-view home births?) OK, I’m kidding.
34. Having a home birth is different. Different is cool.
35. The hospital is open 24 hours, so if you need it, it will be there.
I know that it isn’t for everyone, but if you feel at all drawn to home birth, I say, “Go for it – it’s not as mysterious as it sounds.” It’s the way women have always given birth. Only recently has birth become the domain of the doctor and hospital, the insurance company and the pharmacy.
I’ve listed 35 of the reasons that we choose home birth, but I’d love to be able to change the title to read “75 Reasons…” or “100 Reasons…”, so help me out here by leaving a comment.
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