How safe is home birth? Should you consider it?

A planned home birth can be a rewarding experience. But you must consider the pros and cons of home birth. If you choose home birth over a hospital or birthing centre, you will need the assistance of someone experienced and qualified during labor and delivery. Your doctor will guide you and explain the possible risks regarding delivery. It is important to research and plan well.
Women who had a C-section delivery previously or who are pregnant with multiples should not have a home birth. Even in case of planned home birth, your doctor or midwife may recommend that you need to be moved to a hospital after labor begins. This recommendation might be made for the following reasons:
• If you have high blood pressure.
• If you desire pain relief.
• If your baby’s head is not positioned downwards correctly before delivery.
• If you have vaginal bleeding that isn’t related to ‘bloody show’.
• If your baby is showing signs of distress before delivery like abnormal heart rate or after birth signs of a medical condition or difficulty in breathing.
• If labor isn’t progressing.
• If traces of meconium are found in your amniotic fluid.
• If you experience complications like placental abruption (when the placenta detaches from the lining of the uterus before delivery) or umbilical cord prolapse (when the umbilical cord drops into your vagina before your baby).
• If the placenta isn’t delivered at all or isn’t delivered completely.
Pros of home birth
• You have more control over the entire experience
• You will deliver in a familiar setting, at the comfort of your home
• You can have your friends and family for support
• Religious or cultural considerations can be taken into account
• You will have no pressure to use medications or any other interventions
• There won’t be any hospital bills, so your baby’s delivery comes with a reduced price tag
• You will have convenience when previous pregnancies happened very quickly
With a home birth, you also have the freedom to choose your labor positions and other elements of the birthing process. You can decide accordingly, whether or not to eat or drink, take warm showers or baths, use candles or aromatherapy, etc.
Cons of a home birth
• Insurance may not cover any associated costs
• Delivering in the hospital is generally safer than being at home
• During a sudden emergency, you could still be transferred to the hospital
• Homebirth can be messy, you have to be prepared with plastic sheets and clean towels
• Babies die in home births at roughly twice the rate as they do in hospital births
• A plan for emergency transport to the nearest hospital
• After giving birth, if you or your baby needs emergency medical care, you will have to get to a hospital
• Babies delivered at home more frequently have poor skin color, pulse, and vigor right after birth. These signs could indicate a possible complication.
With a home birth, you have to be ready with a plan for emergency transport to the nearest hospital. Being able to reach a hospital quickly is recommended.
If home birth is something you’d like to pursue, be sure to choose a trained healthcare provider or midwife. It is most important to find a certified nurse, midwife or doctor formally associated with an accredited health care system. Proper equipment, methods and arrangement is required. Time is a key factor in home births.
Create a birth plan with your doctor’s approval. You should understand that instead of having your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and the baby’s heart rate continually monitored, these things will only be checked periodically. You must also pick a location where you want to deliver your baby and have protective coverings for your floor or mattress.
It’s also important that you choose a pediatrician, and make arrangements to have your baby seen within the first days following birth. You have ample time to decide what’s best for you and your baby. Even though home birth may seem ‘natural’, it has risks and causes stress, take your time to discuss and plan accordingly.