Birth is a natural physiologic process. For healthy, low-risk pregnancies, home birth is a safe and loving choice. Clinical research continues to demonstrate that for normal pregnancies, home birth is at least as safe as hospital birth, has far fewer interventions (including cesarean section), and has higher client satisfaction. Home birth supports the natural physiology of birth, allowing mom to experience the full power and glory of birthing. Babies are respected as fully present beings and welcomed into a safe, loving, and gentle environment.
Home birthing benefits for Mom:
- Home birth supports the natural birthing hormones so mom can better access the ecstatic bliss (beta endorphins) and euphoric love (oxytocin) that nature gives us during this rite of passage into motherhood. Optimum oxytocin release occurs when mom feels safe and held in a loving, supportive environment, an environment she would make love in. For many women, this is their home.
- Continuous, wise, loving, clinical and emotional support from well-trained midwives.
Less intervention means less health risk to mom and baby.
- Mom can wear what she wants, eat and drink what she likes, and labor and birth in positions that feel best to her. Laboring at home promotes comfort and relaxation, facilitating the natural processes of labor and birth.
- Home birth is empowering! As midwives, we hold safe space and provide education, encouragement, and support for mom to give birth her way.
Home birthing benefits for Baby:
- The moments of birth and immediately after comprise a critical period that fundamentally influences our lifelong well-being. We do our best to ensure that babies first life experiences are gentle, loving, and respectful. Babies are welcomed by soft, familiar voices into the dimly lit sanctuary of their family’s home. The cord is often left intact until the placenta comes out, allowing for a gradual physical separation from mom.
- Newborn care and the newborn exam are often done in mom or dad’s arms.
- Home birth protects newborn babies from potentially harmful bacteria in settings outside the home. In utero, baby receives antibodies through the placenta for common pathogens in mom’s environment. Being born at home ensures the baby is well prepared to handle such familiar germs.
- Natural vaginal birth provides the baby with beneficial gut bacteria to support immune function and lay a foundation for lifelong health.
Home birthing benefits for Family:
- Home birth facilitates immediate skin-to-skin bonding with baby and eases the transition into breastfeeding.
- After birth, the new family snuggles into bed together. There is no need to get in the car and go somewhere else. Midwives depart after ensuring that families are well-fed and in a comfortable, tidy space.
Safety of Home birth:
- Home birth is shown to be as safe as hospital birth with fewer interventions. Typical standard of care medical interventions, such as continuous fetal monitoring, IV placement and Pitocin augmentation carry unintended consequences and frequently lead to a cascade of other interventions resulting in an increased risk of surgical birth. Cesareans bring an increased risk of maternal hemorrhage, prolonged discomfort and recovery time, and an increased risk with subsequent vaginal birth. Avoiding intervention in the first place can reduce these risks.
- There are many reasons home births have less interventions, including the midwifery philosophy of care, the family’s belief in and commitment to natural birth, and how the home environment facilitates the natural physiology of birth. With well-trained midwives, home birth is a safe and wise choice for families seeking natural birth.
- New Studies Confirm Safety of Home Birth With Midwives in the U.S. Midwives Alliance of North America; January 30, 2014. This article examines the outcomes of a large prospective study following nearly 17,000 planned home births with midwives in the United States. This study shows that planned home birth with midwives results in fewer interventions without increased risk to mother or baby.
- Outcomes of planned home birth with registered midwife versus planned hospital birth with midwife or physician, Can. Med. Assoc. J. 2009. This four-year study from British Columbia found that the newborns from the planned home birth group had fewer complications and better outcomes than newborns from the planned hospital birth group. Mothers from the planned home birth group had fewer obstetrical interventions than those who birthed in the hospital.
- Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives, BMJ 2005; 330:1416 (18 June). This study included prospectively reported data from more than 5000 women planning home births with Certified Professional Midwives in the year 2000 in the U.S. and Canada. It found that outcomes for mothers and babies were the same as for low-risk mothers giving birth in hospitals, but with a fraction of the interventions.