North American home birth rates are low for many reasons. Midwifery laws are standing in limbo in many states, and doctors all over the country are expressing their dislike of midwifery and home births more than ever. But should the disapproval of doctors prevent women from giving birth at home? Is home birth really as dangerous as they make it out to be?
The simple fact is that there are a multitude of benefits to giving birth at home, none of which a hospital setting can ever fully replicate.
Studies and statistics continuously show us that home birth with a trained midwife can be as safe or safer than birth in a hospital. This is not to say that home birth without a midwife is not safe; we simply don't have enough studies or statistics on home birth without a midwife to say.
Traveling, pressure from doctors and nurses, being in a different environment; all of these things can disrupt your labor and cause problems. Staying in the comfort of your home allows you to remain as relaxed as possible during each phase of labor. This one factor alone can help you have a calmer birth experience.
Birth is an intimate process which extends from a very intimate relationship with your partner. You may wish to keep the birth of your baby as an intimate act between only those individuals you feel comfortable with at your birth.
At home, there's no need to worry about nurses or doctors whisking away your infant for testing or procedures only moments after birth. You can avoid the constant interruption of visitors and nurses during this very important time. At home you are free to bond with your baby in the privacy and comfort of your own environment. Your baby won't have to transition to a new environment only days after birth; he or she will be accustomed to the smells, sounds, and other sensations of home from the very beginning.
At the hospital, you are on their terms; but at home, everyone is in YOUR domain. You are in control and make all of the choices, from who is invited to where and how you wish to labor. You can eat or drink as you please, and there is no need to worry about the pressure of unnecessary interventions and hospital procedures.
I'm not hear to tell you that a home birth is the right choice for every woman. What I wish for women is the freedom to choose the birth that is right for them and their baby.