Home Birth FAQ
Why would someone give birth at home?
Women who choose homebirth do so for a variety of reasons. One of the most common is the comfort giving birth at home affords. There is no need for a mother in labor to move to another birth place when she gives birth at home. Being surrounded by familiar things also helps many women feel more relaxed, helping birth to progress naturally.
Some women choose homebirth so they keep control over the labor process. They know they don't want medical interventions, and they know they are likely to get them in a hospital.
Some women choose homebirth because it is the safest place to give birth. Some women choose homebirth because it allows them to use a particular midwife. Some women choose homebirth so they don't have to be separated from their family to give birth.
Is it safe to give birth at home?
Not only is it safe to give birth at home, for normal healthy mothers and babies it is the safest place to give birth. The countries with the lowest infant mortality rates utilize homebirth with midwives as the standard of care, using the hospital only if the need arises.
When studies differentiate between planned homebirths with a midwife and unplanned (emergency) homebirths, homebirth comes out significantly safer than birth in a hospital for low risk women. If a midwife has any concern about a woman's safety giving birth at home, they simply move to a hospital.
Do you need a doctor to come?
In some areas doctors will still attend a woman at home for labor. In most areas, it is midwives who attend homebirths. Some midwives have been trained specifically for the work of assisting at homebirths. They are able to handle most childbirth problems with portable equipment they bring to the birth.
Some women feel comfortable enough with their body and the birth process to choose not to have an attendant at birth. This is called unassisted childbirth or D-I-Y childbirth. The women who choose this style of birth are generally well educated about their choices, familiar with the birth process and comfortable accepting the small, but real risks of childbirth.
How do you find a midwife?
Depending on where you live, it may be difficult to find a midwife. Some areas make the certification process difficult or impossible, forcing women out of the midwifery profession. Check the Natural Childbirth Directory to see if there are midwives in your region. If no one is listed, contact the doulas and childbirth educators in your area to get information and referrals.
What makes it not safe to give birth at home?
Each midwife has her own criteria of what she needs for a woman to be safe in her care. This depends on her training and experience. However, most of the reasons people believe they need to be in the hospital are not true. Most midwives are able to help at breech births, twin births, VBAC births and births for women over the age of 35.