Being in a comfortable home environment is desirable for most expectant mothers. According to the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, at least 25,000 home births occur every year, either planned or by accident. If you are considering a home birth for your new baby, there are ten things that you should consider before you make a definitive decision with your doctor or midwife.
1. Overall Health of the Pregnancy - If your pregnancy has been one that involves gestational diabetes, hypertension, or other health issues, a home birth may not always be the best idea. This can be a strong indicator that labor and delivery will be more difficult.
2. Overall Health of the Baby - A home birth is a risky choice if your baby is at risk for health problems. Immediate access to infant care devices will be a must for an unhealthy baby to survive.
3. Home Location - You may want a home birth, but if you are miles away from the nearest hospital, this will not be a good thing if something does go wrong.
4. Your Age - Mothers who are more than 35 years old are more at risk for seeing the need for cesarean during delivery, according to the Mayo Clinic. Furthermore, mothers who are over this age may have babies who are at risk for certain health conditions.
5. Who Is Your Midwife? - Not all midwifes are trained in home delivery, and some are uncomfortable with the idea. Be sure to talk to your midwife well in advance to determine if this is something that she is willing to do.
6. Are You Planning a Natural Birth? - The idea of a natural birth is easy, but when it comes down to it, many women in labor choose an epidural or other forms of pain relief. Be aware that home delivery will eliminate most options.
7. Have You Had Problems with Birth in the Past? - A good indicator of the ease of an impending labor and delivery is past experience. If you have had issues in the past, a home birth may not be the best decision.
8. Do You Have Support at Home? - One of the major benefits of hospital delivery is the fact that you will have a whole staff of nurses and assistants at your beck and call. If you live alone or do not have a good support system, a home birth can be much more difficult after it is over.
9. Have You Had Past Cesareans? - If you have had a cesarean in the past, you are more at risk for having to do so again. Furthermore, many midwives will not offer VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean, for a home birth.
10. Where Do You Feel Safe? - Your emotional well-being during labor and delivery is vital to your health and the health of your baby. If you think that you will feel safer and more secure when at home, this could be a good choice. However, some moms-to-be find it more comforting to be in a medical setting.
Choosing to have your baby is a major decision that cannot be taken lightly. Make sure that you use this list of considerations moving forward and openly communicate with your midwife, like George L Stankevych MD, about your plans. In the end, the best decision will come down to the one that will ensure that both you and your newborn are safe throughout the process.