Home Birth or Hospital Birth?
There's a general assumption that all pregnant women, particularly those who are pregnant for the first time, will have their baby in hospital.
However, depending on what's available in their area, the vast majority of women do have a choice. That choice for most women is between giving birth at home, in a midwife-led birth centre, or in hospital. For hospital births, although midwives deliver most of the babies where there are no complications, consultants and other doctors are available if they are needed. This can be reassuring to many women.
Choosing where to have your baby is an important decision and obviously the main factor to consider is that of safety - both for you and your baby. However you may also want to consider where you will feel more comfortable, more relaxed, and more in control. You need to choose too who will be with you and the type of care you and your baby will receive while you are in labour.
Advantages of Home BirthLess likely to have a caesarean section (even if transfer to hospital is needed)
Less likely to have a baby being born in poor condition and needing resuscitation
Less likely to have a forceps or ventouse delivery
Less likely to need intervention in general
Much less likely to need an episiotomy
Likely to feel less hurried
More likely to have continuity and contact with the midwife during labour
Possibly feeling less inhibited and more in control and relaxed in own environment
Able to choose only the people you want to be surrounded by
You and your baby are less likely to pick up a hospital acquired infection
Having home comforts such as own bed, toilet, bath, and kitchen
Able to eat and drink when you want
More likely to have a satisfying and positive birth experience
No restrictions on visiting hours
Able to interact with your baby immediately
Disadvantages of Home BirthYou can't have an epidural at home
You may have to transfer to a consultant unit within hospital if any complications occur. The most common reasons for transferring to hospital are where labour doesn't seem to be progressing or for needing pain relief that is not available at home.
Risks of Home BirthEveryone assumes that homebirth is a
Is a homebirth messy?Childbirth is not generally a blood-soaked drama like on TV! Midwives carry absorbent pads which they place strategically under you which soak up almost everything, and with waterproof sheets and towels here and there, there really isn't that much mess at all.
Arranging a homebirthYour booking in appointment is the perfect opportunity to discuss with your midwife if you want a home birth.You can however decide and arrange a homebirth at any point during your pregnancy and you just need to tell your midwife and make arrangements with her.
Birth Centre/Midwifery UnitThe advantages and disadvantages of having a baby in a midwife-led unit, where these facilities are separate from a consultant unit, are similar to those of homebirth.
Hospital Consultant UnitOnly you know what will make you feel relaxed, some women may feel safer in hospital and feel reassured by having experts on hand to help them if needed.
Advantages of Having your Baby in HospitalYou can choose any type of pain relief including an epidural
Everything is to hand if there are problems - you don't have to move
Disadvantages of Having your Baby in HospitalYou may require more pain relief during labour
You are more likely to have an episiotomy
You are more likely to have a drip and electronic monitoring
You are more likely to have an assisted delivery
You are more likely to be cared for by a midwife/midwives you have never met before