Even though your mother or grandmother probably birthed in a hospital, did you know there are other options of where you can give birth?
Where you choose to give birth will have a big impact on your experience so it’s important to make an informed choice. Labour is usually shorter and flows more smoothly when women feel safe and undisturbed. The best environment for labour is private, warm, dark and quiet. Wherever you are, you need to feel safe in order to release the right hormones; oxytocin and endorphins.
Up until around the 1950’s, giving birth at home was the most common choice. Today, the majority of people in developed countries birth in a hospital, however, there is a growing trend to choose other places like a birthing centre or even homebirth. The rates of planned home birth range from 0.1% in Sweden to 20% in The Netherlands (According to this article in the International Journal of Women’s Health).
Birthing your baby at home or in a birth centre can be a very empowering and satisfying experience. When supported by a midwife it is a very safe option for women having an uncomplicated pregnancy. The main advantages of birthing at home or in a birth centre are; people tend to feel more comfortable, labour can progress unhindered and there is less need for interventions.
By planning to birth at home or in a birthing centre, women with a low-risk pregnancy can significantly increase their chances of having a normal birth. This consequently reduces their risk of interventions like induction, episiotomy, forceps delivery, vacuum delivery or cesarean (Source: BMJ).
Many healthy women choose to have a midwife support them during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal time.
Midwives are specialists in natural birth. They understand what helps birth flow more easily and can also diagnose if something isn’t progressing normally and can intervene or refer when needed.
There are options called ‘case load’ or ‘continuity of care’ where the woman can have the same midwife care for her through her pregnancy, birth and postpartum. There are options to hire an independent midwife that can care for you at home or hospital or birth centre.
When women have continuity of care from a known midwife they are more likely to have a natural birth, more likely to successfully breastfeed and generally feel better about their birth and postpartum.
According to this article in the International Journal of Women’s Health, the majority of studies (across a variety of countries) have shown no increase in neonatal morbidity and mortality for planned home birth. Maternal outcomes are consistently better for planned homebirth and overall satisfaction is high with fewer interventions and complications.
For women with uncomplicated pregnancies who are being cared for by a competent midwife at home, evidence suggests that birth outcomes are as good as or better than outcomes for similar women in a hospital setting (Source: IJWH).
If homebirth is available, costs vary depending where you live. Sometimes there are publicly funded programs, meaning that homebirth is free. But usually women hire an independent midwife with costs ranging from $3500-$6000 with some rebates usually available.
It would be wonderful if more women knew about the options available to them when it comes to birthing. This is a day that you will remember for the rest of your life, so take the time to make a decision that feels right for you.
Download this free natural birth checklist that covers practical tips and natural suggestions for the three stages of labor. Start feeling more confident about your birth plan.