Before modern medicine, all babies were delivered at home. However, now the majority of births take place in a hospital. Despite this, some women prefer to have a planned home birth. Delivering in a hospital allows you to be right where you need to be in the case of an emergency, but if you are healthy without any complications, a home birth may be right for you.
Generally speaking, home births are safe, but there are some marked differences between a home birth and a hospital birth. For one thing, when you labor at home, your healthcare provider will not be able to monitor your vitals continuously. Instead, they will periodically monitor your vitals and your baby’s heart rate.
Most women who deliver at home do so without complications, but research shows that planned home births are associated with a higher risk of infant death syndrome and seizures than hospital births. These risks can be reduced by having a certified nurse-midwife available, having access to a practicing obstetric doctor, and having a plan for emergency transportation to a hospital if necessary.
You may need to transfer to a hospital if labor isn’t progressing, your baby is showing signs of distress, your baby is in a position other than head first, you have high blood pressure, or you experience bleeding.
There is a lot of information for and against homebirth, but the truth is, every pregnant person has the right to give birth in the way they feel most comfortable. Home births may be intuitively associated with more risks because it is not a hospital setting. Still, many of these risks can be mitigated by having a birthing plan that includes emergency transportation to a hospital if there are complications.