According to the mega media company, U.S. News & World Report, the number of women who decide to give birth at home, versus in a hospital, has been steadily increasing over the past decade. The percentage of births that are performed at home is still quite small compared to hospital delivery births, though. A small average of about 1.5 percent of all American births occur outside the walls of a hospital.
If you are one of the millions of women who are pregnant right now in the United States, then you may have a big decision ahead of you, if you are debating about delivering your child in a home setting or in a hospital setting. Each place will have pros and cons, so it will be up to you to decide which place will be the best choice for you and your family. Below are some ideas for you to consider.
Hospital Birth Pros and Cons
A hospital birth is defined as giving birth to your unborn child within a hospital. Currently, more than 98 percent of births in the U.S. occur in a hospital. Hospital births have been the norm for several decades, and many hospitals across the country have improved their birthing centers and labor & delivery floors immensely. Most hospitals allow pregnant moms the opportunity to tour their birthing areas prior to delivery in order for the new mom to see the surroundings they have in store for her.
For example, some hospitals provide delivery rooms and postpartum stays in the same room. This is a benefit for the new mom so she can stay in the same place throughout her entire time in the hospital. Other conveniences may include enhanced lighting features that may calm the mood during labor or postpartum experiences, an in-room sleeper sofa for the new dad or other guest, spacious rooms and bathrooms, bathtubs or large showers, music, and even gourmet meals that can be a nice promise for post-delivery time. Each hospital is different, so you may decide to investigate the hospital near you to see what they have to offer.
Hospital Birth Pros
- Insurance companies will cover some or all of your hospital birth, depending on the type of insurance coverage you have.
- Constant monitoring of you and your baby will insure that the delivery is moving along as it should.
- If a problem arises, medical personnel are immediately available.
- Based on your opinion, you can usually arrange for labor & delivery assistance from a nurse-midwife or a doula, in addition to a medical doctor, if desired.
- Hospitals have a full staff of trained personnel to take care of you and your newborn baby, before, during, and after the delivery has occurred.
- Birthing, caregiving, or lactation classes are often offered to hospital patients prior to entry into the hospital, or sometimes during the months following the delivery.
- A hospital nursery is available for your baby, so you can have a chance to rest and heal in peace for a while, during your stay at the hospital.
- Hospitals often provide gift care packages for new moms and their baby to take home with them. This may include items such as diapers, formula, sanitation pads, and other things that may be needed in the days after leaving the hospital.
Hospital Birth Cons
- Hospital births are often treated more like a medical procedure than a natural process.
- If uninsured, hospital births can be very expensive.
- Hospital personnel are routinely in your room, in order to check your vitals and progress. Some people find this intrusive on their privacy.
- Hospital admissions have a higher rate of C-section operations, and some believe these procedures are performed too hastily, perhaps in order to keep hospital schedules on point.
- Some hospitals limit the amount of time they allow a patient to stay in the natural process of labor before they decide to intervene, usually with labor-inducing drugs, such as Pitocin, or suggesting a C-section.
- The laboring mom will have limited amounts and varieties of food and drinks available.
- If you envision yourself having a water birth, or delivering your baby in a fashion other than lying in a hospital bed, then hospital staff often cannot or will not accommodate you.
- Hospital personnel may encourage you to separate from your baby when you may not want to be separated, as in during rest time.
Home Birth Pros and Cons
Home births are described as a birth that occurs in a home, usually the home of the new parent(s). In order to deliver at home, you should find a qualified person to assist with the delivery. Usually, this requires the assistance of a certified nurse-midwife, or an obstetrician that makes house calls. Although the American College of Nurse-Midwives encourages the rights of women to experience the type of childbirth they choose, including having a home birth, not every state certifies nurse midwives with the ability to assist in a home birth. You will have to check with your particular state in order to determine its’ laws regarding a home birth. You always have the option of traveling to a state that has more flexible laws for childbirth, if you are located in a state that has restrictions. One thing to keep in mind if you are considering a home birth, is that they are usually only favorable in low-risk pregnancies.
Home Birth Pros
- The cost of a home delivery can be quite a bit more inexpensive that a hospital birth.
- You are surrounded by the comforts of your own home before, during, and after delivery of your newborn baby.
- You will have as much privacy as you want, without the interruption of medical staff, and choosing family members that you would like to have available.
- You can walk around freely without being hooked to monitors or hospital restrictions.
- There will be no pressure to stay on a hospital’s schedule; therefore, your labor can progress naturally.
- You are free to eat and drink a variety of items, depending on what is available and what you can tolerate.
- More comfortable environment for new dad and relatives.
- No risk of picking up any hospital borne illnesses.
Home Birth Cons
- Although giving birth is a natural process, it can leave a lot for you or someone else to clean up. This can be a big task for some.
- Insurance companies will most likely not cover a home birth.
- If you decide you would like some pain relief, you will probably be out of luck.
- If an emergency arises, you may need to be transported to a hospital, and this could significantly delay time before you are treated.
- It will be your own responsibility to file your newborn child’s birth certificate.
As you can see, if you are debating about whether to have your baby inside a hospital or inside you home, you have a lot of things to consider. Either way you decide, the most important thing is to provide the best possible outcome for yourself and your newborn child. It is a big responsibility that should not be taken lightly, so educate yourself with as much information as you can in order to make the right decision for your own situation.