I get it… Homebirth isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But since the speculation of Meghan Markles plans for a home birth, it has come into the lime light. From the many magazine articles on this with people throwing around their views on Homebirth, it’s highlighted what we as a culture think about women and their capabilities about birth. That for birth, we need to be in close proximity of a doctor, you know “just in case.”
So let’s look at what the research says…
When looking at planned place of birth vs. actual mode of births. (This is important to distinguish so people reading this don’t think, well DUH of course there’s going to be no cesareans at home 🙄)
Also we’re looking here at women with no “risk factors” so women who have no complications, totally straightforward etc. and that’s in ALL of these groups. All “low risk” women but all women who have had a baby before.
You’d think that comparing these women there would be the same amount of instrumental births or cesareans in each birth setting right? As surely, the amount of babies needed to be born with intervention are the same in each group.
Here are the stats…
Per 1000 births.
Vaginal birth (without assistance)
Home 984 vs Birth unit 967 vs. Obstetric 927
Home 28 vs. Obstetric unit 121
Home 15 vs Obstetric unit 56
Home 7 vs Obstetric unit 35
Home 9 vs Obstetric unit 38
And the most important one to consider, what about the babies.
So when looking at serious medical problems for baby per 1000 births.
Home 3 vs Obstetric Unit 3
So baby’s of mothers who are “low risk” are no safer during birth in a hospital than at home.
Even when compared to a birth unit, home always comes up trumps for less intervention. And that’s not because “they’re in an Obstetric unit for a reason” remember we’re comparing like for like so if a women started birth at home then needed a cesarean birth so transferred in then she would be in the home category but a cesarean birth.
These findings have been published by NICE and there’s a really interesting table here that compares birth units too. There is also a table that compares all the stats but for first time mothers as remember all the stats above are for mothers who have given birth before.
So if there wasn’t quite 5 reasons above, here are 3 more bonus reasons to consider a home birth…
1. Home is a familiar environment. For some people home is where they would feel safest and more comfortable/relaxed, meaning that there oxytocin would be higher. Higher oxytocin means more effective contractions and higher endorphins (bodies own morphine)
2. You don’t have to stick to “hospital rules” you can light candles if you want to light candles, you can have the room exactly how you like, fill the pool with fairy lights etc. without having to lug your Mary Poppins bag into a hospital.
3. It means you don’t have to travel whilst having contractions, or sort out childcare, or worry about going into hospital to be advised to go back home if you live far away. Or worried about giving birth quickly on the journey. Your midwife comes to you, taking any logistic worries out of your hands.
Have 1 conversation about home birth with your midwife, if it’s not for you then at least you’ve had the option and made the choice. You never know, it may for you be a great decision.
Anyone had a home birth before? I’d love to hear any tips that you have for anyone worried about the logistics of a home birth.