35 Reasons to Choose a Home Birth

From the “Healthy and Green Living” section at Care2.com is the blog post of 35 reasons to choose a home birth (and ensuing comments added some others, plus some counter-balancing opinion). Even if you don’t find that some — or even all — of the reasons are strong enough reasons for you to have a home birth, it does give you some food for thought about the benefits of home birth.

I won’t go down the line on these, but I will comment on #1:

Home birth is safer – Your house is a lot less likely to be a source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and it’s not full of sick people.

This is true, and here is an analogy for why antibiotic-resistant bacteria are more prone to be in the hospital (although, it is possible that you could get such an infection at home). Let’s say that your lawn was full of weeds, so you got an herbicide that promised to kill 99.9% of known weeds (but the 1 weed it couldn’t kill was dandelions). So, you get it and spray your yard, and, sure enough, all the weeds die… except the one dandelion in the middle of the yard. Now, you’ve got a bare patch of soil, and no competition for the dandelion seeds, so when the wind disperses them, they take root in the vacant soil and grow wildly, replicating themselves quickly because they have free reign in the otherwise barren soil. Hospitals strive for cleanliness and sterility, and there are effective treatments for bacteria and viruses. But they’re not perfect. And when they leave one germ with otherwise free range, that germ can proliferate and grow strong. Most healthy bodies can easily fight that infection (using the dandelion analogy — a gardener can go out and pull up the one dandelion in the otherwise barren field; but if the gardener is too sick to get out of bed, then s/he won’t catch the dandelion in time, so it replicates). But some healthy people can’t fight that infection very well, and since most people who are at the hospital are there because they’re in poor health in one way or another, they are more likely to contract a “super-bug.” But these “super-bugs” are not “super” in one way — when they have to fight and compete with other germs, they usually lose — which is why their numbers are so small as not to cause a problem in most places (unlike the prolific dandelions).  That’s why you’re less likely to catch a super-bug in a “dirty” home than in a “clean” hospital — the typical home has enough medium-bad germs to keep the really-bad germs in small enough numbers that they do not cause problems, even among people who are already sick, or have a cut in their skin, etc.

But, whether at home or at the hospital, make sure all birth attendants follow basic hygiene and hand-washing protocols to reduce the already-small risk of infection even further.

Diana at Birth at Home in Arizona also compiled her list of reasons to choose home birth.

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks! 🙂

    Also, the germ populations in one’s home are germs that one has been exposed to repeatedly and are thus resistant to, unlike germs in-hospital which your immune system may not have encountered before.

    Good points!

  2. I would like to add to the list.

    You are responsible and accountable for the outcomes of a homebirth. Not the nurse, not the Doctor. If you are comfortable with that? By all means have your homebirth, but if you are not?

  3. I was wondering where you found a homebirth midwife. I am currently pregnant and looking for a midwife who performs homebirths. Thanks

    • Well, it depends on where you live. Each of the states has its own rules governing midwifery. Technically, certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are legal in all 50 states, and certified professional midwives (CPMs) are legal in 26 states. But in many states where midwives can technically practice, they are effectively limited or prohibited from attending births by different laws and protocols. Some states require such a level of partnership with an OB, and no OB will collaborate with midwives like that, so no midwife actually attends home births.

      Your best bet to find a legal midwife is to go to national midwifery organizations like MANA.org or NARM.org and see what is available in your area. Of course, many legal midwives may be harder to find on the internet, and not actually have a “presence” online, and most illegal midwives would be even more scarce online, so to find a local one will be more difficult. Get plugged into different local organizations that cater to groups that are more likely to have homebirths or midwives — “granola” or “crunchy” or whatever term — these women are more likely to breastfeed, extended breastfeed, cloth diaper, eat organic, be vegetarian, homeschool, delay or refuse vaccinations, etc. You may be able to find a midwife (legal or otherwise) by word-of-mouth that way. Even if you can’t find a local homebirth midwife, you may be able to find an excellent naturally-minded or naturally-oriented hospital-based midwife, family practitioner, or obstetrician.

      In my first birth, I lived in the Chicago area and I was able to choose a midwife who was close to me, but she ended up having to close her practice due to the aforementioned legal restraints when her doctor became unable/unwilling to provide backup for her any more (malpractice insurance breathing down his neck about it, although she had had no negative outcomes). In my second birth, I lived in northern Mississippi, and my midwife was in Memphis, but she has since moved to Virginia. In both cases, I was able to find them on the internet; but it’s harder to find midwives in other areas, and many states have no legally operating homebirth midwives.

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