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.