5 unexpected benefits of home birth that will solidify your decision to avoid the hospital and give birth at home.
There are many benefits of home birth like receiving exceptional midwifery care, avoiding hospitals, and the reduced risk of unnecessary interventions. The list could go on and on!
Disclaimer: This is intended for educational purposes only, not medical advice. This blog may also contain affiliate links, meaning we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Here are 5 benefits of home birth that I was not expecting!
1. You can decorate your birth space however you want.
Choosing home birth brings on an additional layer of nesting: preparing the birth space. This may be my favorite, unexpected benefit of giving birth at home. You have the freedom to create a beautiful, intimate birth space free from fluorescent lights, unfamiliar noises, and hospital beds. It is common for mothers to choose to give birth in their bedroom as it is usually close to the bathroom, has a bed, and is where moms feel most comfortable but you can birth wherever you want! I chose to set up our birth space in our master bedroom. The master bedroom is in a secluded area of our house, has an attached bathroom, has enough space for me to move around, and could fit our birth pool in the corner.
In the last few weeks of pregnancy, I enjoyed envisioning what I wanted the space to look like and worked to bring my vision to life. Thanks to Pinterest, I had plenty of inspiration! My favorite thing was hanging string lights around the room. The soft, warm lighting from the string lights gave the room a magical and cozy ambiance.
I carefully chose places to hang my birth affirmation cards around the room and in the bathroom. I made sure the top of my dresser was cleaned and organized with the supplies I needed like essential oils, snacks, and drinks. I also made a space for the midwives to set out their supplies. I placed labeled bins containing items from the list of supplies my midwife asked me to collect off to the side of the room. Keeping the room organized made me feel confident that my birth team could find what they needed without needing to ask me.
2. You can eat and drink freely.
Hospitals and medical providers have different rules regarding eating and drinking in labor. Guidelines restricting eating and drinking during labor were originally put in place to reduce the risk of aspiration if the pregnant woman needed to be put under general anesthesia. Due to more recent research, these rules are becoming less strict, and more women are being allowed to eat and drink during labor. According to Evidence Based Birth, more recent research has found that laboring moms who were able to eat and drink freely had shorter labors and were more satisfied with their birthing experience. The energy needs of a mom in labor are similar to those of someone running a marathon so fuel up with your favorite snacks and drinks!
I recommend having a variety of foods on hand. You may crave different types of food during different stages of labor. In early labor, you will probably be able to stomach more hearty foods but as you approach transition, you may experience some nausea so having snacks like applesauce, honey sticks, bone broth, or yogurt will be easier to eat. It’s also essential to stay hydrated during labor. If you are having a hard time eating, try drinking fluids with extra electrolytes and nutrients like real fruit juice, coconut water, or red raspberry leaf tea. This is my favorite electrolyte supplement. It’s packed full of electrolytes and minerals, tastes like fruit punch, and will give you the energy you need (without caffeine) to stay strong throughout labor. Give your husband or support person the task of making sure you are drinking enough fluids!
3. You can have as many or as few people there as you want.
In light of recent world events, hospitals have created many restrictions for their patients including limiting who can be with a laboring mom. Choosing home birth gives you the freedom to allow as many people in your home as you’d like. Moms should not have to labor and birth their babies without their desired support team: midwives, doulas, photographers, moms, sisters, children, whoever you want!
On the other side, home birth also allows you to give birth surrounded by only the people you choose. You don’t have to worry about the revolving door of nurses, physicians, technicians, and other hospital staff members. You can give birth with the support of your midwife, who has been with you your whole pregnancy, rather than whichever doctor happens to be on call at the time.
YOU get to decide who has the privilege of witnessing the miracle of your baby’s birth.
4.You don’t have to worry about explaining or defending your choices.
Hospital staff follows specific protocols and when a birthing mom does things outside the “norm,” they may question it. Then, when you get a new set of nurses at shift change or a new on-call doctor, you may have to explain your choices again. When under the care of a midwife, she will already know and support all of your choices because you have had many conversations throughout your pregnancy. Your midwife and birth team will know your birth plan and will be prepared to carry it out. They won’t need additional explanations and they won’t try to change your mind while you are focused on bringing your baby earthside.
5.You don’t have to worry about a drive home from the hospital.
Giving birth at a hospital with my first child, I experienced the uncomfortable drive home. Just 2 days after giving birth, I climbed into the backseat of our car, sat next to my tiny newborn, and winced as we hit every bump on the way home. My body was sore from a long labor and my lady regions were tender from tearing during birth. Sitting in a car was the last place I wanted to be! Having a home birth gives you the ability to just rest and recover in the comfort of your own bed with your new baby. You don’t have to worry about packing up all your belongings, loading up your car, and enduring an uncomfortable car ride home.
Home birth has so many incredible benefits, some benefits you may not even discover until you’ve experienced it for yourself! What other unexpected benefits did you enjoy or are looking forward to with your home birth? Share in the comments below!
Choosing home birth and still need a midwife team? Check out Glory Birth, a wonderful team of Kansas City-based midwives! They love to discuss all things midwifery and their website is a great resource.