Home birth used to be the most common method of birth until the 20th century when hospitals became regarded as the only safe place to give birth. On the other hand, many women worldwide are still giving birth at home and the interest in this option has been on the rise in the recent years in the industrial countries. Despite that, births at home account slightly more than 0,5% of all births in the United States.
There are several reasons why more and more women refuse to go to the hospital to give birth. Some consider home environment more pleasant and relaxing, some believe that birth at home creates a closer bond with the baby, while others view the delivery as a natural process which does not require a medical assistance. Giving birth at home undoubtedly has its advantages but is also carries some risks which should be taken into account as well before starting to plan birth at home.
First of all, it is important to be aware that giving birth at home is not for everyone although millions of women are giving birth outside hospital each year. It may be true that home environment is more warm and relaxing than a delivery room but it is impossible to relax if you are afraid of potential complications which are not impossible. Most health experts generally do not have anything against birth at home for low-risk pregnant women. However, they tend to discourage their patients from this option because sometimes unexpected complications occur even in low-risk pregnant women and in this case, prompt medical intervention significantly reduces potentially serious complications for the mother or her baby, or both.
If you are seriously considering giving birth at home, you are highly recommended to consult with your doctor or midwife even if having a low-risk pregnancy. After you receive your doctor’s approval, you better start preparing for the delivery at home and find a midwife or a physician to attend birth because they are also trained to recognize signs of potential complications early enough to take the necessary measures. He or she will probably also register you at a near hospital in case of any unforeseen complications requiring medical intervention. The chosen birth attendant will inform you about the process of giving birth at home, how to prepare your home and the things you will need during and after birth.
Keep in mind that there are legal restrictions in some states about who is allowed to attend home birth. In some US states, it is illegal to hire a direct-entry midwife who can be prosecuted for attending birth at home (certified midwifes are legally permitted to attend birth at home in all 50 states). Mothers are not prosecuted for giving birth outside hospital in any state of the United States. If you live outside the United States, inform yourself about legal issues before starting to plan home birth because you may have problems finding a midwife willing to attend birth in case if he or she can be prosecuted for it.
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