Home birth vs hospital birth – which is right for you?

Home-birth
Parenting

Home birth vs hospital birth – which is right for you?

The home birth vs hospital birth debate is one that most expectant couples will have during their pregnancy. The truth is that there’s no right or wrong answer. As long as you have experienced a safe and uncomplicated pregnancy, either can be a great option. The real question is which one is the right option for you.

To help you make this all-important decision, we’ve looked at the main things to consider when choosing where to give birth, weighing up the pros and cons of giving birth in a hospital and at home.

Home birth vs hospital birth: what to consider when choosing the right option for you

Safety

Naturally, the most important thing for any expectant parents is the safety of mother and child during the birthing process. The good news is that both home births and hospital births are safe options for pregnancies considered “low risk.”

If you’ve given birth before and there were no complications, there’s no difference between a hospital and home birth when it comes to how safe it is. The bad news is that the risk of complications does increase for first-time mums. According to the 2011 Birthplace Cohort Study, complications in pregnancy for a first baby were 9.3 out of every 1,000 home births, compared to 5.3 out of every 1,000 hospital births.

While those numbers are still very small, it’s still worth considering the fact that should something not go smoothly, having immediate access to medical attention in a hospital is always going to be a good thing.

Comfort

Modern hospitals have spent a lot over the years to make their maternity wards as warm, comfortable and relaxing. Earlier this year, the NHS even announced an extra £127 million cash injection to improve maternity services. Yet even with all that going on, there’s no question that your own home is always going to be more comfortable and relaxing than even the nicest of hospitals. This can make a big difference.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) note that giving birth in a dark, private environment that’s free from disruptions can promote the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer. The RCM also noted that this environment is conducive to releasing oxytocin, a hormone which stimulates uterine muscle contractions.

Planning for a home birth can also provide a much-needed safe-space if you’re dealing with any anxiety about being in hospital.

Familiarity With Your Midwife

Giving birth is undoubtedly the most special and significant event in your life, so it makes sense that you’d want to share that with people you trust and have bonded with.

When you have a home birth, there’s a greater likelihood that the midwife who comes to assist you with the birth will be the same midwife who has supported you throughout the pregnancy. This means that you’ll have months to get to know and trust the person who’s there to see that your newborn comes into the world safely.

Convenience

Last but not least, there may be convenience factors that will influence your decision one way or another.

In favour of a home birth, there’s the simple fact that, once labour begins, it begins. You don’t need to stop and get to the hospital, a process that becomes even more complicated if the person driving you isn’t immediately available. It’s also worth noting that if you have other children or relatives you take care of, you don’t need to arrange alternate care for them while you’re in the hospital.

On the other hand, that may be exactly what you prefer.

It’s no secret that labour can be a long process, and if you have small children, you may prefer for them to be looked after by someone else, whilst you’re being taken care of in the hospital and before they visit you and their new sibling.

Home birth vs hospital birth: The verdict

So, what’s better? Giving birth at home or giving birth in a hospital? The answer is that this all depends on you.

Both are safe for low-risk pregnancies, though people with high-risk pregnancies should definitely opt to give birth in a hospital. First time mums may also find the hospital a better option, if only because it comes with the peace of mind that you’re in safe, capable hands should something unexpected happen.

If you’re sure you’re low-risk, giving birth at home may be ideal for ensuring baby comes into the world in the most relaxing way possible, without mum being overly stressed, anxious or in major pain. Ultimately, the best approach is always to talk things over with your doctor and midwife and take their expert medical advice on board before making a decision.

Written by the Parent Cloud Team