Guest post by Jocelyne Zaldivar, Co-Founder homebirth.com
homebirth.com strives to empower all families with knowledge and resources as they embark on the journey of bringing life into this world. Their website is designed to educate and empower women who are interested in the prospect of having a home birth.
What is a home birth?
For centuries, families gave birth at home, often in the company of loved ones and a midwife who helped support them through their birth journey. Today, more people in America are choosing home birth.
A home birth happens when someone gives birth where they live rather than a hospital or birthing center. Families are usually accompanied by a trained midwife with expertise in maternal and infant care.
Families often choose to have a home birth because they want more control over their birth experience and to have natural experience without the chance of unnecessary interventions sometimes found in hospitals. Families have their own unique reasons for wanting to give birth at home including having a previous traumatic birth experience, a desire for privacy and a preference for midwives as care providers.
Compassionate Care for Families
Most home births in the U.S. are attended by a midwife who is a trained birth professional and learned to provide both maternal and infant care through a combination of academic and clinical achievements.
Many midwives place an emphasis on prenatal and postpartum care along with perinatal care, which is not always common practice in U.S. hospitals. There are a variety of licenses and certifications a midwife can obtain depending on their state, and five states still don’t allow midwives to attend births outside the hospital.
Some families choose home births because they believe in the midwifery model of care, which focuses on providing compassionate physical and psychological care for birthing individuals and their newborns. It views birth as a natural process that can happen safely at home.
Keeping Families Safe During Birth
While midwives are capable of performing some interventions at home, they are known for supporting families through natural births without interventions such as pain medication. Many families who explore home birth do so because they hope to avoid interventions in the hospital. In 2019, more than 25 percent of births considered “low risk” were performed by cesarean birth. This figure rose from just over 18 percent in 1996.
It’s important for families to know that there is a chance they will have to transfer to the hospital even if they plan to give birth at home, but midwives will always review the plan with families that details how a transfer to the hospital will occur safely and in a timely fashion.
Accessing Home Birth
Only about 1 percent of families choose to give birth at home, but from 2004 to 2017, 77 percent more Americans chose to give birth at home and that number is still rising. Most midwives advise families to have medical consultations with a trained health professional before deciding to have a home birth so that they know about any risks and can also prepare physically and mentally for what can be an intense but empowering experience.
While more American families are giving birth at home with a trained midwife, finding an insurance plan that will fully cover a home birth can be difficult. Expectant families are often left covering the expense associated with their prenatal care and the birth out-of-pocket. However, with the pandemic there has been more flexibility in coverage from insurance plans, so it is advisable that you check with your insurance provider to see what applies to your situation.
One of the toughest challenges families can face when they’re considering a home birth is the fear about how their family, friends and community will respond to their choice. Some families choose not to tell others about their decision so that they can go through the experience without any added stress.
As the world medical community strives to highlight midwives as valuable members of our medical community, and more American families seek home birth services, perspectives on home birth may shift making it easier for families to pursue their ideal birthing plan. Homebirth.com or even your local midwife can provide you with evidence-based resources that help you learn about your options. At the end of the day, most midwives recommend that an expectant family do what makes them feel most comfortable, whether that means giving birth in a hospital, birthing center or at home.
For more information and resources for having a home birth, checkout homebirth.com