Less than 1% of births in the United States occur at home each year, about 35,000 in total, of which one quarter are unplanned or accidental. Most families opt for hospital delivery. Since there are costs and inconveniences associated with giving birth in a hospital, it’s reasonable to wonder if the advantages are worth it.
The desire for home birth
It’s easy to understand the appeal of a successful home birth. Pregnancy and childbirth are miracles of nature, a process as old as human life. For some, a natural birth simply seems like the logical conclusion. Delivering at home means you’re in familiar and comfortable surroundings, supported by friends and family who you want involved. It’s a beautiful and idyllic image, and it’s easy to see the appeal.
However, life presents the unplanned and unexpected and there’s no automatic exemption for new lives. Though home births were a matter of course for thousands of years, high infant mortality was also a substantial factor before modern-day obstetrical practices vastly increased the odds of a healthy delivery in your baby’s favor.
Arguments against at-home delivery
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends against home births when you’re pregnant with more than one baby, when you’ve previously delivered via C-section, or if your baby isn’t settling into a headfirst delivery position.
Even if these factors do not apply to your pregnancy, you may need to transfer to a hospital when certain complications arise. These can include:
Though incidence rates are small, your child has a measurably increased risk of seizure or death with home delivery when compared with hospital birth.
The advantages of hospital birth
If your pregnancy is identified as high-risk, being at a hospital offers you fast access to the care you need, when you need it. Even the most uneventful pregnancies can develop complications like placental abruption or prolapsed umbilical cord in the final moments leading up to delivery In a planned home birth, these situations can quickly become dangerous for mother and baby, and emergency transportation may not get you in time to the hospital to prevent bad outcomes.
In the hospital, you’re surrounded by the facilities, technology, and medical professionals your baby needs if any problems arise. These are margins of safety you’ll likely never need, but they’re close at hand when the unexpected does occur.
Many new families reassess their life insurance needs as pregnancy advances, wanting to provide a margin of financial safety for all members. Choosing a hospital for delivering a child is another form of insurance, insurance for the health of the mother and the baby.
Contact your experienced obstetrician Alexandra Pellicena, MD, FACOG (link to website) by phone or online when you need informed and caring medical advice about your delivery plans. Dr. Pellicena assures that your questions are answered in full, taking the time you need to fully understand the answers. Personal care starts here, so book your consultation today.