I write this post today merely to share of my personal experience home birthing, but I want to clarify from the outset that there is no condemnation here for any one who chooses a different route – be it hospital or birth center. I know you can have a beautiful experience in all three of these environments when you chose to embrace the process. My purpose today is simply to share my personal testimony of my experience and encourage you all to weigh the pro’s and con’s of every birthing option.
I have been so extremely blessed to have two beautiful and peaceful home births and we anticipate our third this summer. I’m even throwing around the idea of birthing in our hot tub! If you think I’m nuts, your not the only one…I still have to convince my husband. With my two births I have experienced the true beauty of giving birth.
Birthing each of my children has been a empowering experience and a sanctifying work in my own heart. It has changed me more than any other process, event or circumstance. I have had to lean on the Lord more intimately than ever before. And in the process, I have grown to truly love the birthing process. I have learned that fear only tightens our muscles and causes delay in birth, whereas a wholehearted embracing and working together with contractions and pain has allowed for a smooth, peaceful transition into motherhood. God designed this pain to bring that fruitful sanctification in my own heart and He extends grace for every birthing environment.
Here are some reasons why I love home birthing:
Comfort of my own home
My favorite aspect of home birthing is that I can stay within the comfort and security of the environment that I am most familiar with – my own home. My home is a place that I have made my own. It is a place I love to be because it encourages relaxation. I feel secure because it has been decorated and arranged to my taste. Home birthing views birth as a integrated part of our family life as we celebrate life together with family and friends. During early labor, I enjoyed baking in my kitchen to help keep me distracted.
Continuous labor support
With a home birth midwife you experience continuous labor support. My midwives are with me through the duration of labor rather than being distracted by the needs of others. They are continually available to answer questions, offer suggestions, and facilitate the birth as I desire. There is an absence of multiple nurses changing duties or coming in at undesirable hours.
In my own home, I enjoyed the beauty of birthing with my dear husband by my side and my midwives, whom I have gotten to know extensively over the nine month period of pregnancy. There is no one else there unless I desire them. I am comfortable because these are people I am closest to. And when I am comfortable, my body relaxes, facilitating a natural delivery.
I love the ability to set the mood in the room with calm music, dim lights, lighted candles, or whatever else might encourage my relaxation. I can move around as needed to encourage the process of labor. Numerous labor positions, space to walk, climbing stairs, and the like, all help encourage the passage of baby down the birth canal. I can eat during labor and satisfy the needs of my body. I can labor or birth in a tub if desired. In this freedom there is so many options and means of relief.
Lack of interventions
Any interventions are going to cause greater risk to mother and baby. It is important to evaluate the potentials risks of interventions when considering epidurals, cesareans, and inductions. These are often accepted as lifesavers without thought. It is also important to consider the slippery slope of intervention as well. Statistically, once you add an epidural you are at a much higher risk of induction (due to the way that epidurals often numb our bodies to the extent that it slows down the birth process), and both these produces increase the rise of cesareans. With these pain medications and such not being available, I am allowed to work together with my body in the birthing process. I can focus on embracing the pain rather than fighting it, which leads to a quicker delivery. Please note: there are certainly extreme cases when these procedures can be life saving in high risk pregnancies. I am thankful for advancement of technology in our modern culture, but also leery of how often it is utilized unnecessarily in low risk pregnancies.
Encouragement for immediate bonding and breastfeeding
Early breastfeeding helps mom stop bleeding, clear mucus from the baby’s nose and mouth, and transfer disease-fighting antibodies in the milk from mother to baby. I loved being able to bring my baby forth on my own or via my husband’s arms and carry directly to my chest. I loved having extensive time to just enjoy each other with uninterrupted time.
I have intentionally avoided addressing all the debate about the ideas of safety and conflicts that are attached to the idea of home birthing, because I believe there is plenty of information available for your own review. I’ve shared a few resources below.
Ultimately, studies show that home birthing is just as safe as a hospital setting. If you are low risk (which represents 85-95% of pregnancies), have a trained professional licensed midwife, and ideally have a hospital within close proximity and a working relationship with a physician in case of transfer, there really is nothing to fear. There is certainly instances when you want to avoid home birthing if you are diabetic, for example. And there is certainly a valuable place for modern health care in a hospital setting. Home births have been a natural way of life since the dawn of time. Statistics show that countries with large numbers of home births have less maternal morbidity and mortality than the United States.
I believe that God has beautifully designed your body to give birth in whatever environment you chose. It is ideal for the most successful birth that you do chose an environment that you are comfortable in and that will encourage the relaxation of your body. It is important to research your options and become knowledgeable in the pros and cons of every option so you can make an informed decision. Pray together with your husband rather than just embracing all the assumptions of our day and age.
Karis’ Homebirth Story - learn about the crazy and miraculous events surrounding our Karis’ breech home birth delivery!
Titus’ Homebirth Story - read about the adventure of welcoming our second little one into the world!
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to A Better Birth - a balanced view addressing all the issues relevant to natural child birthing.
The Christian Childbirth Handbook – my favorite book on the topic of natural birthing with a sweet God-focused approach!
Bradley Birth or Brio Birthing Classes – I highly recommend every woman to take a serious birthing class – wherever you chose to deliver. The hospital birthing classes are unfortunately not very thorough or practice intensive. Bradley or Brio birthing classes are highly recommended because they really help train you how to work effectively with your bodies. They include lots of practice and help to work through any fear or anxiety you may be experiencing. The best thing we did in preparation for our births!
American Pregnancy Association – thoughts and resources on home birthing
The Homebirth Choice – an article by Midwifery Today
What birthing option have you chosen and what were the pros and cons of your experience? What do you think are the pros and cons of a hospital, birth center or home birth setting? Please keep comments considerate and respectful or they will be removed. Thank you!