Photo by Rhonda Robbins
The reason I am a midwife today is because I had my son Larsen at home 22 years ago. Many people are embarrassed to admit this, but not me. The main reason I looked into birthing at home at that time was because the cost was lower than that of a hospital birth.
Today, home birth remains a safe, relaxing, and affordable option for birthing moms and their partners. Though everyone has different reasons for choosing a home birth, there are a few that are common among expectant parents.
Home Birth is Affordable.
In Utah, home birth costs approximately $3,000. It is my own belief that in most areas of the United States, the cost of a home birth remains much less than a hospital birth. For some, it costs even less than the co-pay for most insurance providers.
When I tell my prospective clients my fee, the most common response is an incredulous: “does that include everything?” It does. Though extra tests like ultrasounds and lab work can add a few hundred dollars, those are not always necessary for everyone. In our world of rising health care costs, it amazes me that parents can welcome their baby into the world with an affordable option.
Home Birth is Nonintrusive.
Many midwives offer what I call a “no-hassle” approach to childbirth. Midwives generally believe that birth is a natural body process, not a medical emergency. We subscribe to the belief that that if let alone, without disturbance, the birthing can master the task at hand – delivering her baby – better than she would with most forms of medical intervention. In the case of a healthy pregnancy, the expectant mother simply needs good encouragement and support.
Home Birth Provides a Positive Environment.
During a prenatal appointment, midwives typically take vital signs on the mom and baby, measure the baby, track maternal weight and do a urinalysis. These are all basic, non-invasive medical screenings that are simply good common sense. Assuming that a mom is healthy, we look for a healthy outcome from a pregnancy. Sometimes I wonder if there Is a bit of a hyper vigilance in the medical community that can actually scare moms. Of course, there are a few situations that require medical attention and intervention, but in a typical pregnancy, a more positive approach can lead to a more positive outcome.
This notion carries over to the baby’s actual birth as well as the prenatal care. In a healthy pregnancy, we believe it’s better to focus on the positive than to look steadfastly for a problem. When it comes time to deliver, a mom can labor and birth in a more peaceful, positive environment, free from stress. A mom who is fed, hydrated, rested, and comfortable will be more than adequately equipped to deliver her baby. As her care providers, her midwives and doulas become the true support staff with mom at the center.
Home Birth Allows More Creature Comforts.
Many of the moms whose babies I deliver at home opt to have a water birth. Water can be a wonderful comfort during the most intense periods of labor. Some parents choose to buy, rent or borrow a special birthing tub, while others prefer to labor and/or birth in one of the tubs already in the home. We especially recommend “garden tubs” or “jetted tubs” as the most relaxing for a laboring mom.
To ensure that the baby is safe and healthy during delivery, midwives use Doppler technology to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. Most midwives even do cervical checks in the water – so the mom won’t even need to get up and move in the throes of a contraction.
Once the baby arrives, one of the best parts of having a homebirth is that your recovery process begins as soon as you deliver. There is quite honestly no place like home, and once a woman has delivered her baby, she can go straight to her own bed.
When a new mom has great support and is able to rest at home, she’ll rest better than anywhere else on the planet. With the right care and preparation, a home birth is a safe and healthy way to bring a baby into the world – surrounded by all of the comforts of home.
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