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What Are the Benefits of Home Births?

Safety

According to Ronnie Falcao, licensed midwife, home births are as safe as or safer than hospital births for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. Women giving birth at home have lower rates of Cesarean section, episiotomy, fetal distress and other problems during labor and birth. Women giving birth at home are not exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria sometimes found in hospitals. For safety reasons, though, it is important that women giving birth at home live within easy driving distance of a hospital in case complications do arise.

Fewer Medical Interventions

Mothers undergo fewer medical interventions during home births than during hospital births. Some medical equipment is unavailable in the home, and many interventions may be less likely to be necessary in the home since the mother can move around freely and practice non-medical methods of pain management, according to Falcao.

Continuous Care

When a woman gives birth at home, she generally has one birth attendant that cares for her throughout labor, birth and the immediate postpartum period. This differs from a typical hospital birth during which a number of nurses might care for a woman during labor. Doctors often arrive just in time to attend the birth but rarely spend much time supporting women during labor in hospital settings. Mothers often prefer having one caregiver, and continuity of care may reduce the risk of errors in treatment or medication.

Mother More Comfortable

Many mothers feel more comfortable in their own homes. They remain in familiar surroundings with familiar people. They can move around as they please, eat foods that they like, have as many support people present as they like and do other things that may be difficult to do in a hospital setting.

Increased Family Involvement

Some hospitals limit the number of support people that can attend a birth. At a home birth, though, the parents can decide who will attend. Family members can also take on a more active role.

Less Costly

Home births generally cost less than hospital births, though health insurance policies do not always cover home births.

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