Home or Hospital Birth?

A few years ago, when I heard of a neighbor who was going to give birth at home, I thought she was crazy and never would have believed that two years later, I would be considering doing the same. And granted, I still lean towards a hospital birth. But I have to admit that I am tempted by certain aspects of the home birth idea. Here is a short pros-and-cons post that I am hoping will help me decide which suits me best.

Home-birth pros

- My son was born really quickly. Having my second baby at home would insure that I don’t give birth in the taxi en route to the hospital  (we don’t even have a car).
- There wouldn’t be any annoying nurse knocking on the door at 2 in the morning when I’m finally asleep.
- It wouldn’t be as hard to find care for our son: if I give birth at night, he would hopefully keep sleeping and we wouldn’t have to find someone to come sleep in our apartment, if it’s during the day we would still have to find someone to take care of him for a few hours (I’d rather not have him in the house during delivery) but after that he would be welcome to join us.
- We wouldn’t have to put up with crappy hospital food.
- We wouldn’t have to pay for a taxi, carry car seats, have someone take our boy back and forth to the hospital for visits, etc.
- Our son wouldn’t miss our presence for as long, and Zak could stay with me and the baby instead of having to go back and forth to take care of our son at home.
- I am a prime candidate for a home birth as I had a healthy full-term first baby with a normal, vaginal delivery, with no pain management needed (and no time for it anyway).
- The first time around, I needed to take antibiotics for Strep B. Because the delivery went too quickly, they only had time to give me one dose instead of the recommended two, which meant they had to check our son’s vitals more often to make sure he was ok. With a home-birth, we would most likely have more time for antibiotics.
- In case of emergency, the hospital is literally 5 minutes from home and it is fully equipped for deliveries.

Home-birth cons:

- I (well, we) may have some clean-up to do after. Bloody sheets, bloody carpet, etc.
- Although the midwives provide postnatal care at home, they still won’t be there 24 hours a day if I need help with latching the baby, for instance. Nurses would.
- Our bedroom is pretty small to accommodate me, Zak, the midwife plus probably a student.
- In case of emergency, the hospital I would be sent to, which is the closest to home, is not the one I would chose to deliver at. It is a general hospital, which means that after a c-section, women cannot have their babies and husbands with them right away as the recovery room is shared with patients that had all sorts of other surgeries.
- There are some risks involved, although I believed they are not that high given my history and the proximity of the hospital. Still, I would be farther away from emergency care.
- If there was a problem with the baby, we would have to take him to the Children’s hospital (granted, only about 20 minutes away) instead of already being on-site.
- With a midwife caring for us, we can get early discharge from the hospital even if I give birth there.
- I remember yelling a lot of obscenities when I gave birth to my son. Not sure I would like my neighbors (and especially my son) to hear that, which means I may have to try and control myself. Especially if our son is sleeping.

Did I forget anything?

4 Responses to “Home or Hospital Birth?”

  1. Kathleen Says:

    Do you have an in-between option? If/when we have a second I want to look into a birthing centre attached or close to a hospital…. the idea being that I would get more of the birthing experience I want (natural and supportive, midwife rather then just nurses and doctors) but still have the safety back up of being able to go to the hospital under care if necessary. Oh, and no clean up.

  2. sophie Says:

    I don’t know of any birthing centres, but we are receiving care from a midwife who can help us give birth at the hospital. So if I chose hospital birth (which is likely), it will be with a midwife supporting natural choices, and the delivery rooms for women who have no complications are really nice with huge bathtubs, etc. So it wouldn’t be that bad…

  3. Anne Says:

    I never considered giving birth at home, but 15 years ago, that wasn’t really an option. I didn’t trust midwives to much back then anyway. But about 2 years ago I read a very good novel, Les accoucheuses, about the struggle of midwives against doctors back in the middle of the 19th century in Québec. I realized midwives back then had an incredible knowledge that kind of got lost, at least for a period. Now I think I’d like to give birth with a midwife, but then I’m done giving birth and very happy about it.

  4. sophie Says:

    I had my first child with our family doctor, who was wonderful, but unfortunately she moved back East. And what I realized at some point is that midwives nowadays have 4 years of studies on pregnancy and birth alone, which is a lot more than a family doctor can have since he’s a generalist. That gave me great confidence in the ability of midwives, and so far the ones at our clinic seem competent enough. Of course, I am also more confident having had a child already with an easy pregnancy, and knowing that if I have any doubts about what they tell me, I have lots of resources from which I can find information.