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Home births vs the hospital – what you need to know

  • Bonitas
  • Category Advice Column, Bonitas, Health, Lifestyle, Pregnancy, Pregnancy & Baby, Recently

If you’re expecting a baby then you’ll probably know that you’ll have a choice between a home or hospital birth. If a home birth is something you’re considering it’s important that you weigh up the relative pros and cons. A home birth means you’ll be giving birth at home as opposed to the hospital, and if this is something that you are considering it is important that you discuss it with your doctor.

What are the benefits of a home birth?

The first pro of a home birth is that you are at home, in a familiar environment with familiar people or trusted friends. It is only recently that hospital births have become so common, and prior to half way through the 20th century, most births did happen at home .

Another reason why some moms choose to deliver at home is the fact that allows them to give birth with a lesser degree of medical intervention and they have more freedom in the birthing process. After giving birth you are able to be in the comfort of your own home with your new baby and family, another reason why home birth would be chosen over a hospital by moms.

If you think this may be an option for you, you’ll need to find a midwife who has experience with home births so that if any issues should arise, she has a contingency plan to deal with the situation.

The risk depends on your situation. If you are only carrying one baby, don’t have diabetes or high blood pressure, haven’t had a previous c-section and live around 15 mins away from the nearest hospital (in case of emergency) you are a more ideal candidate for a home birth. It’s important to weigh in on the possible risks  before deciding if a home birth method is right for you and your baby.

When would the hospital be a better option?

Generally speaking, hospital births are safer because there are always doctors available in the case of an emergency, for instance if the baby becomes blocked in the birthing canal or the mom starts hemorrhaging.

During your home birth, you may need to be transported to the hospital if your labour or birthing process doesn’t go to plan (that’s why it’s important to live close by to one if you choose this option). If your labour is slow, you need pain relief, the baby shows signs of distress or isn’t head first it’s best to be transported to the hospital for medical assistance.

What do you need to prepare for a home birth?

If you are seriously considering a home birth make sure you’ve consulted with your doctor to make sure this is a good option for you and your baby. If it’s something you want to consider, you’ll probably be wondering what you need to prepare for a home birth.

Before getting to the details, you’ll need to choose a midwife or health care professional to assist, create a birthing plan, a well as a plan to prepare for a hospital transfer, should this become needed.

If you still have questions, Home Birth South Africa, which is a website dedicated to home births in South Africa, has many resources you can browse through.

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