These days, the idea of home birth is gaining in popularity, but hospital births are still more popular with most people. Indeed, try bringing up the idea of having a home birth in a group of expecting mothers, and you might get a wide range of reactions from enthusiastic acceptance to incredulous disbelief.
Whether you choose to give birth at the hospital or at home, the main goal is to ensure a safe experience for both you and your baby. You should give birth where you feel safe and comfortable, surrounded by your support team and with medically-trained professionals guiding you through the process.
If you’re trying to decide whether a home birth is right for you, here are some of the most common myths surrounding home births, and the truth behind them.
Myth 1: Home births are dangerous for both the baby and the mother
This might have been true in the past, however, the practice of midwifery has become much more scientific and regulated. Today, when you choose to have a planned home birth with a licensed and certified midwife helping you, it is as safe as having a planned birth in a hospital.
There are many midwifery companies that offer safe and guided home births which are conducted by experienced and licensed midwives. Companies such as Hearth and Home Midwifery, for example, employ highly-trained certified professionals as midwives. These people are trained in all the aspects needed to safely deliver your baby, as well as resuscitation and emergency procedures.
Myth 2: Having birth at home means you won’t have access to any pain relief
There is a kernel of truth to this: midwives are not allowed to administer epidurals. However, this does not mean that they are not able to provide alternative means of pain relief. Experienced midwives are all well-versed in coaching women in labor, as well as administering basic methods of pain relief, such as using heating pads, giving soothing baths, or performing gentle massages. If you are working with a larger midwifery company, they might even provide other methods of pain relief, such as acupressure, TENS machines, or even give you nitrous oxide. Should the pain still be too much the handle, the midwife can make an informed call and advise that you relocate to the hospital to get an epidural.
Myth 3: Home births are messy and unhygienic
The bloody and messy birth outside of a hospital setting is a popular trope in both television shows and movies, but in reality, experienced midwives are actually very clean and conscientious about their surroundings. They tend to clean up as they go, and barring any extreme complications, the mess brought about by a home birth can be cleaned up with a few disposable underpads, hot water, and a plastic sheet. In fact, if you regularly clean and disinfect your home, it might be cleaner than your local hospital and you would be less likely to catch a secondary infection from a home birth.
Myth 4: Home birth is for “hippies”
Another popular trope when it comes to home births is that it’s an option that’s chosen by unconventional families, such as hippies, or those without medical insurance. However, one of the reasons behind the rising popularity of the home birth is that those who choose this option are able to have more control over the birthing process. They are able to choose who attends the birthing process, and they can walk around their own home until they are just about ready to give birth. Considering how much focus and attention is given to a mother who is undergoing a home birth, you can even consider it a VIP option compared to conventional hospital births.
Myth 5: Home birth is the same as “free birth”
Many people mistakenly confuse “home births” with “free births”. However, free births are options chosen by people who don’t have medical insurance, or who do not have the financial resources to afford any kind of birthing assistance. This kind of birth is dangerous for both mother and baby since there is no medically trained personnel to you assist through the process and help if any emergencies occur. With a home birth, you will have the full attention and focus of a fully-trained midwife, as well as access to all the resources of the company that provided the midwifery services.
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