I just caught this on the news. Home births are becoming more popular – at least according to the National Center for Health Statistics. While only 1 percent of parents choose a home birth, this is an increase of almost 30 percent in the last decade.
The NCHS study reports that home births have a lower risk profile than hospital births, with fewer births to teenagers or unmarried women, and with fewer preterm, low birth weight, and multiple births. Most home births are attended by midwives. If you have no other risk factors, a midwife can help make a home birth a safe and rewarding experience. The news story quotes Eileen Beard from the American College of Midwives: “At home a woman is free to surround herself with the items and people she loves.” My own midwife worked closely with me when my own delivery issues forced me to switch to a hospital birth.
I’ve photographed births at hospitals, birthing centers, and at home. Certainly, the environment at home is less stressful, with mom and dad in familiar surroundings and in control of the what was going on. In all environments, I’ve been consistently impressed with the midwives I’ve been in contact with. A doula, a birth photographer (of course), and well-coached family members can also make home birth a great experience.
But if you’ve thought about a home birth, Austin has great resources for building your home birth team. Get a clean bill of health from your obstetrician. And from my own experience I know how important having a backup plan can be in case your deliver becomes challenging. You would be joining a growing number of parents having their babies at home.