Home Births vs. Hospital Births

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By: Karen Quijada

Confused about whether having a home birth or hospital birth? There are many sides to how childbirth should be practiced but every woman should be able to choose how they experience delivery, after-all its you experiencing the pain. But most importantly women should take into consideration the health and safety risks that comes with having either a home birth or a hospital birth. There are pros and cons to both sides, it just depends on what experience a woman wants. Giving birth is roughly the same throughout the world but the way its encountered varies through cultures leading to a wide variety of childbirth practices. Let’s start by discussing the 3 stages of labor.        
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FIRST STAGE: Labor starts with contractions causing the cervix to dilate. Once the opening of the uterus into the vagina fully dilates, the bones between mother’s pelvis become more flexible. Length of this stage varies between women, length can last anywhere from less than an hour to several days.
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SECOND STAGE: Baby is pushed headfirst through dilated cervix into the vagina. Contractions now are no more than a minute apart and last about a minute, the powerful contractions cause the mother to push the baby out.  

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THIRD STAGE: Once the baby is out, the placenta begins to separate from the uterine wall and is delivered minutes after the birth.

Now that you know the stages of labor, let’s see some of the pros and cons between home births and hospital births:

Home Birth Pros:

  • delivery environment is controlled by the one giving birth
  • able to walk around
  • delivery occurs naturally, no time constraint
  • able to eat and drink
  • allowed to have as many people throughout delivery
  • midwives provide emotional support during pregnancy, labor, and delivery process

Home Birth Cons:

  • waiting for emergency medical services for a newborn in distress can make a difference
  • most health insurances will not cover services outside of hospital settings
  • life threatening problems can occur

Hospital Birth Pros:

  • better equipped to deal with complications
  • provide drugs to relieve pain of childbirth
  • health insurance covers hospital births

Hospital Birth Cons:

  • controlled environment by hospital staff
  • confined to a bed
  • delivery process is sped up rather than occurring naturally
  • limited to eating and intake of liquids
  • limited to 2 or 3 people in delivery room
  • medications cause babies to be less attentive and more irritable, and are weaker days after being born

So as you can see it there are pros and cons to both home births and hospital births. Of course if you are diabetic, have high blood pressure, previously had a C-section, or have develop pregnancy complications than home birth is not recommended for you. But if you don’t have any of these complications, do some more research about home births and hospital births and ask your doctor about what might benefit you better. Keep in mind that the goal is to deliver a healthy baby!

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