Updated: Nov 10
No, seriously, why aren’t more celebrities and wealthy pregnant people choosing to birth their babies in the comfort of their very luxurious homes?
My name is Michelle Collins. I am the owner of Asé Therapy and Services. I am a licensed therapist, mom, wife, daughter, friend, family member of addicts, trauma survivor, and many other things. These stream-of-consciousness musings represent the intersection between some of those identities and are brought to you to encourage conversation, connect with who I am, and boost our search ranking on Google.
Today’s musing focuses on the question: “Why aren’t the rich and famous making home birth cool?”
I have two wonderful children that I was able to birth at home. Until about 150 years ago, it was commonplace in America for children to be born at home with the birthing person surrounded by female relatives and the midwife. Doctor-assisted births grew in popularity in the late 1700s as upper-class women believed that doctors knew more about anatomy and therefore were able to better respond to emergencies. In my opinion, this false belief triggered the slow landslide into our present day where the majority of babies are born in hospitals. Doctor-assisted births are a great option for birthing folks who have health risks, babies who will need immediate and specific attention to thrive, or birthing folks interested in medicine-assisted pain management.
However, I think it’s important for people who are considering medicine-free births, have low-risk pregnancies, and are in optimal health to consider that hospitals have significantly less experience in labor and birth compared to the global female collective. In other words, females have been doing this for millennia – why not do it from the comfort of our own homes?
This brings me to my question – why aren’t celebrities birthing at home?! They have these gorgeous estates with all the amenities a birthing person would need during labor, birth, and postpartum. Yet, some of them still trek to the hospital?! I fear that if they won’t even consider home birth, I (and all the other home birth advocates) have a lot to do in spreading the glory known as home birth.
Home birth can be a safe and comfortable option for pregnant people under certain circumstances, and many birthing people choose this option for a variety of reasons. However, it's essential to understand that the safety of home birth depends on several factors, including the health of the parent, access to skilled midwives, and a well-prepared birth plan. Let's explore the reasons why some women opt for home birth and look at some sources and statistics related to its safety and satisfaction.
**1. Comfort and Familiarity:**
- One of the primary reasons women choose home birth is the comfort and familiarity of their environment. Being in a place they feel safe and relaxed can help reduce stress during labor, potentially leading to a smoother birthing process.
**2. Personalized Care:**
- Many birthing people appreciate the personalized care they receive from midwives during home births. Midwives often spend more time with their clients, offering emotional support and individualized care plans.
**3. Lower Intervention Rates:**
- Studies have shown that home births tend to have lower medical intervention rates compared to hospital births. This includes fewer cesarean births, episiotomies, and the use of forceps or vacuum extraction.
**4. Reduced Risk of Infection:**
- Hospitals can expose birthing people and newborns to various infections. Home births may reduce this risk by avoiding exposure to hospital-acquired infections.
**5. Positive Experience:**
- Many birthing people who have chosen home birth report having a positive and empowering experience. They value the control and autonomy they have over their birthing process.
Safety in Home Birth:
While home birth can be safe, it is essential to consider certain factors and have a qualified midwife present. According to a systematic review published in the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health (2018), low-risk pregnancies and planned home births attended by trained midwives had comparable safety outcomes to hospital births. The review analyzed multiple studies and found that home birth was associated with:
- Lower rates of maternal infections.
- Comparable rates of newborn infections, stillbirths, and neonatal deaths to hospital births for low-risk pregnancies.
Birthing People's Satisfaction with Home Birth:
The satisfaction of women who choose home birth is generally high. A study published in the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health in 2018 found that women who planned home births reported high levels of satisfaction with their birth experiences. They appreciated the personalized care, autonomy, and peaceful environment of home births. There's truly no better relief after giving birth compared to sleeping in your bed.
Many midwives recommend the 5-5-5 rule for the first 15 days postpartum which gives a framework for resting and intentionally increasing activity, while still honoring your body’s needs. All of this is MUCH easier to do when you're already home and not managing the rush/anxiety of loading into car seats and warding off visitors wanting to meet you as soon as you arrive home.
Five days in bed. These first five days you are resting as much as possible, getting up as little as possible. You can do almost everything from bed. Delegate meals, water refills, diaper and clothes changes. These are things your partner or support person can do (often partners feel like they don't know what to do– start here!). If you have older kiddos, have them on water refill duty.
Five days on bed. You’re still rocking your comfy robe and staying close to your bed. But now you’re getting up for 30 minutes (max at a time) and then resting for another 90 minutes. Take the opportunity to sit on the deck and get some fresh air, or hang out on the couch for a change of scenery.
Five days around bed. About half your day is still spent in bed (or on the couch) resting. You can start to incorporate short (like so short) outings and maybe a walk down the street. Again the focus is still on resting and bonding. If you notice your bleeding increase as your activity increases, that is your cue to slow it down.
In conclusion, home birth can be a safe and comfortable option for pregnant folks with low-risk pregnancies when attended by qualified midwives. It offers personalized care, lower intervention rates, and high levels of satisfaction for many birthing people.