Why do some women choose to birth at home?

July 21, 2021

I remember hearing about a parent of one of my students when I was student teaching in a first-grade classroom who had delivered all of her babies at home and thinking - I'm now ashamed to admit - how barbaric that was. *insert palm-forehead emoji here*

Now, with several birth experiences under my belt and a broader understanding of birth, let me tell you why some women choose to birth at home.

You don't have to go anywhere.

This is a motivator for several reasons. Not only is your bed either under you already or just a few feet away for you to crawl into with your brand new baby once they're born, but being in a place where you are comfortable and relaxed plays a major role in the length of your labor. Oftentimes, labor will slow down or stall when a woman goes from laboring at home to the hospital because it is an unfamiliar place that is designed for sterility and lighting - although I would be remiss if I didn't credit many hospitals, doctors, and nurses who are working to change the atmosphere of their delivery rooms.

You don't have to worry about childcare.

You may want to have a family member on call to watch your older children while you birth during the day, but if your baby decides to come in the night as many do, then no problem! Plus, seeing their tiny, tired faces in the morning when they have a brand new baby in the house is priceless.

You are in control of who is present for your birth

Especially with COVID-19 restrictions in the last year, this is a major factor in many parent's decision to birth at home It's also comforting to know who will be in your space as you progress through your labor, which is - obviously - and incredibly intimate and vulnerable time. You're also able to communicate your birth plan and wishes with all who will be present so that you know that everyone is on the same page.

You want to have an unmedicated birth experience with little to no interventions.

This is more likely to be achieved where interventions are not present, and therefore, not an option.

You want a more intimate and connected experience with your partner, provider, and other members of your birth team.

Midwives attend home births and spend a good amount of time getting to know you, educating you, and developing a relationship with you. Your partner becomes an invaluable member of the team as your support and the person person who has all the brass-tacks information. He also has the opportunity to catch your baby.

You want to recover at home.

Surrounded by things you're familiar with, people you love, not worried about having left something that you need at home, bathe in your own shower, and not having to be awakened every 30 minutes to be checked on. You get to begin bonding as a family immediately. And all of your post-natal checkups are conducted in your own home, so no worries about doctors offices, babysitting, or getting everything in the car.

You get to prepare your birth space.

When you are stressed or in an unfamiliar place and unfamiliar things are happening to you, your body enters fight or flight mode. This state of being causes your body to defer energy towards the things that will help it to either fight or flee. Neither of these responses are appropriate for birth, nor are they helpful or necessary. At home, you can listen to your birth playlist, hang up empowering/meaningful birth affirmations and artwork/photos that inspire you, light a candle or heat oils with the scents that you like best, dim the lights, and create the ambiance that you want for your birthing experience. It feels familiar and it feels safe.

The first time I attended a home birth was the first time I really saw how calm, peaceful, prepared, and fearless a birth could be. Planning a home birth requires more than visits to your OB. It requires careful planning and promotes birth education and preparedness. Not just for you, but everyone in your family. You become a team with a goal, and feeling that connection and sense of purpose with others is one of the best parts of giving birth. Even though you're ultimately the one who has to deliver your baby, you never feel truly alone.

NOW! Some answers from YOU! I asked in my Instagram Stories why some women would choose to deliver at home and here's what you said!

  • To be comfortable.
  • To be in control.
  • To feel safe.
  • To be in an environment that supports my birth plans.
  • It's a sacred moment that I want to keep sacred. Also, the ability to advocate for myself is higher.
  • To watch your babies first breath in your own home!
  • More comfortable, no car rides while in labor, kitchen filled with food (I got so hungry in labor).
  • Everyone comes to you, you don't have to worry about cleanup, no waiting to be admitted.
  • You can have anyone you want there.
  • More control on the temperature.
  • Comfort.
  • Peace... no machines or wires or hard bed. I'd be left to labor in peace.
  • You can control who is doing your care and are less likely to encounter yucky providers or nurses. A benefit for all, but especially for POC and American Indian/Alaskan Native women. Visit this page from the CDC's website for more information.
  • The experience is honored more with home birth providers.
  • To have more control over what treatments and vaccines are given to my baby.
  • Don't want to have to get up and leave my house during labor time to go to a new location.
  • Comfort of being home. ACTUALLY having skin to skin time!
  • I wanted a water birth and the hospitals around me don't "allow" you to give birth in the water.
  • Because birth isn't a medical event. And just like most things in my life, I do them at home.

Whatever you decide to do, whether hospital, birth center, or home birth, good luck, Mama!


Susan is a doula, birth photographer, and videographer serving Mesa, Arizona and surrounding cities in the East Valley including Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Considering a birth documentor for your birth? Visit susanjoyaz.com and leave an inquiry!

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