Doula Chats: Home, Birthing Center, or Hospital?

May 23, 2022


I’ll never forget how my eyes widened when I found out as a 21-year-old student teacher that one of my students had been born at home ON PURPOSE. *shock and awe* Honestly, it had never occurred to me that birth happened anywhere BUT a hospital.

The truth is that birth can happen anywhere. Women’s bodies are divinely designed to carry and birth babies as another one of her physiological processes. The choice of where to birth has more to do with the kind of experience she wants to have and where she feels the most comfortable. Most families plan to birth in a hospital, a birthing center, or home for various reasons as each location comes with benefits and drawbacks.

Where you decide to birth should be a result of your research and your gut feeling/consultation with God. Here are some observations I’ve gathered over the years as I’ve attended hospital, birth center, and home births that may help give you some direction as you decide where you want to give birth.

*IMPORTANT NOTE* If you are considered high-risk by your provider, the safest place for you to birth is in a hospital.

Depending on your birth goals, some of these items would be considered benefits, and some would be considered drawbacks. For instance, if your goal is a medicalized birth, a hospital birth is definitely your best option as you have all the medical interventions right at your fingertips. If your goal is an unmedicated birth, you’re much more likely to achieve it in a birthing center or at home where those medical interventions are not available.

My Opinion

I love home births. I love being able to see a mother birth in her own space where she feels totally comfortable and safe, unconcerned about noises she makes, or positions she wants to labor in. I love that she gets to invite her closest family and/or friends and that she has a more intimate relationship with her provider, and possibly one of the things I love the most is that right after her baby is born, she can crawl into her bed and immediately begin recovering without having to worry about traveling anywhere.

But a home birth is not for everyone, and I have attended incredible hospital and birthing center births as well that have brought me to tears. The best thing you can do is to prepare yourself, decide what kind of birth experience you want, what you feel is safest for you and your baby, and ask the Lord to help guide you. After that, you move forward with confidence, excitement, and faith in Him and in yourself.

You’re going to be amazing.


*Susan Joy is a Doula and Birth Documenter serving the families of Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, Queen Creek, San Tan, and other cities in the East Valley. The information presented here is not medical advice. All medical decisions should be made after discussion with your medical provider.*

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