Why do People Like Hospital Birth More Than Home Birth?

Why do people like hospital births more than home births?

Answer:

I think this is a great question, and I don't really know the answer.

I think a big part of it is that having babies at the hospital is “normal.” Many women never give it a second thought because that's “just where babies are born.” At least that's true in many cultures, including the US.

Other countries have higher rates of home birth, such as the Scandinavian countries and even the UK and Canada. It's more accepted and traditional in those countries.

Medical bodies in the US also actively advocate against home birth so women hear that home birth may be dangerous to themselves and their babies. They don't realize that home birth is safe – doctors and medical “authorities” want women to think that women who home birth are “crazy” and are taking risks with their baby's lives.

I think that a lot of women still also get a sense of security from the hospital – they feel more comfortable knowing that a “rescue” is right there should something go wrong with birth. Again, we have really been conditioned to expect things to go wrong with birth. So that hospital is a nice measure “just in case” (because really, most women are expecting something to go wrong while just hoping it doesn't).

Pain relief is another reason. Women are terrified of the pain of labor. They want it to be gone and they want baby-having to be pain free and easy. Only the hospital (in the US) offers this. Other countries can bring gas and air or TENS machines to home birth, but those are not common in the US. Water is also an effective form of pain relief, but most women don't realize that. They want to relieve pain and the hospital offers medication that “works” – or at least it's supposed to.

Sometimes a woman may want a home or birth center birth, but is pressured by her partner or family to have a hospital birth. This happens a lot to women desiring VBAC, even in the hospital. Partners or families pressure them about how “dangerous” home birth or VBACs are and how they would be a bad mother to take that risk.

Some women also cite cost as a factor – insurance companies (at least in the US) will pay for a huge portion of hospital birth. Home births and midwives are often paid out of the family's pockets. Some women say they just cannot afford this.

I won't judge any of the above reasons, I just list some of them as reasons why women continue to have babies in hospitals rather than at home.

The fact of the matter is, home birth IS safe and studies show it repeatedly. Women CAN give birth without drugs and intervention, as is proved every day, all over the world.

Our modern societies just don't (in general) support that. It's a real shame for women and babies, but that's the way it is.

About the author 

Kristen

Kristen is childbirth educator, student midwife, and a mama to 8 - all born naturally! She has spent years helping mamas have healthy babies, give birth naturally, and enjoy the adventure of motherhood. Find her on her website NaturalBirthandBabyCare.com and helping families through her online childbirth class MamaBabyBirthing.com

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