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Hospital vs Home Births: What You Need to Know

The home birthing trend shows no sign of slowing down. People want their children to be born in a natural, healthy environment. Women have been giving birth without medical assistance since the beginning of time.

However, women and babies have also been injured, and even dying, during childbirth since the beginning of time. One of the advantages of giving birth in a hospital is the proximity to doctors and top of the line medical care. This can be life-saving in certain circumstances.

Of course, being in a hospital doesn’t make you invulnerable. Accidents due to negligence or mistreatment are rare and unfortunate but they do occur. As Cleveland birth injury attorneys The Lancione Law Firm note: Birth injuries caused by medical professionals are usually preventable… By filing a birth injury lawsuit, you can recover the monetary compensation you need to provide a full life for your child.”

The Benefits of Home Births

Home births are seeing a resurgence for a variety of reasons. For one, many women see them as more natural. A woman can give birth in her day-to-day surroundings. Hospitals are often stressful. Intangible benefits like the woman’s comfort level are very important.

Most women save money when they opt for a home birth. Hospital care is very expensive, even if you have insurance. An expectant mother might be able to save thousands of dollars in doctor's fees if she stays home.

The potential health benefits are more dubious. Some people believe that being born in a calm environment provides extra benefits to newborns.

"The underlying belief in midwifery is that birth is a physiological process, which makes sense to me… Versus the more medical view, which I'm trained in and I practice, that birth is something that can be high-risk at any moment and it's sort of a disaster waiting to happen,” Dr. Robyn Lamar, an OB-GYN at UCSF, told NPR.

Hospital Benefits

The medical benefits attending hospital births are clearer. If a woman is having a high-risk pregnancy, her only option is to give birth at the hospital. A home birth would be very irresponsible in that condition.

In fact, even if you opt for a home birth, you may be transported to a hospital when it’s finally time. There may be unforeseen complications.


There are risks associated with each option. Hospitals, for example, are rife with bacteria and viruses. A pregnant woman and her baby are more likely to catch an infection at a hospital than at their homes.

However, that must be weighed against the risks of something going wrong during the birth. There are many, many conditions that require prompt medical care.

How to Decide

If you’re pregnant, it’s time to discuss your options with your doctor. There are women who should not attempt a home birth. If your doctor tells you that you are one of these women, there’s nothing to feel bad about. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or your baby.

Once your doctor says it’s okay if you decide to choose a home birth, it’s up to you to decide what to do next. Every woman has a different story.

"Some [women] feel more at ease in the hospital because they know the experts are there. It gives them a lot of security and assurance," Lamar explained. "But, a lot of us feel like a duck out of water in the hospital. It's very unfamiliar. When you're on your home turf, and you're there with your family, it really does change the dynamic."

You have to think about your own preferences.


If you decide to give birth at home, there are a few preparations you should make to make the process easier. Do you plan on having a midwife or doula help you? These are medical professionals trained to help with childbirth. They can also spot the warning signs if it’s time to go to the hospital.

Pick an area where you want to give birth. Make sure it’s very clean. You want ample towels, fresh sheets, water, etc. It might be a very long process.

Becoming a mother may be one of the greatest events in a woman’s life. There’s a lot of planning involved. The actual birth may take longer than you expected. It may be messy. A home birth can be beautiful but it may also be impractical. You need to be fluid. The most important thing is the health of you and your baby.