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Gosh … what is the difference between a homebirth and hospital birth to YOU? No kidding. Make a list with pros/cons. What do you think the differences are to you?.Make another list about the choices you would make if you birthed at home (whether you want to or not) and the choices you’d make if you birthed in hospital (whether you want to or not). This is a great exercise for two big reasons for thinking about both places:

  • You might have an unplanned home birth or in the back of the car. This happens more than you’d think particularly if this is a subsequent birth.
  • You might end up in hospital from your Birth Centre or home birth without intent.

You need to know what to do in either situation.

What are the simple differences between a hospital birth vs a homebirth? 

Well, it’s obvious. You’re in your own home at a home birth. Your hospital either is inviting or one of ‘those’ institutions.

You’ll probably have a midwife at your home birth while most likely to have an obstetrician as your primary birth provider but may have staff midwives.

Yes, if you want, need or are pressured to have heaps of medical care that will be available in hospital not at a homebirth. However, don’t think that you’ll avoid ‘interventions’ at your home birth unless you birth as a ‘Free Birth’ or ‘Unassisted Homebirth‘. We’ll talk about this in a moment.

After the birth you’ll be at home, obviously, when you birth at home. Some hospitals give you early discharge … sometimes as short as 6 hours after birth!

What’s similar between a homebirth and a hospital birth? 

Gosh, we don’t think this question is asked often. Basically it’s simple … you are giving birth no matter where you do it, with whom and what is happening around the birth.

You might love your birth or hate it. A homebirth doesn’t guarantee you’ll love your birth and many women love their hospital birth.

You might cope well with the birthing process or not whether you’re in a hospital and home birth. Many women manage and cope beautifully in their hospital birth even if there are tubes coming out of every hole. Many women stay focused and in control while birthing at home. And the reverse is true.

You can have a problem at both hospital and home birth.

Have you made a decision? 

Our job as Common Knowledge Trust and Birthing Better is to help you just settle in your mind a big ignored Truth … You are going to give birth one way or another! This is so important for YOU to understand. You can struggle all you want about the decision where you’ll birth. Or, perhaps you already know, have made a decision and are making your Birth Plans. But underlying that YOU must be able to birth at home or in hospital, during a storm or flood, after having a fight with your spouse or home with sick kids. YOU are going to birth somewhere, at some point and you may have ZERO control of what is happening around you or to you.

Choices should lead to actions

So many of us treat our Birth Plan as a wish list or menu item … ‘I want this, I don’t want that’. So the question is: ‘How are you going to achieve your Birth Plan?’ Honestly, this is almost impossible.

If this is your first birth coming up you have no idea what to put in your Birth Plan and what will go your way? Think about it. You can want 10 things on your Birth Plan … things when birth starts, things as birth unfolds, things after the birth. What if 9 of those 10 things unfolded but your most important one didn’t?

Putting this bluntly … you should not expect ‘them’ to give you the birth you want. YOU have to do something. What is that? Well, our Trust and Birthing Better wants you to become skilled so you can feel empowered no matter your personal experience. YOU need to take action.

Homebirth vs hospital birth with skills

Really there’s no societal expectation that YOU and your partner become skilled. If you’ve even heard about birth skills, you probably have found a childbirth skills method that focuses on natural birth, perhaps painless labor, and less medical care. That’s cool but what if your birth situation changes? Will you use those skills no matter what? Will your skills adjust, adapt and be sustainable?

Let’s think about what we’ve been discussing. Yes, hospital births are different from home births in some ways but giving birth is the same where ever you birth. This means that when you are skilled your ability, capability, actions stem from a skills-based perception of ‘giving birth’ rather than choices, needs, wants or pressures.

Some examples

Breathing: The basic skills you want to be comfortable using are first and foremost good breathing patterns. Using your breath to stay focused, calm and able to cope with any discomforts is your first line of action.

Softening: Being able to soften INSIDE your pelvis … not necessarily on the outside. Your baby doesn’t rub off your skin. If you want to labor and have a vaginal birth then your baby has to come down, through and out.

If you’re going to have a non-laboring c-section, you’re going to spend time driving to the hospital, while waiting, being prepped, during surgery and post-operative recovery. What are you planning to do to fill that time? Why not be engaged in doing something?

Geez, if nothing else you’ll be filling Time … we all have to do that sometimes in Life. Go beyond just filling Time to consciously use skills to work alongside your baby’s birth journey!

Communication: This is a biggie. It’s not about telling your OB or midwife anything, although that’s a good place to have communication. But communicating via Birth Plan and chatting is what we all do. But YOU know there are times in your life where you either communicated well within yourself and others … or you didn’t.

YOU need non-verbal and verbal skills that others understand. There’s a knack to being understood! YOU need to be able to communicate to yourself. You know there are times you wish you had been nicer, more engaged, focused, determined, in control or gotten more out of the experience instead of just letting things ‘happen’ to you.’

Yes there are more skills

Here’s the thing. What do YOU do in your Life? Do you do anything that requires skills? Of course, you do. Imagine you had 8-24 hours to do that specific task without the skills you have? It’s simple … become a skilled birthing mother and birth-coaching skills. Do it now. YOU are pregnant. You will give birth.

Birthing Better skills were developed by moms and dads in the early 1970s in the US and used by many thousands globally in all types of birth. Birthing Better online birthing classes are housed in Common Knowledge Trust.