Home birth versus hospital birth: which should you choose?

Are you expecting a baby, and considering your birthing options? We investigate the pros and cons of home births and hospital births.

If you’re about to welcome your little one into the world, you may have a lot on your mind. From choosing their name to organising their nursery and sorting out your finances, there’s a lot to think about before their arrival.

One of the questions you may be asking yourself is how to give birth. Should you head to the hospital or prep for a home birth?

Here, we explore some of the pros and cons of each option to help you decide what’s best for you and your baby.

The pros and cons of a home birth

Here are some of the pros of a home birth:

  • You’ll be in the comfort of your own home, which can help you feel more at ease 
  • You won’t have to navigate a potentially stressful journey to get to the hospital on time
  • You could enjoy unlimited skin-on-skin contact with your little one post-birth
  • If you have other children, you may not need to organise childcare during labour
  • There’s a high chance of having a vaginal birth and a lower chance of interventions or medications

Here are some of the cons of a home birth:

  • It may not be a safe option if you have pregnancy complications, are expecting twins, or have certain medical conditions
  • You may still need to go to the hospital if an emergency occurs. If this happens it could take longer to get you/your baby the care you need when time is of the essence
  • Certain medical pain relievers like epidurals are not available at home
  • According to the NHS, “if you’re having your first baby, home birth slightly increases the risk of serious problems for the baby – including death or issues that may affect the baby’s quality of life”

The pros and cons of a hospital birth

Here are some of the pros of a hospital birth:

  • Faster access to specialist doctors in the hospital if you have complications
  • Access to several types of pain medication, such as epidurals and drips
  • Hospitals are better equipped to deal with sudden changes to your birth plan, like if you need a C-section. While maternity negligence can occur, this is rare
  • Hospitals are sterile and well-prepared for the mess that comes with birth

Here are some of the cons of a hospital birth:

  • It can feel stressful and overwhelming to be in an unfamiliar environment
  • Certain resources may not be available when you go into labour, such as birthing pools
  • There may be a limit to how many people can be with you during the birth
  • You may not know the doctor who delivers your baby, while home births allow you to get to know your midwife during pregnancy

There are pros and cons to both home and hospital births, so it’s important to do what feels right for you. You should speak to your doctor and midwife about the various birthing options to see what they advise for your unique circumstances, so you can welcome your baby in the safest way possible.