Home Births on the Rise

The most common way mothers give birth is in a hospital surrounded by nurses and their doctor. This type of birthing is common but doesn’t fit every mother or soon-to-be mother. Home births have gained popularity in recent years for several reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and people are learning that this is a safe and spiritual way to give birth.

Sherri Daigle is a certified professional midwife (CPM) and a licensed midwife practitioner, and she believes home births are a recipe for success. However, she has qualifications before she agrees to be a midwife for a mother. 

Home births are for people who are having a low-risk pregnancy, which includes the mother being in good health, keeping up a healthy lifestyle, and, overall, doesn’t have any significant underlying health history.

“If you do not want to eat right, then you do not want to have a home birth because you’re telling me you’re okay with increased risk,” Daigle says. “We’re not taking food away. We’re changing where it’s placed in the diet. All of a sudden, not only are the sugars lower, by way of example, they feel better.”

Daigle also discourages first-time mothers from having a home birth because giving birth tends to be much more challenging than one imagined it could be. 

“It’s not high sales whatsoever. I don’t want you to buy my service. I only want to serve you if it’s a fit for you,” Daigle says. 


Why Do Mothers Choose Home Births?

One benefit of having a home birth is that you can make all the decisions, from choosing who you want at the birth to where you want to have the baby. 

“They are the ones guiding the decision-making rather than being told what they can do,” Daigle says. “They are getting very individualized care. [We’re] seeing them as a whole person and giving holistic care.” 

People who go the other direction with a more common hospital birth don’t always get to build trust with their physician before the baby is born. There are typically several births in one day at the same hospital. This leads to a very tight schedule for nurses and doctors, which results in a formula of care.

“The average OB visit is six minutes in this country,” Daigle says. In this six-minute appointment,  there isn’t enough time for each nurse and doctor to get to know every patient. 

A home birth tends to be a more intimate experience, where the mother knows, trusts and has a connection with her midwife, and receives continuous care. Daigle offers an hour to an hour and a half consultation to get to know her clients, from their diet and lifestyle to their emotional health. 

“I tell the people when I sit down with them that we’re doing more than poking your belly and measuring how big the baby is. We are seeing about you. We are gaining trust for one another,” Daigle says. “I might tell you a birth story, and you might tell me about your grandma’s knitted quilt, but make no mistake about it–we’re learning each other, so in that birth room, we have embedded trust.”

Additionally, home births are in the comfort and privacy of your own home, so it tends to be a much more intimate experience than a hospital room. Having a baby is a big deal, and parents should be able to have the experience they want. 


Why Are Home Births Growing in Popularity?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2020 to 2021, home births increased in 30 states. The increases ranged from 8 percent in Florida to 49 percent in West Virginia.

“There was a lot of fear, especially in the beginning surrounding COVID, and there were a lot of people that were really concerned about not being able to have the people that they wanted with them in the birth space,” says Emily Thompson, a midwife at Organic Home Birth. 

Aside from the fear of the pandemic, Thompson also believes the thoughts and feelings around home births are changing. When she became a midwife 15 years ago, many people didn’t know it was an option or thought the birthing method was strange. 


What Choice is Right for Me? 

Similarly to how hospital births aren’t for everyone, home births aren’t the right fit for everyone either. The natural birthing process can be much different than in a hospital, and women who have a high-risk pregnancy should go to the hospital to have their baby. This can be a beautiful, spiritual experience for couples, so if you’re interested in exploring this form of birth, contact a home birthing center for more information.