Guess where the most popular place to give birth has been over the course of human history? Homes! Of course, there weren't other options until the past couple hundred years.
The modern era has led to hospital births being the predominant choice for women in most of the world. In fact, it's just generally assumed to be the place of birth without question. This "medicalization" of childbirth has led to so many benefits with lower infant and maternal death rates compared to the most of human history. But does that mean hospitals should be the only option?
The medicalization of childbirth over the last century has permeated a myth that's hard to get out of our minds - especially for men: childbirth is unsafe.
That's simply not true. In fact, hospital births can lead to certain dangers that aren't even possible in a home birth, but that's another story. The point is, so many men are opposed to the idea of a home birth based on completely inaccurate information.
Women often ask me how to get their husband on board if she wants a home birth. This tends to be a source of tension between couples, especially first-timers. Personally, I think it’s because of protective instincts in men. It's not that they want to deny their spouse's desires, it's that deep down keeping her safe is more important to them. But that’s not an excuse to believe the Western, post-industrial myth that home births are dangerous. Ignorance won't keep anyone safer.
The narrative of home birth danger breaks down when you look at the facts...
Fact: For low-risk pregnant women, home births are a perfectly safe option.
Fact: Statistics from the CDC show that home birth popularity has been growing very steadily for the past 20+ years.
Fact: A typical home birth is cheaper than a typical hospital birth. (That comes with a big caveat, though: your health insurance may not cover home births.)
Fact: Lots of guys start out being skeptical of home births, but eventually end up liking them. Not only do I have anecdotal evidence from friends of mine, but statistics show that many couples tend to choose home births after they’ve already had previous hospital births.
Are there unforeseen situations where couples in the end were thankful they chose the hospital? Absolutely. Is a home where couples should give birth? Of course not. It's a personal choice. I just want men to be more open minded about this discussion with their loved ones. Listen guys, you just might enjoy the freedoms and comforts that come with a home birth.