Is Home Birth Right for You?

Written by featured writer Emily Graham

Are you expecting a child and considering giving birth at home? Home births certainly aren’t new — women were giving birth at home long before the first hospital was ever built. Today, however, home births only account for about 1% of all deliveries.

The fall — and rise — of home births

Home births fell out of favor as doctor-assisted and medicated births rose in popularity during the 20th century. In recent years, however, interest in giving birth at home has seen a resurgenceas women seek all-natural deliveries that put them, not their physician, in the driver’s seat.

That resurgence has only been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which left many expectant parents apprehensive about hospital visits. When hospitals are packed full of sick patients, it’s easy to see the appeal of staying home.

The Benefits of Home Birth

Home births offer a lot of benefits to mother and baby alike, including an intimate setting, freedom of movement, skin-to-skin care, and a lower likelihood of medical interventions like induced early deliveries and unnecessary cesareans. Home births also let parents choose who attends the birth — an important perk during a time when many hospitals strictly limit visitors.

Water births are another major appeal of delivering at home. Water births may reduce labor pain, duration, and perineal trauma for expectant mothers. While some birthing centers offer water births, many women prefer to purchase their own pool kit for less.

Birthing balls, stools, and squat bars are more props that help women have a comfortable home birth. At home, you can also set the scene with calming scents, soothing music, and prayers or rituals to promote positive energy. Even if you’re not religious, a simple cleansing ritual can ease anxiety and fear during labor.

Who shouldn’t choose a home birth

There are a lot of reasons to choose home birth, but it’s not right for everyone. High-risk pregnancies, multiples, vaginal births after cesareans (VBACs), and breech births should be delivered at a hospital or birth center where mother and baby can receive close monitoring. Women should also think twice about home birth if it’s their first delivery. While only 9% of women who have already given birth end up transferring to a hospital during a home birth, that number skyrockets to 23-37% for first-time mothers.

Home births: Assisted vs. Unassisted

For women who choose to give birth at home, there’s another question to consider: Should you enlist the help of a midwife or give birth unassisted? Also known as freebirths, unassisted births appeal to women who have limited financial resources or prior negative experiences with healthcare providers. However, giving birth without the assistance of trained professionals poses unnecessary risk to mother and child. Without the oversight of a midwife, birth complications like umbilical cord problems and postpartum hemorrhaging are more likely to become serious.

certified midwife or nurse-midwife is the most important professional to attend a home birth, but many expectant parents opt to hire a doula as well. While midwives provide medical support during labor and delivery, doulas attend to a new mother’s physical, emotional, and informational needs.

Does health insurance cover home births?

Home births are often cheaper than hospital births, with one big caveat: Not all health insurance plans cover home births. Mothers who give birth at home without insurance coverage may find themselves paying more than they would at a hospital or birth center.

This is especially true for women covered by Medicaid, as only 21 states cover home births under Medicaid. While advocates are pushing for Medicaid to improve coverage for midwifery and home births to accommodate the surge in demand triggered by the pandemic, policy change remains a work in progress. If you’re considering a home birth, discuss options with your health insurance provider so you understand what’s covered.

Giving birth is a magical experience no matter where it happens. However, for women who want more control over their birth experience, home birth can be an excellent choice. As you weigh your labor and delivery options, talk with your healthcare provider so you can choose the best birth setting for you and your baby.

Photo via Unsplash

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How to Prepare for a Baby Without Breaking the Bank

Photo via Pexels

Written by featured writer Emily Graham

Preparing for a baby can be an incredibly stressful and expensive process. After all, there’s just so much stuff to buy! Or is there? Having a baby changes your life in so many wonderful ways, but it doesn’t have to drain your savings. From buying used baby supplies to having a home birth, there are many great ways to keep your spending in check while you prepare for the arrival of your little one.

Buy Used Whenever Possible

Buying used is the best way to stretch your baby budget. Shop around in thrift shops, buy gently used items online, or ask around in your mom circles to find parents willing to part with their old baby supplies. Most baby items are generally safe to buy used, including changing tables, baby monitors, baby bathtubs, toys, and clothing. That said, there are a few things you should always purchase new, including a crib, car seat, and stroller. 

Pack a Budget-Friendly Hospital Bag

As your delivery date draws closer, you’re probably thinking about what you’ll need to pack in your hospital bag. Keep it simple and try to stick with essential must-haves. You don’t want to haul around a huge bag stuffed with expensive items you won’t end up using. Some clothing items that are worth bringing to the hospital include a delivery gown, nursing pajamas, slippers, nursing pads, a nursing bra, and some comfortable maternity clothing that you can wear on your ride home from the hospital. And don’t forget to pack your phone charger! 

Assess Your Health Insurance

Long before your baby’s due date, take the time to go over your health insurance. While all health insurance plans must cover pregnancy and maternity care, there are a few exceptions. For example, if you’re still using your parents’ healthcare plan, their plan will not cover your delivery and newborn care. Also, make sure you understand the deductibles, copays, and co-insurance costs associated with your plan. Without insurance, most parents can expect to pay between $5,000 to $11,000 for a normal delivery in a hospital, according to SmartAsset.

Consider a Home Birth

A home birth could be a great option for moms-to-be without health insurance. According to Money Crashers, a typical home birth costs between $1,500 and $5,000 — at least half that of hospital birth. A home birth will also give you more freedom and control over your birth plan. Unfortunately, most states do not require health insurance plans to cover home births, so you should be prepared to pay out-of-pocket regardless. The hope is that future health insurance plans will evolve to cover easier and healthier birthing options, like midwifery services and home births.

Maintain Your Self-Care Routine

Whether you decide on a home or hospital birth, keeping yourself healthy and happy during your pregnancy will have a very positive impact on your birthing experience. Maintaining a healthy pregnancy is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of complications during birth, which can be both dangerous and expensive. Make sure you’re getting all the nutrition you and your baby need, especially calcium, iron, and folate. Regular exercise is also important.

If you have room in your budget, consider hiring a doula. While doulas can be pricey, think of it as an investment. Having a doula with you during labor and delivery will help you keep your stress levels low, shortening the duration of your labor and reducing your risk of expensive complications. Women who have the support of a doula are also less likely to need medical interventions like c-sections or epidurals. 

You can spend a lot of money preparing for the birth of your child, but you don’t have to. You need very little to welcome a newborn into the world. Whether you decide to have a home birth or hire a doula to be with you in the hospital, make sure you choose a birth plan that will keep you calm and comfortable. And if you need more tips on health and wellness, check out the resources on Nicole Ciccarelli’s website!

For more articles and helpful tips on all around mom life check out Emily Graham at