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Updated 19 November 2014

Home or hospital?

If you can't decide between a home or hospital birth, read on.

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Home birth
More and more women are opting for home births assisted by midwives. What are the advantages of having a home birth?

  • Woman may feel more in control as she is in her own environment
  • Privacy
  • She will be assisted by the midwife of her choice
  • It is cost-effective
  • More relaxed and peaceful atmosphere
  • No unnecessary intervention
  • Use of natural ways of relieving pain
  • She can have as many people present as she wishes to
  • Never being separated from the baby
  • Less distraction
  • Avoiding episiotomy
  • Birth is seen as a natural process rather than a “medical” event
  • Older children don’t have to deal with the absence of their parents

Make sure that you are assisted by an experienced, qualified nurse/midwife or by a qualified physician. In case of a medical emergency, you should be within 20 minutes of the nearest hospital.

According to Dr Martin Puzey, gynaecologist, a woman should be cleared as being a low risk case for home birth by her gynaecologist. “People tend to forget that giving birth is a very dangerous process and is a time in a woman’s life when things can go seriously wrong,” he says. “Many years ago, the first thing a father asked of the delivering doctor after the birth was ‘how’s my wife … did she survive the birth?’. If a woman has a high risk pregnancy, she should examine her alternatives.”

Hospital birth
You may want to consider the following advantages of a hospital birth:

  • Baby can be delivered by obstetrician
  • Different pain relief options available
  • Well equipped in case of emergency
  • Breastfeeding clinics or lactation consultants are available in most hospitals

(Ilse Pauw, Health24)

 
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