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Can You Safely Give Birth at Home?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

home births

Story at-a-glance -

  • Evidence is clear — home births are as safe for low-risk pregnancies as giving birth in the hospital; they may even be safer
  • Women giving birth in a hospital have a higher chance of being given drugs to speed labor or having a cesarean section, both of which impact the health of mother and baby
  • Risks associated with a cesarean section include infection, hemorrhage and adhesions. Infants may arrive early, have breathing difficulties and not benefit from exposure to the birth canal to seed their gut microbiome
  • Some conditions are best addressed at a hospital, including those raising the risk of a pregnancy such as the mother's age and health conditions such as diabetes, PCOS, high blood pressure and obesity

The question of where and how to give birth is a relatively new one for women. Up until the early 20th century, fewer than 5% of women gave birth in a hospital. In the 1950s the birth of a baby, an event that had once been a family affair and attended by a midwife, became more medicalized.

Pregnancy and birth were seen more as a sickness than a natural part of life. One mom described the birth of her first child in the 1960s as occurring without pain medication, with minimal interaction from medical staff and a forced two-week hospital stay.


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