Home birth is a safe option for low-risk women. Recent research has shown that outcomes for moms and babies are similar at home and hospital births, although intervention rates at home births are lower. About 25-30% of midwifery clients plan a home birth, and Ontario midwives have attended over 25 000 home births since midwifery was regulated in 1994.
The Facts About Home Birth in Ontario (College of Midwives of Ontario)
Benefits of Home Birth
- The benefits of home birth include:
- Increased privacy and control over your birth environment
- Access to your own food, bed, shower and other comforts
- Access to a birth pool to use for pain relief or water birth
- No exposure to infectious organisms found in hospital
- Reduced rates of medical intervention
- No car ride in labour!
Home Birth Safety
- Midwives carry supplies, sterile instruments, medications, oxygen and resuscitation equipment to every home birth.
- Only women with low-risk pregnancies are suitable candidates for home birth.
- Midwives are trained to detect potential problems and know when to recommend a transfer into hospital.
- Midwives are trained to handle emergencies in the unlikely event that they arise at home.
- We have an excellent transport system with paramedics available to assist and move clients to the hospital if needed.
- Hospitals are available for back-up in the event that a client requires assistance from nursing staff, or a physician who provides obstetric, anaesthetic or pediatric care.
Some women choose to labour and/or birth in water. Our practice has inflatable professional-grade birth pools that we lend to clients. Many women find that the water provides significant pain relief, and the buoyancy of the water helps them to easily change position.
- Learn more about waterbirth:
Guideline for the use of water in labour and birth (College of Midwives of BC)
- Immersion in Water for Labour and Birth – Evidence Based Guidelines for Midwifery-Led Care in Labour (The Royal College of Midwives)
- Immersion in water in labour and birth (Cochrane Summary)
- Waterbirth International
Making An Informed Choice
We believe that women labour best where they feel safest. We support clients in making an informed choice to give birth at home or in the hospital. Our midwives are very comfortable attending births in either location. During your pregnancy, we will provide you with written information about choice of birthplace, and discuss your options with you.
Outcomes of planned home birth with registered midwife versus planned hospital birth with midwife or physician – Canadian Medical Association Journal (2009).
Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives – large prospective study in North America – British Medical Journal (2005)
Perinatal mortality and morbidity in a nationwide cohort of 529 688 low-risk planned home and hospital births – British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (2009)
Outcomes of planned home births versus planned hospital births after regulation of midwifery in British Columbia – Canadian Medical Association Journal (2002)
Home or Hospital? Holding the Space for Human Birth (Saraswathi Vedam at TEDx Amherst College)