I am really fascinated by birth stories. It’s absolutely thrilling to hear how a baby comes into the world and all of the circumstances surrounding the event. While I have heard some great stories, the most interesting are those related to home births. I am intrigued by the concept, but I am also a little hesitant to continue this effort.
Other than all of that, another thing I often wonder about home births is whether they are cost effective or not. Even regardless of place of birth, having children requires financial compensation. After all, you want to plan the best time to have a baby.
Considering all the pros and cons, does it make financial sense to give birth at home? I’ll go through each of the pros and cons and give a “cost” (or value) for each. See if you agree with me.
1. The experience
Women who give birth at home often appreciate the experience. They can have their babies however they want without the pressure of medication and interference from the hospital environment. There are no rules or monitors that regulate them. The mother does not have to undergo routine medical procedures; she, with her support system, is in control. Experience = invaluable
2. No temptation
For women who want to give birth naturally, it is easier to do so at home than in the hospital. Put simply, the mother does not have immediate access to anesthesia or narcotics and therefore does not have the support available when the going gets tough. An added benefit of natural childbirth is a faster recovery time. No temptation = Varies depending on the individual
3. Support group
A woman who gives birth at home can choose who is present for the experience. This usually includes a midwife and possibly a doula. A midwife is a master’s level nurse who has been specially trained to deliver. A doula encourages and supports the mother during labor and delivery through massage, training and other techniques. These are people a woman knows and trusts. In a hospital, a woman may have more than one nurse if she is in labor due to a shift change. Support group = varies by individual
4. No hospital bill
Since a home birth is not in a hospital, there is no hospital bill. In addition, there is no bill for anesthesia or daycare. No hospital bill = $ 0
5. Expenses (if the woman has no insurance)
The main expense of a home birth would be the midwife. She could charge between $ 1,500 and $ 3,000. Home births are usually not covered by insurance, so there is a good chance that this is an expense. To put that in perspective, all bills since my son’s birth totaled about $ 700 after the insurance was applied (otherwise it would have been more like $ 10,000).
You never want to be without health insurance, but if you don’t have one, a home birth could save you a lot of money. Besides the midwife, other expenses include supplies, laboratories and a doula. Doula’s services cost from a few hundred to a thousand dollars. Expenses = between $ 1,500 and $ 5,000 (compared to $ 10,000 + in a hospital)
1. Emergency situations
Home births are safe as long as the woman has had a healthy pregnancy and the baby is well. However, there is always the risk of an emergency situation occurring. In the event of an emergency home birth, the delay in care could have serious consequences. My son was a baby with meconium and needed immediate respiratory care from NICU staff at birth. If we weren’t in the hospital when he was born, my son could have had long term health issues or worse. I had a healthy pregnancy, but for some reason the situation arose. Emergency situations = expensive
2. Without postpartum medical assistance
One of the best things about being in the hospital is getting help from the staff. Nurses and patient care technicians are very caring people who are there to help you get well. If you are giving birth at home, you will not have this kind of help unless family members are willing to stay. Without postpartum medical help = Varies according to woman’s family
3. There is no time away from home
When you are in the hospital, you are away from home and your other children. If you are giving birth at home, you are still in this environment and it would be more difficult to step away from the role of wife and mother. Some women want to be away from home for a day or two. Other women may not like it at all. No time away from home = Varies by person
4. Expenses (if the woman has insurance)
If a woman has insurance and her insurance does not cover the home birth, she will pay a lot more for the home birth. If a woman’s insurance pays for a home birth, she can pay roughly what she would pay for a hospital birth. Expenses = between $ 1,500 and $ 5,000 (compared to about $ 1,000 in a hospital)
1. Maternity center
For the woman who wishes to have an experience similar to home childbirth, she has the option of going to a birth center. A birthing center encourages natural childbirth and allows the woman more control in decision-making. If an emergency arises during labor, it can be treated faster than at home. Also unlike in the hospital, the woman and the baby go home a few hours after the baby is born. The cost is between that of a home birth and that of a hospital, and is usually covered by insurance.
2. Hybrid approach
Another alternative is for the woman to give birth at home and go to the hospital just before the birth. It would be wise for someone to help the woman giving birth at home, like a doula. Also, it is advantageous that the hospital is close to the house and that the route is well known. It is a good option for women who want a natural childbirth but want help from hospital staff during and after childbirth.
The profitability of a home birth depends on the woman and what she values most. It also depends on how comfortable you are with taking risks.
Although home births are generally safe, there are some risks. I’m not the risk-taker type and due to the previous incident with my son (which is quite common) I would opt for another hospital birth rather than a home birth. However, I would consider a birth house as it seems like a good compromise between the two ends of the spectrum.
As for the actual amounts, I’m not sure there is a big enough difference to affect most decisions about where to give birth. The best way for a pregnant woman to save money on medical expenses is to lead a healthy lifestyle and remember to take her vitamins!
What is your opinion on the costs of home births? Have you or someone you know had any experience with home births?