(Closed) Hospital Vs. Home Birth Vs. Birth Center

posted 3 years ago in Pregnancy
Post # 16
6883 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

afenimore11:  Hospital all the way.  My son was 7 weeks early, so he stayed in the NICU for a month.  

Post # 17
575 posts
Busy bee

My first pregnancy was low risk and uneventful until I ended up needing an emergency c-section. We live 5 minutes from the hospital, but had I tried to birth at home my child probably would have died. 

I’m currently expecting our second child and will be having a midwife-assisted (hopefully vbac) delivery at a hospital with a NICU. I only had my OB last time, so I’m excited to have both a midwife and an OB available for this pregnancy. 

Post # 18
3009 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

afenimore11:  We chose a birth center with midwives, and it was awesome. The outcomes for births with certified nurse midwives at a birth center are better than with an OB at a hospital. If any complications come up during pregnancy, you can give birth in the hospital with the midwives or with the OB affiliated with the birth center (complications include a breech baby, twins, placenta previa, going past 42 weeks, etc). I chose a birth center because I liked the philosophy of the birth center (interventions only as needed, that pregnancy is a natural state and not a medical condition) and the quality and throroughness of the care I got there. I wanted a natural birth and I loved how well the midwives got to know me and my husband during my pregnancy. I also didn’t want a bunch of people and IV’s and stress during labor and I wanted to labor and give birth in the tub if I chose, as well as eat and drink as I needed to. I wrote a birth story for WB that you can read if you like. We loved our midwife/birth center experience so much we plan on going there again when the time comes for a second baby. Best of luck!

I did consider a homebirth but decided against it because we live 35 miles from the nearest hospital, whereas the birth center was just minutes away from it. 

Post # 19
2680 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

serendipityz:  wow, the statistics from Oregon, cited in the link were chilling. 

Post # 20
237 posts
Helper bee

I would definitely chose hospital, with a physician, in case something goes wrong. I don’t trust a nurse or midwife in the case of a medical emergency. I think this also has to stem from me being in the medical field (to become a physician) and seeing first hand how much nurses lack actual medical knowledge beyond the orders they perform under supervision. They are great at what they do, but very limited to their scope. I think many assume they can do more, but in the end of the day, I would strongly advise any patient to at least be at a birthing center attached to a hospital. I think it is equally important to find a physician who you trust and you make it clear to him/her or the on call physician that you do/do not want a C-section or other procedures. Make sure your partner is also adamant to speak up for you in times that you’re unable to. At the end of the day though, if your baby’s safety is on the line, trust the physician. They know what theyre doing more than you do. 

Post # 21
174 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

It really depends where you’re living. Hospitals are always recommended for first or high risk pregnancies. Birth Centres (in Australia) are usually attached to hospitals and you will have midwives attending no drugs will be admitted and most are set up to feel like a home environment. Home births are (for some) a lovely option as long as you have a registered midwife in attendance. talk to your doctor about all of your options.

Post # 22
1791 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I am 34 weeks, but I have chosen a home birth With a certified nurse midwife. 


I was considering a local birthing center, but decided against it since it wasn’t attached to a hospital (although it was across the street) and it had only certified midwives. It wasn’t any different from a home birth, really, and their midwives were less qualified than mine is so really it was just the illusion of extra safety! 


For me, the hospital was not an option. (Assuming I stayed low risk) OBs are trained to spot problems, and have certain hospital guidelines they must follow for litigious and time/resource management reasons. As a first time mom, I wanted the option to be in labor for a few days if need be, without any pressure to begin using drugs like pitocin to speed things up. There is what is called the “cascade of interventions” that you hear about when a woman is induced or given pitocin during labor, which is a synthetic oxytocin. Since it’s not what your body produces, the contractions are longer and stronger and much more painful. This leads many women to need an epidural. Epidurals can have the side effect of slowing down labor, so the woman is given more pitocin to continue progressing. Since these contractions are artificially strong, the baby can sometimes have a hard time dealing with them and they can go into distress, needing an emergency c section. I wanted to avoid this progression And let my body do things on its own time. 


does this happen to EVERY woman that gets an epidural? Of course not. But it happens far too often for me to be comfortable in a hospital, where I’d have to constantly fight off pressure during labor if things weren’t going as scheduled. I also chose a home birth because it’s where I feel safest and most comfortable, which helps with a smoother, faster labor. Some people feel safer in a hospital so it’s absolutely the right choice for them, but it would stress me out more to be there. I wanted more control over my environment, to be able to keep the room warm and dark and walk around and shower and make noise in my own space. I also wanted to limit the number of people coming in and out and making noise, distracting me. I’m going to have just my husband, doula, and midwife which makes me feel a lot more comfortable than 10 different nurses seeing me naked and all exposed. I know they say you don’t care in the moment but I don’t like the thought of it as a fairly modest person! 😀


I also did my research and found that continuous fetal monitoring has statistically not been shown to improve fetal survival rates. My midwife will monitor his heartbeat intermittently of course, but being strapped to a mmonitor the entire time is not more beneficial. I also found that PLANNED home births are statistically just as safe as a hospital birth. (Which you must remember to take out any unplanned home births, as they may have been caused by complications, preterm labor, and we’re not monitored by a health care professional.) my midwife is a certified nurse, so she is able to prescribe and use any drug I would need. She brings oxytocin in case of a hemorrhage, IV lines, saline, sterile instruments, oxygen, and a resuscitator bag. It’s like a mini hospital set up in your living room! I DID decide to use a certified nurse midwife rather than a regular one because I wanted the extra education and experience for safety reasons. She worked in labor and delivery for 16 years before starting her own practice, so she is extremely knowledgable and professional. I trust her completely. I would never attempt a home birth without a professional, to me that is more risk than there needs to be. 

people also assume that just because I’m doing a home birth, that I haven’t had good prenatal care. If anything, I feel like I’ve had BETTER, because my midwife doesn’t mess around and would absolutely refer me to her collaborating OB if I had any complications (like placenta previa, for example). I still get ultrasounds, blood work, glucose testing, GBS testing, And regular visits where she checks his position and heartbeat and does a physical/urine test/checks blood pressure. 


If if you want a hospital birth, go for it! If you’re interested in other setting with a midwife, it doesn’t hurt to get informed and do some research about what’s in your area. But no matter what I would recommend a midwife. They’re just awesome 🙂 you get much more personalized care and I love that they take time to build a relationship with you and listen to your fears and tend to your emotional needs. our appointments are always at least 30-40 mins long and I get to ask all the questions I need to understand and feel safe. Which isn’t always typical of an OB. I know homebirth isn’t for everyone, but I can’t recommend midwives enough 🙂 

Post # 23
1401 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Equine_Breeder:  great comment and I agree with all your points.

Post # 24
100 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

During delivery of my first child I hemorrhaged severely and would have most likely died if I wasn’t in a hospital. With my second child I had a midwife in the hospital, but I required an emergency c-section when his heart rate kept dropping, turns out he had two knots in his umbilical cord and would have died if not in a hospital.

I think the concept of birthing centers is great, but I feel the safety concerns out measure the positives.

Post # 25
2075 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia

afenimore11:  What Equine_Breeder said.

Also, caveat: everyone’s birth and pregnancy experiences will be different. It also depends on how hospitals are run in your local area and/or how supportive/mother-friendly your OB is.

Links you can read to decide for yourself:

In regards to birth centre: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2015/06/10-reasons-to-have-your-baby-at-a-birth-center.html


I will be honest. I am one of those who was initially strongly opposed to having a home birth — because popular articles on the internet frown upon it. Media portrays birth as traumatizing. I did some research and even asked women I knew personally who have had the epidural to see what the success rate was. It ranged from a woman having an unsuccessful epidural where she was numb from the waist up but could feel everything during birthing her child. Most complained about having backaches for a year, if not longer.

I casually looked at birth centres, but they aren’t covered by the local provincial health care like hospitals are. Plus, in Canada, you’d get transferred to a hospital anyway in cases of risks, from a birth centre.

Now, it really depends on what your birth plans are. If you and your Darling Husband are opting for a Casearean, then the hospital is your choice. I ended up switching from having an OB to having a midwife — partially because there was this nagging feeling that I didn’t like my OB’s bedside manners. Then, eventually, I’ve heard stories from a doula who has worked with the OB who doesn’t seem patient enough and tends to suggest unnecessary interventions.

I am 36 weeks pregnant and am comfortable with the idea of a relaxing & calm home birth — baby is healthy and I am healthy. My Darling Husband and I are taking Hypnobabies birth classes (instead of the hospital prenatal birth classes) as they are far more comprehensive and using hypnosis/deep relaxation techniques to manage any discomfort during birthing time. Midwives are registered nurses in the province I live in. Midwives have low risk thresholds; my midwife discussed when it warrants for transfer to a hospital, in emergency and non-emergency situations. It helps that there are two hospitals that are close-by to home. Bonus: no stress with parking.

I also ultimately picked home over a hospital because I prefer a water-birth — it helps reduce perineal tearing. Opting for delayed cord clamping to make sure baby’s having sufficient iron.


Post # 26
701 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

afenimore11:  Obviously everyone’s entitle to their own opinions & has to do what’s best for them. The following is just my opinion…

There’s a reason why death during childbirth has severely diminished and it’s all thanks to modern medicine. And if something goes wrong I want to be within feet of doctors for immediate intervention, so for me it’s hospital all the way! Sure some people have great experiences at home but to me it’s not worth the risk! 

If it’s a midwife you want, lots of midwives have hospital privileges, so you could get a midwife but still go to the hospital for the birth. 

To me, it’s a no brainer, Science for the win!!

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by  Mellybobelly.
Post # 27
524 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

I’m 5 weeks exactly today and I’m considering our options. I think we’re going to go with hospital with my OB and a doula. I don’t want to gamble with risks but I do know I’ll need extra support. 

Post # 28
408 posts
Helper bee

I’d also add that a lot depends on how these options overlap. For instance, in some states it is illegal for a medical professional to attend a homebirth, but in the state I live in certified midwifes can attend homebirths. Homebirth does not necessarily mean unassisted. Similarly, some hospitals have a midwifery team, and some birth centers are attached to hospitals while others are freestanding with no OBs. I feel fortunate that there are so many potential choices but there’s also so much to consider!

Post # 29
9421 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I was high risk so had no choice but to go to a hospital, but that would have been my choice anyway. I also chose a hospital with a high level NICU just in case.

My #1 advice would be to be your own advocate and have a doctor/midwife you trust 100%. I hear so many horror stories of how the hospital MADE a woman do this, or she HAD to do this. No, you don’t. Even if it’s “policy”. You may not be their favorite patient, but they cannot refuse to treat you because you don’t want to wear their gown or have a cervical check, etc.

I personally was induced with cytotec and pitocin, had an epidural and a normal vaginal birth. Aside from labor taking forever to get going (which is typical), I was very happy with my hospital experience. Never once did I feel forced into doing something or like I had no other options. They’re not all bad.

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