Birth Center Vs. Home Birth

Updated on November 07, 2012
A.L. asks from Magna, UT
12 answers

This go round I'm thinking of doing a home birth or using my midwife's birth suite. (this is baby #4, with baby #3 I had a nurse "catch" while she said "Oh, I've never done this part before"...not going back to a hospital unless I'm dying.) Anywho, I am excited about possibly doing a water birth, and I can have one at either place. Her birthing suite is absolutely beautiful, relaxing, feels like a beautiful hotel or something! So, I want some advice from those with experience in birth suite or home birthing. What was your favorite part about being at home? How much cleaning was involved in a home birth?? Or prep?? The only pro/con that I know of between the two right now is a facility fee of $750 that we'd pay out of pocket for her birthing suite, and our home birth is covered by insurance so $750 is our major out of pocket and does not apply to deductible at all. thoughts? I'm only ten weeks so I'd like to decide so we can be budgetting that extra in if that's what we decide we'd like to do.

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answers from Tampa on

My ex SIL just had her 4th home birth. I was present for her first as it was my nephew and it was the most wonderful thing! She was soooo relaxed and calm. As far as prep I know she bought this kit online that her midwife used. Clean up for the 4th I know was much more messy then the first ones because she wasn't able to get the tub filled before her baby came.

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answers from Salinas on

Two home births here. The suite sounds lovely but being home was perfect for us for a few reasons.

No real prep and no real mess. I bought a few things my midwife suggested. No mess for me, plastics sheets and the midwives took care of that.

One big plus is you don't have to go anywhere after you have your baby, you are already home. Very peaceful and comforting, it just feels familiar. Another is you might feel more comfortable making decisions, it's your house, you are in charge not a guest at another person's place. You can turn your house into a birthing suite with any comforts you want.

I can't speak to the birthing suite but home was perfect for us. Good luck and congratulations!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

So, first let me say that I am not advising for or against home birth for you. I think every woman, pregnancy, and labor/delivery are their own entities, and I'll just tell you my experience.

I did choose a home birth. It went well, medically uneventful. I want to note that I did choose a midwifery team which had good hospital connections and who were very clear about their criteria for transferring. This was important to me, because if we had transferred, they would have been able to attend as doulas.

Housecleaning was not a big deal. I keep a fairly tidy house and did a deep clean on the things that needed it in the week before I was due. My son was born in his room and I made the bed twice, so that we could have the baby and afterward, any soiled sheets could be easily stripped (just use a shower curtain or waterproof sheet between the two sets of bedding).

I did attend a great birthing class which focused on being present through the labor and birth itself, and being open to all the possibilities: natural birth, birth with interventions, and cesarean birth. I appreciated the fact that the midwives took time to prepare us well for any eventuality.

We rented a birthing pool, which I never got into. Not a toe. Baby was coming too quickly when he was finally ready.

What I liked so much about birthing my son at home is that I'm a fairly private person, and I liked already knowing who the attendants were and being in my own home. My husband and I were alone most of the time (in about 1.5 hours I went from 'relaxed, mild labor' to "transition/wanting to push"). I believe that with a home birth, you really need to have support which is grounded and centered. My husband was able to do that for me.

One thing to consider is simply "Do you want to do this at home with three kids around?" Consider your child care arrangements, and then, make back-up plans. Will you have options available if you happen to go into labor while one or more of your children are sick? While I had my own son at home, if were were to have had a second, I would likely have had arrangements for him to be elsewhere. For some children, witnessing mother laboring can be upsetting. There are their feelings to be considered, as well as your own. It may be hard for the kids to be in the same house and leave you alone if you need quiet or privacy.

Lastly, go forward in your pregnancy with an open mind. There are sometimes developments which would suggest that a hospital birth might be the better choice. I kept an open mind about that, and was glad I did. Had my son been presenting breech or had there been other concerns, my plans would have changed quickly. Also, since finances are concerned, do some serious talking with the midwife. Can she attend if you do end up transferring? Is there a different rate of payment if you cannot birth at home or the center? My understanding is that then, you may be financially on the hook for both the midwife and the hospital, and maybe the midwife will reduce the fee if she is allowed to attend as a doula.

Lots of stuff to think about. I hope your birth experience--no matter where it takes place--is a good one for you and your entire family.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

We had two home births, both were great. Bought a birth tub and liner, used it for both births. Clean up seemed like a breeze - but heck, I just gave birth, anything after that is cake! :) But really, my husband just used a hose and disposed of it in the shower - it all went down the drain just fine. we set the tub up in our room to be ready when birth happened. Easy peasy. then went to bed when it was over!

I know I'm making light of it, but really, unless you have complications (which you should know about by attending all your medical appointments throughout pregnancy) your body knows what to do - and you can do it anywhere (woman have babies in 3rd world countries all the time, and while it's not ideal, it works).

Whatever you feel most comfortable with is the way to go.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lincoln on

Ah, congrats! So jealous! Would love if my babies were natural. I had
c-section with all mine, consider yourself lucky!
God bless and good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Water births are amazing. I hme birthed my second, and am planning on home birth again with my current pregnancy.

Cleaning up the tub was a real chore for hubby, but he didn't complain. My water broke when it was time to push, so my whole mess was in the birthing tub. I hope my water doesn't break early with my current pregnancy, because then I could see a giant mess.

Do it at home. It was the most amazing experience of my life. Nothing like being home. It really makes relaxing so much easier.

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answers from San Antonio on

I've had both a home birth and a birth center birth. Both were awesome! My home birth hubby put a shower curtain down with sheets and a couple towels. Once I was done (and I bled quite a bit...should have been transported but refused), hubby took everything, wadded it up, put it in a garbage bag and threw it in the trash can.

At the birth center, hubby and I didn't have to do anything. I ended up birthing on a stool. It was amazing!

The cost and convenience was what helped me make my decision. It was just a bit cheaper for me to birth at home than it was to birth at the center. Also, if I was doing a home birth, my midwife did all of our appointments at I didn't have to travel or anything!

Congrats on the pregnancy and good luck in your decision!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I am a 4x (unassisted) home waterbirther. I had some land contractions and realized that I could/would NEVER deliver outside of the water. So relaxing AND I could change positions with ease. My last baby was 11 pounds.

The ONLY difference between a homebirth and a birth center is location. The midwives bring all of the same things they have at the birth center.

I like getting out of the birth tub, getting into my own shower and cuddling with my new baby in my own bed...and knowing I never had to go anywhere.

My husband drains the birth tub and cleans it up. We actually rent our birth tub to others (with new liners, etc) and included with the cost is set up and take down. He does the cleaning. It's not extensive. The birth tub keeps any mess localized and then you drain the water and throw the liner away.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

I read what Hazel wrote and think that she is giving you some really solid advice. More than anything, don't be SO totally invested in doing it ONE way that you lose sight of the most important thing, which is delivering a healthy baby. There is one mom on this site who is SO much into home birth that I was really worried that she would end up in a tragic circumstance because she was so hellbent on delivering at home. Indeed, she labored for hours and hours, and finally her midwife told her that she HAD to go to the hospital. At first she resented it SO much that she said she screamed when they put in an epideral to do the c-section. But the proof was in the pudding - the baby was over 10 pounds and her body could not deliver him vaginally - it was NOT possible. If she hadn't gone to the hospital, I would assume that her life and the baby's life would have been in real jeopardy. I was glad that with a little time and space from the event, that she finally came to the understanding that she did not "fail" because the home birth didn't work the way she wanted it to.

And I hope that you will take from this account and see things the same way. In the end, what matters the most is healthy baby and healthy mom, and NOT where or how baby is brought into this world.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I can't weigh in on the home birth, but I had one "traditional" hospital birth (interventions and all) and then two all natural water birth's at a hospital (midwife supported) that were amazing.

I am so happy to hear that your home birth is covered! In MN none of the birthcenters were covered when my babies were born.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

Water births are AMAZING!! :)

My first daughter was born in the water. The second girl was planned as a water birth, as well, but she came out too fast!

How quick have your previous births been? How close is the birthing facility? Those would be the top two factors in my decision.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

It sounds like you are going to be birthing with Rebecca? Anyway, I have had both a birth center birth (in Texas) and a home birth here with her. I loved the home birth, I loved being at home in my comfort zone. I loved not having to travel while in labor, or pack and go home once it was over. There was zero clean-up for us with a water birth. She took care of everything, and the "mess" was confined to her birthing tub. There's not much difference between the two if you have a good place to put the tub in your home. I had a hospital birth with my first, a regular birth center birth in Texas with my second and a water birth with my third. I'll definitely be having another water birth at home with my fourth if things go my way. :) The water birth was so much better and I would highly recommend it. I'd be happy to answer any other questions you have. Congrats, and good luck with your decision!

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