Is It Too Late to Switch from a Hospital Birth to Home Birth?

Updated on May 16, 2013
C.T. asks from Chester, NY
11 answers

So, for each of my past 3 pregnancies, Hubby and I talked and talked and talked about having a home birth. We are now pregnant with our last child and I am almost 26 weeks pregnant. We are talking about it again. Is it too late to switch? We have a lot of reasons for staying with a hospital birth including a good birthing team, an OB/GYN I/we like, a hospital that is generally hands-off but each of the labors/deliveries have had a small draw back - the last being the worse when I actually consented to a hep-lock and had the veins blown in both my hands as they tried to establish the line and thus I was unable to labor on my hands and knees effectively (which seems to be my preferred position) as well as the fact that the anestesiologist (spelling?) cursed at me and broke the sanctuary we had created in the room.

So, again, are we nuts? Is it too late to switch? Did you switch your plans around - hospital to home or visa versa? How late in your pregnancy?

PS. I plan to contact a few of the local certified midwives that perform home births to ask but thought I would feel out the community here for feedback too.

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answers from New York on

whatever you can do to have a home birth, do it. I was never afforded the opportunity, but not for lack of trying...

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answers from Chicago on

With my first pregnancy, I switched to a midwife at 6.5 months.

I homebirthed kids 2 and 3. Most amazing experiences of my life.

My biggest worry for you is in finding the right midwife. This is so important.

If you like hand and knees, and you home birth, make sure you have a tub with handles on the top. Water birth on hand and knees is almost painless.

Good luck to you!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I switched from an OB to a midwife at right around that point. My son was born at a midwifery-friendly hospital, not at home, but that's beside the point. I might recommend "interviewing" the midwife and making sure you and she (or he) are on the same page first. If you are, then sure, why not, make the switch.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

To my knowledge it's not to late although your dr. may give you some trouble about it. It'll be up to the midwife of course as to whether she thinks it to late. Most would be okay with it but not necessarily like it. You have got to be sure to pick the right person for you and that alone can take some time. A midwife is going to expect you to do the work and your homework too and there is plenty of it. You really have to be ready in every way. When you call the midwives be sure to have a list of questions on hand.

You may want to look into birth stories at home, there are plenty online. Have you heard about the new dvd that is out called Birth Story - Ina May Gaskins? Checking into these may help as to questions you may have or want to ask a midwife. If you haven't done it already.

The best to you and your baby in thoughts of a peaceful birthing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Roanoke on

I watched the documentary "The Business of Being Born" and used to think having a baby at home would be great. That is, until I became an RN on the labor and delivery floor at our hospital. Now, I've completely changed my mind, and I would never take the risk of having a baby at home, no matter how great the "labor" experience is at home. Things can go bad too quickly during childbirth (for both the mother and the infant), even in a woman who has had previous uncomplicated deliveries. Childbirth is still the leading cause of death in women worldwide, and complications from group B strep is the leading cause of death in newborns in the US. When a baby is born blue and limp, you only have a few minutes to resuscitate until permanent damage can occur. Sure, most home births go smoothly, but at the hospital, we get the failed home birth attempts and personally, I wouldn't want take that risk. Also, with each pregnancy, your risk of hemorrhaging after delivery goes up, so I would be cautious delivering my 4th at home. Personally, I would get a good hospital-affiliated midwife who respects your wishes, and deliver your baby in a hospital. A lot of hospitals have midwifes, and they are usually more flexible regarding the mother's wishes during labor than the doctors. However, I would bet most, if not all hospitals, would require IV access during labor. Don't fret about that; you need a good IV site in case something goes wrong. You don't want them fiddling with trying to establish IV access during an emergency, when every second counts. Allow them to start an IV before-hand. Just ask if they can start it in your arm instead of your hand so that it is out of the way during labor/delivery.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Too late is only when you are in labor and can't decide if you should go or stay. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

You are not crazy at all.

Definitely meet with several midwives in your area, and ask around amongst your fellow moms to see if any of them have had a homebirth and if they would recommend their midwives.

Many women I know who have done this have continued to see their regular OB, but then didn't "show up" at the hospital for the birth, since their regular OB would give them a lot of grief/pressure to deliver in hospital.

You might feel out your pediatrician about it, too. I have heard cases where pediatricians refused to see babies that were home delivered following the delivery (not sure why, probably some worry about being sued or something).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Unless you are laying in the hospital right now, of course it isn't too late to change! But make sure you have a good midwife first. I never switched my plans, but I've had 2 friends that planned hospital births and they ended up delivering at home. (one was because the labor went faster than expected, the other was stuck in a blizzard.) They were both fine but would have preferred to have a midwife present if they could have.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I don't think it'd be too late to switch, medically, but you'll have to check with your insurance to see if they will allow it this far along. The way they reimburse the providers might get complicated if you switch now, having done all the ground work (testing, ultrasounds, etc.) with your OB.

Sounds like medically you'd be a prime candidate for home birth.

Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Are you paying for this out of pocket? Most insurance policies do not cover home births or midwives. Some cover midwives in a birthing center.

I don't know if it's too late. Did you have uneventful labors in the past? Were there any other complications. I would think a Dr. or midwife would really have to decide if it's too late. I definitely think you need to consider insurance not covering a home birth.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

NO! What state are you in? You will want to have a midwife in attendance unless you feel completely comfortable with family delivering the baby. : )

Go for what is comfortable and natural = and much more free of germs!
for YOU *AND* your BABY!

Good luck,

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