9 Tips for a Successful Home Birth

What you need to know about home birthing.

Do the research.

Labor & Delivery: Homebirth
Labor & Delivery: Homebirth

Many women contemplate giving birth at home because they want to avoid the high-tech atmosphere and interventions of a hospital. You're a good candidate for a home birth if you're in good health and have an uncomplicated pregnancy. Still, most expectant mothers don't get past the thinking stage -- home births account for less than 3 percent of all births. Here's what you need to consider if you're thinking about this option.

1. Research your options. It's extremely unlikely that you'll find an ob-gyn to be your birth attendant. By training, they're taught to treat birth as a medical event with potential complications. In some states naturopathic physicians do a lot of home births. But a midwife is your most likely candidate. Most home births are attended by direct-entry midwives, as opposed to certified nurse-midwives.

2. Pick a practitioner with solid experience. When interviewing, be sure to ask how many births she's attended, both as a primary (where she was in charge) and as an assistant. You want someone who's been the primary birth attendant in at least 100 births, says Chris Ann Beard, a certified nurse-midwife in Portland, Oregon. Make sure the midwife works with an assistant (most do).

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