Home birth: yes or no?

Updated: Sep 23, 2020


A fundamental part of pregnancy is childbirth. An event that has changed a lot over time. While once, in the time of our grandmothers or great-grandmothers, it was normal to give birth at home, nowadays hospitalization is the norm. It was transformed from a natural event into something extremely medicalized. In recent years, the phenomenon has been studied extensively and it has been realized that hospitalization is not necessarily the best choice. So how to orient yourself in the choice? The risks and benefits must certainly be weighed, taking into account the diversity of each of us. British studies state that women should be free to choose where to give birth and that hospitalization should be offered only if faced with high-risk pregnancies. It has in fact been observed that women who give birth at home are less likely to undergo invasive interventions (such as episiotomy, caesarean section, suction cup, forceps, ...), medical assistance is less and the woman feels more autonomous, protagonist of the event. However, we must not ignore the risks that childbirth brings with it. It is possible to give birth at home only in the case of physiological pregnancies, between 37 and 42 weeks of gestation and only if the house is located near the hospital. This is in the case of complications and / or emergencies. An alternative to home birth are maternity homes, which are structures run entirely by midwives and connected to the hospital. The birth can therefore take place in peace, in a more intimate and personalized environment (there is the possibility to choose your own music, personal items and use the pool for the water birth) but with the possibility of easily reaching the hospital if things get complicated. These facilities are widespread in Northern Europe, starting with Great Britain, where efforts are made to minimize medicalization around childbirth. Usually these maternity homes are located near the hospital or even inside and it is a path that many healthy women choose. In Italy it is still very rudimentary, there are very few birth centers and the possibility of giving birth at home is very expensive. Not to mention that both pregnancy and childbirth are still events that in the common imagination are associated with the hospital. It is certainly important to think about all the risks and complications but, perhaps, we should begin to see the whole experience as something more physiological and provide the family with more autonomy and freedom of choice (if possible)



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