4 Reasons Not to Have a Home Birth

Home birth is a great option for most women, but there are certain instances when you should have your baby in a hospital.

Although care providers often have different criteria for home birth clients, there are only a few reasons that would absolutely rule out home birth as an option. If your care provider has told you that you can't have a home birth, there may still be a provider that will consider it.

You are experiencing a high risk pregnancy

If your pregnancy has been especially high risk, the safest place for you to give birth is in a hospital. You will want the medical staff and equipment standing by in case a problem arises or there is an emergency. Of course, this depends on the risk level of your pregnancy.

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Different care providers will have different views on what exactly constitutes “high risk.” Don't forget, you can always get a second or third opinion.

You've had complications

If you've had one or more significant complications during your pregnancy such as placenta previa or high blood pressure, home birth may not be a safe choice for you and your baby. Again, this will depend on the type and severity of complications you have experienced.

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You go into labor prematurely

Babies who are born after 37 weeks are considered to be full term. It is not recommended that you stay home if you go into labor before 37 weeks, as this is preterm labor; In this case, there is a possibility that your baby could be premature.

Premature babies risk having immature lungs and other complications and may need special medical attention and care that is only available in the hospital.

You are not prepared

Having an unplanned home birth is not particularly dangerous, but it can be unsafe if complications arise and you are not prepared. You should have some knowledge and preparation of what to do in an emergency, especially if you live far from the hospital, but choosing to give birth at home at the last minute is not the best idea.


In some states, the law limits what types of home births a midwife can attend. For instance, it may be illegal for her to attend a breech birth. Other times, a midwife may be limited by her employer or licensing agency. In this case, you may be able to find another midwife to attend your home birth.

Try not to take it too harshly if you really are a bad candidate for home birth. It can be difficult if you find out that you can't have the birth experience that you desire. Your baby's safe entry into the world is important, but that doesn't mean you don't have a right to be upset that your birth will not go as planned. Allow yourself time to process those feelings.

Are you a good candidate for home birth? If the answer is no, why not?


Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS

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