What are the advantages of giving birth at home?

©️ Monet Nicole

Why give birth at home?

Women choose to give birth at home for a variety of reasons, depending on their personal preferences, medical situation and beliefs. The main motivation is the desire for a physiological birth, in an intimate, warm, calm environment, without medical intervention or painkillers such as epidurals. The mother is accompanied by an independent midwife, possibly a doula, and the relatives of her choice. It's the mother who sets the pace, but a great deal of preparation is required!

It is essential to note that home birth can involve risks and unforeseen complications, sometimes requiring emergency medical intervention. The decision to give birth at home should be made in consultation with a health care professional to ensure the safety of both mother and baby.

Conditions for home birth?

In Switzerland, giving birth at home is a legal option, but there are certain conditions and requirements that must be met in order to do so safely:

  1. Home birth must be supervised by a midwife registered in Switzerland. The midwife plays an essential role in planning, managing and monitoring the birth.
  2. Before a home birth can be planned, the mother must undergo a thorough medical assessment to determine whether it is possible. Her general health, the state of her pregnancy and any potential risks are taken into account.
  3. Home birth is generally recommended for low-risk pregnancies, i.e. those without major medical complications (multiple pregnancies, breech babies, etc.).
  4. A detailed birth plan should be drawn up with the midwife, including information on how the mother wants the birth to go, and options in case of problems.
  5. The birthing environment must be clean, safe and suitable, and the necessary medical equipment must be provided (delivery basin, basic medical equipment, pain medication, etc.).
  6. You must have an emergency transportation plan in case a complication arises during delivery that requires transfer.
  7. The mother must give her informed consent for a home birth, which means she understands the benefits and risks.

Labor & Delivery

Giving birth at home requires a great deal of preparation and investment on the part of the mother, her partner and the midwife, with whom a great deal of dialogue/exchange is required.

At the start of their meeting, the midwife will explain to the couple how she works, what she can and cannot do. The couple will express their expectations, fears and wishes in a birth plan.

As labor approaches, and contractions intensify, the mother contacts her midwife, who comes to the birth site to assess the situation. Depending on how far labor has progressed, she either leaves or stays with the mother-to-be. In terms of timing, you could say that you call your midwife as if you were going to the maternity ward. Today, there are applications that allow you to follow the rhythm of your contractions and transmit them to your midwife.

During childbirth, the midwife makes sure that everything goes smoothly (birth and physical state of the newborn, placenta discharge, bleeding, uterine tone, etc.).

After a baby is born at home, both mother and newborn receive immediate care, including a health assessment. The baby is placed skin-to-skin with the mother, and the umbilical cord is cut. Birth details are recorded. The family has time to rest and strengthen the bond between mother and baby. The midwife continues to provide post-partum care, and in the event of complications, may recommend transfer to a hospital for emergency medical intervention. The safety of mother and baby remains THE priority at every stage.

Insurance coverage

Just like a birth in a maternity hospital or birthing center, a home birth is covered by compulsory health insurance (LAMAL) and includes: midwife's fees, medical equipment, post-partum care and home visits, and costs related to complications.

It's important to note that rules and regulations may vary from canton to canton in Switzerland, so it's advisable to consult a registered midwife in your area for specific information on home birth care in your canton. Coordination with your health insurance company and early planning are essential to ensure that home births are adequately covered in Switzerland.