Can A Hospital Birth Be As Natural As A Home Birth?

July 25, 2018

Are you trying to decide where to have your baby? Should you have your baby at home, a birth center, or the hospital? Are natural hospital births not as natural as home births? If you choose to or have to have a baby at the hospital, can you still have a beautiful experience?

Is it possible to have a natural hospital birth? Can it be as natural and beautiful as a home birth? Yes! Let's talk about how to make it happen! #naturalbirth #naturallabor #crunchymom

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The following is a guest post from Surviving Toddlerhood. To see more from Rebekah, visit her blog!

I always thought that I would have home births when my turn came to have babies. After all, my mom had two home births of her own after four hospital births, and some of my aunts had home births or birth center births. These women were my heroes. They were bucking the system. This was a way that my people-pleasing, rule-following self could rebel and feel good about doing so in the process.

But six months after my husband and I got married, we found out that we were going to be parents much sooner than expected, and I discovered that he was not at all on board with the home birth thing. I felt like I was betraying the whole “natural birth” movement, but having hospital births ended up being the best choice for us. They were beautiful, and they brought to life my desire to support other women through labor as a birth doula.

You can read about my birth experiences here.

Let’s look at some common misconceptions about hospitals and natural births:

If I have my baby in the hospital it won’t be as beautiful as it would have been at home.

You see pictures of those amazing candle lit births where momma is at the birth center or at home and those pictures ooze beauty and oxytocin. You know she had her diffuser going with all her amazing oil blends and she probably had Enya playing in the background. Then you think of the bright lights of a hospital and think that there is no way your hospital birth could be a beautiful experience.

Not true. You can recreate the same experience in the hospital, and it doesn’t take any more planning to do at the hospital than it did for the momma who choose to have those things at her homebirth. Bring some flameless candles (most hospitals don’t allow real candles), your diffuser with your favorite oils (read more about using essential oils during labor here), and a playlist of your favorite music.

To capture the moment as well as your friend, consider hiring a birth photographer who knows the shots you would like and others that you haven’t even thought of. If that isn’t in your budget, most phones can get beautiful shots as well. Just show your husband some examples of shots you would like so he doesn’t have to try to think of things.

Is it possible to have a natural hospital birth? Can it be as natural and beautiful as a home birth? Yes! Let's talk about how to make it happen! #naturalbirth #naturallabor #crunchymom

If I have my baby in the hospital, it isn’t as natural as it could have been.

You may have read stories of women who wanted a unmedicated vaginal birth at a hospital and when they were almost complete they ended up getting an epidural because the nurse suggested it, or they felt they couldn’t do labor anymore, or fill in the blank. And while it is easier to labor at home without pain medication, it doesn’t make anyone stronger because they had a home birth without pain meds. In my personal opinion, it takes more strength to do so at the hospital where meds are readily available.

At the hospital you CAN move around, you can walk, you can dance, you can moan. You CAN refuse medications and anything you wish. You can still have skin-to-skin, placental encapsulation, and deliver in positions other than reclining or side lying. The only thing that has changed from that “ideal” home birth and a hospital birth is the setting. How natural it is will be totally up to you.

Hospitals are only for sick people; why would anyone want to have their baby there?

You may be wondering why anyone would even consider having a hospital birth if they are able to have a home birth. This may surprise you, but some women actually labor better at the hospital than they would have at home. At home their minds may be on the “what if” scenarios, while at the hospital they can relax because they know they would be taken care of if something out of a midwife’s control was to happen.

My mother is a childbirth educator and I spent many evenings growing up with her in the hospital while she taught. The hospital is not a scary place for me, so I was very comfortable switching plans when I found out that my husband was not on board with a home birth. Getting sick while there was never even on my mind. It wasn’t something that I worried about.

Is it possible to have a natural hospital birth? Can it be as natural and beautiful as a home birth? Yes! Let's talk about how to make it happen! #naturalbirth #naturallabor #crunchymom

Are you going to give birth in the hospital? Use these tips for greater chances of success having a unmedicated vaginal birth.

Hire a doula.

Hiring a doula greatly increases your chances of having an unmedicated vaginal birth. It decreases your risks of interventions including cesarean sections, the use of the vacuum or forceps, and the use of pitocin. It also increases satisfaction with the birthing experience as well as increases having a successful breastfeeding relationship.

Read, read, read, and read some more.

Books like Natural Hospital Birth, Spiritual Midwifery, Holy Labor, and Mama Natural’s Guide to Pregnancy and Labor all give you great starting points to start preparing for what natural labor will most likely bring. If you can get your husband to read portions of some of these that would be helpful as well.

Find a local childbirth class to participate in.

A live class is going to be so much more helpful than an online class. Having a instructor right there with you, who can answer questions as they come to your mind, means that you will be able to learn better and you can get special insight into the birth culture in your area.

Create a birth plan with your support team.

Having a birth plan in place doesn’t mean that your birth will go exactly the way you want it to, but it will provide direction and give your support team ideas and things to turn to. This gives them confidence in their choices and lets you rest knowing that everyone is on the same page.

I have had four hospital births, and three of those were natural vaginal births. They were all beautiful. They weren’t better than or less than home births; they were special and unique in their circumstances. Hospital births can be very similar to home births and birth center births. You CAN have a wonderful hospital birth experience, and I hope that these tips help you as you consider where you will have your baby.

Is it possible to have a natural hospital birth? Can it be as natural and beautiful as a home birth? Yes! Let's talk about how to make it happen! #naturalbirth #naturallabor #crunchymom

Are you wondering about what life will be like in the first weeks postpartum?

Do you know what your options are for natural remedies for common “ailments” during the first six weeks postpartum? Or wondering how you can best help your husband or children adjust to this new little one who will be joining your family? The First Six Weeks: Thriving Naturally on Your Postpartum Journey can answer some of those questions and also provides tips for breastfeeding, weight loss and exercise, and self-care during the first weeks of your transition into motherhood.

Did you have a natural hospital birth? What tips would you give to mamas looking to give birth naturally in a hospital?

More about pregnancy and birth:

Postpartum Essentials For The First Two Weeks

3 Life-Changing Books For The Christian Mom-To-Be

8 Powerful Verses To Pray Over Your Unborn Baby (FREE printable)

About The Author:


Rebekah writes at Surviving Toddlerhood, where her mission is to encourage mommas of littles in faith, motherhood, and natural living. She and her husband have been married for eight years and have been blessed with four boys. Rebekah is a lover of fiction, running, baking, and birth {she fulfills her birth junkie need by serving the women in her community as a birth and postpartum doula}. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram.


  • Elizabeth

    July 26, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Love this! I have had two hospital births, both ending with epidurals, but freely chosen epidurals. You are so right that you can have your birth be as natural as you want! No one uttered the word epidural until I did and I was able to labor naturally as long as I wanted. Love when anyone supports hospital births, hospital birth is just as real as home birth!

    1. Rebekah

      August 1, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      ❤❤❤ Thanks, Elizabeth!
      I’m so glad that you found your hospital birth experiences to be great!

  • Lisa

    December 10, 2018 at 10:24 am

    I am a birth doula who has had a experience with many home and hospital births. You are NOT free to have a birth as you wish. You still are REQUIRED to follow hospital protocol and hands are tied for many things. You can have a natural birth but will have to fight and give in on many things to their way. You will have to choose your battle. You and your baby will still be REQUIRED to do so many unnecessary procedures.

    1. Abbey

      December 10, 2018 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Lisa, I am so sorry you had those experiences. It may depend on the hospital. I delivered my firstborn in a very baby-friendly hospital and I was not coerced into any procedures that I didn’t want or approve of.

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