Home births have been gaining popularity recently as more and more couples are choosing to have their babies at home rather than in a hospital or medical setting. But what makes home birth such an attractive option? Here are four things you didn’t know about home birth that might surprise you and help you understand why it’s appealing to some.

Home Births Are as Safe as Hospital Births

Contrary to popular belief, home births can be as safe as hospital births when accompanied by trained, educated, certified nurse midwives. Families often hire a midwife for prenatal care, and this individual and a trained doula will see the birth through. However, the doula will not physically tend to the delivery of the newborn. Instead, they will offer emotional and physical support to the laboring mother. This, in combination with the expertise of a midwife, makes a home birth as safe as a hospital birth.

Home Births Can Be Less Expensive

Having a baby at home can be significantly less expensive than giving birth in a hospital. The cost of a home birth may include the midwife’s fee, necessary medical supplies, and anything the family chooses to support the birth or postpartum phase. There is a range of essential supplies for home births, but families can invest at their discretion for the most part.

The costs can add up, but they are typically much lower than the cost of hospital birth. And it’s worth checking insurance policies and coverages. Some providers will cover the cost of a home birth depending on the medical professionals in attendance and how the provider works with the insurance.

Home Births Offer More Comfort and Control

Many couples who choose to have their babies at home cite comfort as one of the main reasons they opt for this route. You get to be in the comfort of your own home and have more control over your birth experience. The increased control often includes deciding who can be present during labor and delivery, what type of pain relief you get, if any, and even the temperature of the room. When given as much say as possible over the environment, laboring mothers feel more comfortable and can relax, which makes contractions and any discomfort easier to navigate.

Home Births Are Not That Messy

One thing you probably didn’t know about home birth is they are not messy. They don’t have to be, and typically, the result is a very minimal cleanup process. At most, there will be chaos with supplies or piles of blankets and towels, all of which you can launder or toss.

If the mother labored and delivered in bed, changing the sheets or tossing pee pads are simple solutions. Many families build these provisions into their supply list and plan to dispose of them when the birth is complete. The cleanup is as simple as filling a trash bag and wiping a few surfaces.

Home birth is birth, just like any other that exists. It’s a viable and beautiful option for many, though you should consult your primary care provider to determine if you’re eligible.