A Home Away From Home, Airbnb Home Birthing Is Gaining Popularity
Over the past few years, the idea of birthing at home has grown in popularity. According to a 2018 study, home births increased by 77 percent from 2004 to 2017 and data from the CDC shows home births have continued to rise due to the pandemic and hospital restrictions. Presently, according to the CDC, around 1 to 2 percent of births take place outside of a hospital.
But while more births might be happening outside the hospital, they aren’t always taking place in the traditional home. Mel Magazine recently reported on a surprising new trend—renting out Airbnbs for home births.
Many moms who are intrigued with the idea of having a home birth but feel like their homes aren’t the optimal spot have gone in search of accommodations that might work better for their plans. Bathtub too small? You can find a bigger one with a view on Airbnb. Home too far away from the hospital? You can filter for Airbnbs that are within only a few miles of a health center.
While Airbnb does not currently have any policies in place prohibiting home births, the company’s terms of service note that guests “are responsible for informing the Host of any medical or physical conditions, or other circumstances that may impact your ability to participate, attend or use the Host Service.” and that guests “are expected to leave a property in the same condition they found it.” These two statements could make having your home birth at someone’s Airbnb a little sticky.
Outside of Airbnb’s official terms of service, many hosts agree that it’s best to be upfront and honest with your intentions. While the Host is not responsible for your health and safety, some may not be comfortable with home births in their space.
One Ireland-based host vented in an Airbnb community forum about guests who had rented their property for a home birth without telling them. “Not only are we not particularly close to the hospital, we are in no way prepared for any medical emergencies on that level, nor trained to aid in a potential home birth! I was gobsmacked, to say the least, that somebody would knowingly put us and, after all, themselves in such a situation.”
Finally, the host noted, “Of course, we are always happy to help and are listed as family-friendly but not in the sense that we feel comfortable taking on such a huge responsibility, without ever being asked in the first place.” While many Hosts agreed that the poster was justified in her response, others in the forum were eager to offer up their places for potential home births and since many articles have popped up around the internet about “home birth friendly” Airbnbs.
It’s important to note that home births are not for everyone. According to the American Pregnancy Association, at-home births are best suited for people who have a healthy and low-risk pregnancies. Even then, it is recommended that your birthing location is within close range to a hospital if an emergency were to arise.
If you are interested in home birthing, check out The Bump’s guide on What to Know About Planning for a Home Birth.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.