Towards the end of Markle's pregnancy, there were rumors that she wanted to have a home birth, rather than give birth at the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital Paddington, as is tradition for members of the royal family. Some sources also said Markle had been practicing hypnobirthing techniques with her doula, which is a common practice among people who give birth without drugs.
Although home births are buzzy right now, especially among celebrities, they're viewed as somewhat controversial and risky. In England and Wales, the percentage of women who gave birth at home was 2.1% in 2017, while in the United States, approximately 0.9% of births per year happen at home (a quarter of those home births are unplanned). The reasons for having a home birth are varied, but lots of people want to give birth away from a clinical hospital setting, and without drugs or other medical interventions, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Many experts argue that, although it's the woman's choice where she gives birth, hospitals and birthing centers are the safest places to labor. The American Congress on Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), for example, has a rather strict stance on home birth practices, and insists that if someone has a planned home birth, they should have a certified nurse midwife or physician present, as well as access to a hospital nearby. The organization also urges women pursuing a home birth to be educated on the practice and aware of the risks. And for women who have a high-risk pregnancy, a home birth may not be advised simply because of the potential health complications.
Overall, this news is proof that every pregnancy is different, as well as every birth experience. And ultimately, Markle's decision to have a hospital birth was a personal one, even if the rest of her pregnancy was very public.