This picture was taken in Esmee's orchard next to her house by her sister. She labored best in her home environment surrounded by people she loved and felt the most comfortable with.
One of the biggest factors in birth is all about the hormones released in the birthing person's body in response to the environment.
Oxytocin, endorphins (helps muscles relax, sends blood to the uterus, decreases sensitivity to/awareness of pain) and more flow when a person is in an environment that brings them comfort and calm.
On the other hand, adrenaline (causes muscles to tense, sends blood to limbs, increases sensitivity to/ awareness of pain) flows when a person is in an environment that is unfamiliar and/or a disruption from their place of comfort.
It is important to keep this in mind when choosing your place to labor and birth. Some people feel safest and most comfortable at home, so they either choose to labor and birth at home, or simply labor at home as long as they can before they go to the hospital. Other people feel most safest and most comfortable to go ahead and be at the hospital earlier so they know they are close to any medical intervention as soon as it may become necessary.
There is no right or wrong choice. Both options carry their own pros and cons, risks and possible benefits. Each birthing person gets to decide what is best for them given where they feel they labor most effectively.
Either way it is handy to have a doula :)
A doula can help you decide when to go the hospital if you are wanting to stay home as long as you can to decrease the likelihood of staying home too long or going to the hospital too early (its not an exact science, but can help you interpret the signs of early vs active labor).
A doula can also help talk you through all the benefits/risks/alternatives/etc when you are in the hospital for any interventions that are offered in a non-emergent situation. (we help put the informed in informed consent)
While it is always true that there are things you cannot control about labor and birth, it is also true that there are things you can control in non-emergent situations. Stack the deck in your favor. Plan to labor in a place you feel safe and comfortable. If that means the hospital, you can alter the usually bright, unfamiliar hospital room in many ways. Doulas have lots of tools in their doula bag and tricks up their sleeves to assist in this.
Remember, two of the biggest factors in birth are physiology and psychology.
Help your brain to help your body.