How To Prepare For a Home Birth

There are many different opinions and sides to this subject; I think we should all just agree that everyone is looking for the best pregnancy experience they can get, and that means different things to different people. Every woman should have the opportunity to choose what kind of delivery they would like, but those facing complicated or high-risk pregnancies should take into consideration the health and safety of herself and their unborn child and think about additional services that may be needed.

Do you want to know whether a home birth or hospital birth is the best choice for your labor and delivery? We lay out the benefits and drawbacks of each so you can make the best decision for your family.

When it comes to hospital births, they are more controlled. The environment is pretty sterile although delivery of a baby is considered to be a “clean” procedure. 

What is home birth?

Planned home birth is one in which you give birth at home rather than in a hospital or birthing center. During labor and delivery, you will still require the assistance of an experienced and qualified person. A certified nurse midwife, a certified midwife, a midwife whose education and licensing requirements meet international standards or a doctor who practices obstetrics may be included.

Home birth can be an enlightening experience. However, if this is an option you’re considering, it’s critical that you weigh the benefits and drawbacks, prepare ahead, and understand the risks.

Is there ever a time when having a planned home birth isn’t a good idea?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises against having a home birth if any of the following conditions exist:

  • You are carrying multiples.
  • Your baby does not settle into a position conducive to a headfirst delivery.
  • You’ve had a C-section before.

Environment

When it comes to hospital births, they are more controlled. The environment is pretty sterile, although delivery of a baby is considered to be a “clean” procedure. When you are admitted to the hospital for labor, whether it is induced or natural timing, intravenous IV access is obtained, and you are placed on fetal monitors and a transducer that monitors your contractions.

You are usually confined to a bed, especially if the membrane of your amniotic sack has been ruptured (this can happen naturally or the doctor can “break your water” with an amniotic hook), and you are then limited to ice chips. Your food and fluid intake is limited, in case you have to have a Cesarean Section or another emergency that would require anesthesia.

Pain Meds

If you would like, pain medication is readily available in two forms. The first is Nubain, a short-acting narcotic that lessens pain perception and makes the pain more tolerable. The second is a longer-acting epidural that is administered by an anesthesiologist through the space between the spinal cord and the outer membranes, this space is called the epidural space. The epidural, when working properly, dull the sensations from your stomach to your legs or feet. These are all pretty standard features that come with the hospital.

Inducing Birth

Another thing that seems to be standard is the administration of Pitocin, which is a medication that is started to help your contractions become strong and regular. Pitocin is made to simulate Oxytocin, which is a hormone that causes muscles to contract in the uterus. The use of this medication is one of the causes of debate. Sure, if a woman needs help getting contractions started, a little help is wonderful, but rarely in the hospital setting is the need for this medication assessed. It seems to be more about time management, and that is one of the problems with hospital births (in my opinion). Instead of letting the birth happen naturally, they want to speed up the process or make it happen at a desirable time for the doctor or mother.

Emergency Situations

Whatever your reason for preferring a home birth over a hospital birth, keep in mind that there may be circumstances that necessitate the need to finish labor at a medical facility to ensure the safest possible situation for you and your baby. For example, if labor does not progress after several hours, if your baby is in distress or breech, if your blood pressure has become very high or there is excessive bleeding, or if you reach the point where you want better pain medication, you should plan to be transferred to the hospital for the necessary interventions and to complete the delivery of your child.

Preparing for a Home Birth

1. Hire a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)

CPMs are home birth experts, and a midwife will know how to effectively care for you and your baby at home. Do your homework during the hiring process to ensure that you’ve found a midwife team with whom you feel most comfortable, with whom you enjoy spending time, and with whom you trust will respect your autonomy as a birthing person. This is the most crucial step in preparing for a home birth.

2. Childbirth Classes

Take Childbirth Classes if you intend to have a home birth. Learn as much as you can about the physiology and anatomy of natural childbirth. It’s also critical to understand how processes are carried out in a homebirth environment. Childbirth Education will help you to understand what your midwife’s role is during your labor and what you can expect from your midwife in terms of when they will come to your home and how long they will stay with you during labor.

3. Get Supplies

Gather the supplies required for a home birth. Your midwife may have a birth kit ready for you to order ahead of time of your labor.

4. Prepare your home

Prepare your home for the birth and postpartum period. If you want to labor in the bathroom, in the shower, or in the bathtub, you’ll probably want to have a clean bathroom before the start of labor. You’ll also want to make absolutely sure that wherever you intend to meet your baby has a reliable heat source to keep the room warm. Cooking meals ahead of time that can be stored in the freezer is also a great way to ensure that you have what you need for sustenance in the immediate postpartum period and the days following recovery.

5.  Consider  a doula

Midwives are extremely helpful during labor, but their first priority is your and your baby’s safety. This sometimes means that they are unable to provide as much emotional and physical support as everyone would like. As a result, it’s critical to consider whether you’d like to have doula support at your birth. Furthermore, doulas can be present during early labor to provide support to you and your family, whereas midwives are not expected to arrive at the birth until active labor has begun. Hiring a doula may be an important step in preparing for a home birth.

6. Other kids in the house

Because a home birth is a family-centered event, older siblings are frequently present. However, not every child would feel comfortable attending a birth or may require additional support, so it is important to assess what your child(ren) may require. It’s also a good idea to show home birth videos to children ahead of time so they’re ready for the noises and sights they’ll see as the baby is born. It might be a good idea to hire a nanny, even if it is only for that day. Personally – I don’t know what I’d do without a nanny.

7. Watch Videos of other Home Births

My final piece of advice for preparing for home birth is to read and watch other people’s home or natural drug-free births. The internet is a great resource for reading about other women’s home birth experiences.

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