Top 10 Things To Know When Considering A Home Birth.

Home births are becoming more and more common and acceptable in modern society. Having had 2 hospital births as well as 2 home births, all of which went really well, I am certainly an advocate for a woman being aware of all her birthing options. Since you are considering having a home birth, and naturally have some questions and concerns, I wanted to share with you my top 10 Things to know when considering a home birth!

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pregnant woman sitting on bed considering a home birth

Are You So Excited For Your Baby to Arrive?

I remember considering home birth for the first time with my second pregnancy. My first labor and delivery had been so smooth, I literally said to my husband, “shoot, we could totally do this at home, by ourselves!”

During my first delivery, I labored for 7 hours at home, went to the hospital, laid in a bed for about 3 hours, pushed out a baby, and went home 48 hours later (although I was ready to get home after 24 hours, hospital policy stated I had to stay.)

I put a lot of homework into my first home birth. I learned a lot and went on to have 2 truly great home births.

Truth be told, while I did do a lot to aid in my home birth success, much of my home birth good fortune was just that… plain ole good fortune! Both my grandmothers had several babies well. My mom had 5 babies well, and I followed suit.

When it comes to home birth there are elements you can control and those you can not. Let’s talk about both nature and nurture aspects of home birth…shall we?

The Top 10 Things To Know When Considering A Home Birth.

#1. What do genetics say?

  • Some bodies just have a simpler time giving birth. And often, it runs in the family. Reflect on your mother’s births, consider your overall health and the health of your immediate relatives. Do you sense that you’re set up for genetic success with regard to your body’s ability to get the job done well?

#2. Let history serve you well.

  • Home birth is best suited for low-risk pregnancies. Particularly subsequent pregnancies where a mother has already experienced birth once and knows her body performs well. When I spent time working as a Doula, I typically felt more comfortable assisting women who had already had one baby in the hospital. While there are many women who deliver their first baby at home, if this is your second, and the first went perfectly at the hospital, you’re a great candidate for considering home birth!

#3. It is essential to find the right home birth midwife for you.

  • There are a wide array of midwives, with different practices and policies. One midwife may be uber-natural and passive, while a visit with another feels pretty much identical to a doctor’s office. The two midwives I used spanned from one side of this extreme to the other. Call at least 3. Ask questions. Meet them all and get a feel for who you have the best chemistry with.

#4. Just about everything available to you at the hospital is available at a home birth.

  • This point highlights point #3. Depending on the midwife you choose, she’ll likely have much of the same materials and services available to you as the hospital.

#5. You need a good support system!

  • That seems obvious, I know. However, a good support system in a home birth setting means people who are familiar with your birthing history and know that you are well qualified for a home birth. People who will encourage and support you.

#6. Pain management is possible.

  • Labor isn’t comfortable. I’ve read hypnobirthing stories, and while some women vow to have experienced a completely pain-free childbirth… that was not my experience. What I have experienced is that childbirth is uncomfortable and pain management is completely attainable. Don’t fret if you used an epidural in the past. You’ll get through without one just fine.

#7. You must be ready to be largely responsible for your own care.

  • Most midwives that I have met are passive in nature. Women go to midwives because they don’t want a doctor dictating and over-intervening in their pregnancy and delivery. The flip side is the midwife that basically removes herself from your prenatal care. She offers advice and best practices, however, you are left to make your own decisions. Sometimes that can be frustrating when you want more definitive answers about a matter.

#8. Be healthy! Like really, really healthy!

  • Stellar diet, keeping an active lifestyle, and taking top-notch care of yourself during your pregnancy is vital to successful home birth. While nature plays a large role in whether or not your body births efficiently, you can’t control nature. You can, however, control what you eat, whether you choose to drink soda or juice, your activity level, and the environment you are in.

#9. Home birth is not always cheaper.

  • When I had my second child, we had a $5000 deductible. A midwife cost a total of $2800 at the time, so the financial aspect of the decision was clear. However, with my 3rd child, my husband had lost his health insurance and so we were on state-provided health care. Which meant my out-of-pocket costs for a hospital birth were ZERO. A midwife at that time would have been $3200. Since I knew I could have the birth that I wanted in either setting, I chose a free hospital birth! That baby was born 54 minutes after arriving at the hospital.

#10. Take all guidance, both positive and negative with a grain of salt.

  • While there are people who will offer grave warnings about home births, there are also those who treat it much to indifferently. The truth is, not every woman should attempt a home birth. Use prudence and good sense when listening to people’s home birth counsel.

The Proof is in the Birth Story.

  • Story #1. I already told you that I had 2 fantastic home births. Therefore I am probably biased about the whole issue. Ya, I really kind of am! It is still a fact though, that 2 of my 4 babies were born at home, easy-peezy. The 2 born in the hospital, were born there out of my choice, not a necessity. The first of my babies born at home arrived roughly 1.5 hours after the midwife walked through my front door. The second arrived a whopping 11 minutes after the midwife!
  • Story #2. Trish has had two babies at home. Her first and second. She, like me, did her homework, considered her health and history, and had a smooth time with both deliveries. She had a water birth and is a home birth advocate.
  • Story #3. Carla had her first baby via induced labor and hated every second of the experience. She then went on to have a hospital birth with her second, using an epidural. By the time she was due to deliver her 3rd baby, she did not want any pain medication. She hired a doula to help her and stayed home as long as she could during labor, before heading to the hospital.

That baby came so fast, he was born in the ER department of the hospital only moments after arriving! By the time she conceived her 4th, she knew with confidence home birth was a very reasonable option for her! Her 4th baby was born at home without any trouble.

Three Different Women, All Home Birth Successes!

Each of these women had one thing in common. They were all suited well for home births.

Doing your homework, taking charge of what you can control and knowing your body well – make for a great home birth. My home births were magical and I treasured each experience! Your baby will only be born once.

Having the home birth you want is a precious gift for your Mommy-heart. Your home birth is going to be great and I for one, can not wait to hear all about it!

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