While the concept of giving birth at home is certainly not new, its resurgence in modern society is rather recent. If you’ve heard about the “home birth movement” and want to learn more, or perhaps are considering a home birth for yourself, you may have lots of questions. It’s important that one of the first questions you answer is, is a home birth right for me?
Here are some tips, options, and so forth to help you decide if this is an appropriate option for you.
“It’s a Baby, Not an Emergency”
Have you heard this one? Maybe you’ve read it on a bumper sticker! Regardless, the above quote is something midwives and other home birth advocates often cite. Why?
The basic premise behind home birth is the belief in birth as a normal, healthy process that only requires medical intervention when true problems arise or are present. The basic concept of home birth is that normal childbirth does not warrant a screaming trip to the ER. So understanding this important, basic concept behind home birth – and deciding whether or not you agree with it – is a good first step toward deciding if home birth is for you.
Who Is a Candidate for Home Birth?
Home birth suits women who have low-risk, healthy pregnancies (which is the majority of pregnant women). Some midwives and naturally-minded advocates of home birth stretch the meaning of “low-risk” a bit so that it’s beyond the medical definition of the term.
For example, obstetricians generally categorize all pregnant women over the age of 35 as “high risk” simply due to their age. But some midwives have attended home births where the mother was a first-time mom and was over the age of 35. So it pays to get various opinions about your risk level as you are being evaluated.
Where You Feel Secure
Some women feel more secure surrounded by the latest medical equipment and technology, with lots of hospital staff on hand. Others may find this intimidating, preferring the privacy and relative peace of home.
Still other women feel more secure having control over their birth experience, which may be best accomplished in a home birth. Some moms don’t feel like they can relax in their own home; they can’t stop the feeling that they need to clean up or do something. Take some time to consider where you feel the most secure, and what would be stressful and what would be relaxing.
Home births do require some preparation. Of course, you will have the usual prenatal visits with your midwife or healthcare provider, but you will also need to prepare your home for the event. Making meals ahead and freezing them is important, not only for your family but for the midwives who may be staying in your home for some time during the labor.
You will probably be advised to sterilize washcloths and towels by baking them in the oven in paper bags, and you may need to invest in some olive oil or other natural lubricant. If you want aromatherapy, candles, special music, etc., you will need to get those things together and ready. You will also need to make sure your local ambulance and emergency services can find you, and you might even want to alert them as to the pending home birth.