Friday 26 October 2018

Home Birth Q&A

Today is the final day of Home Birth Awareness Week. Thank you so much to everyone who has taken part, it has been wonderful reading all of your stories and seeing your beautiful photos. I said I would do a home birth Q&A to answer any commonly asked questions about home birth. So, here it is:

My partner isn’t keen on the idea, how can I convince him?
I think the best way to convince your partner is to arrange a meeting with one of the midwives on your local home birth team. They are best placed to answer any of his questions and address any of his concerns. Their experience and knowledge may help to get him on board with the idea of a home birth.

You should see if there is a home birth support group in your local area. These are often held in hospitals or community centres and run by people who are passionate home birth. Each local group will vary, but the meetings exist to support people considering a home birth. There might be a midwife there to answer questions, or new parents there telling their own home birth stories. There will be the opportunity to ask questions and hear from a number of people who have given birth at home.

What about the neighbours?
Ah, yes, the neighbours. Some people warn their neighbours in advance just in case it’s noisy on the night. We didn’t warn our neighbour and she didn’t realise we’d had the baby so she clearly didn’t hear anything (or just assumed there was a herd of cows passing that morning). She was 95 with bad hearing though, so I think we were pretty lucky.

When you’re giving birth, you won’t be worrying about whether the neighbours can hear. You’ll be too focused on the birth. If the noise is worrying you, you can plan some ways to reduce it. For example, don’t give birth right next to the party wall, instead set your pool up against an internal wall. Playing music will help to cover any mooing/groaning/yelling.

What about the mess?
Mess, what mess? Just kidding. There will be mess. A whole load of stuff is going to come flying out of you. If you give birth in a pool, all of that mess will be contained in the pool. But somebody will need to empty the pool and take care of the mess. If you don’t give birth in a pool, the mess will end up on the floor or sofa or wherever you choose to give birth. Use tarpaulin, old towels and sheets and whatever else you can find to protect your floors. It is perfectly possible to give birth at home without ruining your cream carpets.

What if something goes wrong?
Birth doesn’t always go to plan. Sometimes, medical help is necessary to ensure both mother and baby are safe and healthy. When that happens at home, you might need to be transferred to hospital for additional help. Home birth midwives are qualified professionals. They are trained to look for problems before they arise and act accordingly. If you need to be transferred in, your midwife will ensure this is done as soon as possible. It’s also important to remember that home birth midwives have a lot of medical kit with them when they turn up to a home birth. If you are worried about what will happen if something goes wrong, tell your midwife. She will be able to explain the transfer procedure and explain what they do in an emergency.

What if there are no midwives available on the day?
This was something I was really worried about in the lead up to my home birth. I was so worried that we’d be told a midwife was unavailable and that we’d have to go into hospital. In reality, we just rang up and they sent a midwife within half an hour, so there was no need for me to worry.

Of course, it doesn’t always work out like that. There are times when midwives may be unavailable due to staffing issues. This is something you will need to discuss with your midwife in advance so you can find out the best way of getting a midwife to your birth.

What do you think the biggest misconception is?
That it’s brave. People often tell women planning home births that they are brave. People mistakenly think home birth is dangerous and that anyone planning to do is being brave. In fact, these women are not brave. They are making informed decisions to try and ensure they have the birth experience they really want. By telling these women they are brave, the implication is that they are doing something risky and dangerous.

Another common response is ‘Aren’t you worried about ...xyw?’ Women planning home births meet negativity wherever they go. If somebody tells you they are planning a home birth, and you want to say something supportive instead of joining the nay-sayers, try saying “Wow, that will be amazing.”

If you have any other questions, comment below and I will do my best to answer them.

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