Just over two per cent of women choose to have a home birth in the UK, and in the US this number drops to less than one per cent. Women who choose home birth often say they feel more comfortable at home, and wanted the birth to take place out of a medical setting. If you are planning a home birth, there are a number of points to consider.
How to plan a home birth:
- The location – you need to decide where in your home you’d like to give birth. You will need a private room, so if your living room looks out onto the street and doesn’t have any curtains – it might not be the right option! If you’re planning to give birth in a pool, you’ll need strong floorboards so a downstairs room will probably be best, ideally close to some taps!
- The audience – who do you want to be there? Do you want a doula, or your mum or best friend, as well as your partner? If you have any children, do you want them to witness the birth too? Remember, space will play a factor in these decisions, so consider it carefully before setting up the Facebook Event!
- The props – the healthcare provider will provide a home birth kit with all the bits they need, but there are things you’ll need to provide yourself. You’ll need some plastic coverings or dust sheets to protect your cream carpets, and plenty of clean towels for after the birth.
- Setting the scene – one of the great things about having a home birth, is that you can control the ambience. Do you want candles, fairy lights, music or silence? Try to have all bases covered in case you change your mind on the day.
- Ice, ice baby – you will need plenty of ice cubes and drinks of water to keep you hydrated during the birth. Electrolyte replacement drinks are also a good idea for if your energy starts to lag part way through the labour. Some women like to graze on snacks throughout the labour so make sure you have something suitable in, just in case.
- Pain relief – If you think you may require painkillers, you may be able to get opiates (such as pethidine) prescribed in advance by your healthcare provider. If you want to use paracetamol, a TENS machine or a birthing pool as pain relief, you will need to organise these yourself.
- Tidying up -The downside of a home birth is that there are no hospital cleaners to come and sort out the mess for you afterwards. Luckily, your birth partner is on hand for that job. While you get to know your new baby, your birth partner can quickly dispose of any mess, deflate the pool and get things looking habitable again – ready for the swarm of visitors over the coming weeks.
If you are deemed to have a high risk pregnancy, you are unlikely to be granted a home birth. If you are having a low risk, healthy pregnancy then your healthcare provider should see no problem in granting you a home birth. If there were any complications during the birth, you would be transferred to hospital immediately – so it’s important to have a skilled midwife present. If you have any worries or concerns about planning a home birth, speak to your healthcare provider. They will be able to reassure you and answer any questions you may have.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.