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Home Birth: What You Need To Know

By Jana Angeles 

When it comes to choosing where to give birth to your child, many women have the option of choosing a home birth as opposed to doing it in a hospital setting. Some women may prefer to avoid the medical interventions that happen in a hospital, decreasing stress levels and approaching a much natural method when it comes to giving birth.

If you’re in good health and are currently experiencing an uncomplicated pregnancy journey, home birth is something you and your partner may consider. Of course, with any choice you may have, it’s important to weigh in the considerations of home birth before jumping the gun.

Make Sure You Do Your Research

Compared to hospital births, home births only make up less than 3% of all births, so doing your research is a necessity. It is very unlikely for you to find an ob-gyn who is qualified to undertake a home birth due to the fact that they are trained for potential complications during a medical event. Finding a midwife for the delivery of your baby is your best option. Be sure to interview potential candidates to make sure you are happy with your decision.

Ask them relevant questions like how much experience they have with home births, how many babies they have delivered in the past and if they have an assistant that they will be working with. Most midwives will have an assistant working with them during the home birth. We recommend picking a midwife with an assistant.

In NSW, you can search for a qualified midwife on either Home Birth Sydney and Midwives Australia.

Be Prepared For Emergencies

When it comes to picking the right midwife in delivering your baby, ensure that she is able to adapt to challenging medical complications if the situation arises. Ask specific questions on the complications she’s had to undergo and see if she is comfortable in handling emergencies.

Home births can be stressful if things don’t go as planned so be sure to see if she is able to bring the right equipment and has the appropriate knowledge for challenging situations. Situations like resuscitating a newborn, suturing a severe laceration (suturing materials supplied by midwife) and administering the appropriate medication are all relevant scenarios you can pinpoint to your midwife.

Make sure she brings IV fluids, an oxygen tank and oxygen masks (varying sizes of different infants). In addition, she should also supply an oxygen delivery device for adults incase you need it.

If things don’t go as planned…

  • In an ideal situation, your midwife would have an established relationship with a doctor or hospital in case the home birth runs into complications.
  • Having an implemented emergency plan curated by your midwife can make things easier but if she doesn’t have someone where she can go to for more medical assistance, you will be treated in emergency. Here you can potentially undergo unnecessary tests and interventions due to the fact that the medical team won’t have any knowledge of your medical history. Many women would want to avoid this at all costs because it would defeat the purpose of having a home birth in the first place.

Plan The Important Stuff  

  • Who’s going to be there during your homebirth? Discuss with your partner which people you want present when you give birth to your baby. You may want close relatives and friends to be part of the event or in the case of emergency. Having extra support may help you ease any anxiety and stress you may be feeling for the home birth.
  • Get the necessary lab work and clinic tests done. It’s recommended by a midwife to get all the necessary checks and tests done in a clinic if you’re planning on doing a home birth. Having all the prenatal lab work and ultrasounds done by a doctor will have all those important medical files saved so in case you have to be transferred to a hospital, these can be passed on to the medical team.
  • Check your insurance policy. Be sure to double check what costs are covered if you’re having a home birth with your chosen insurance company. Discuss any extra costs that need to be paid out of pocket and ones that are covered for prenatal care and postpartum care.

Know The Risks Involved 

According to the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal, the risk of death to newborns delivered at home is nearly twice as much than newborns being delivered in a hospital setting. Though you may have an emergency plan in place, things can get complicated and you may need to be required to go to the hospital either way. There is also a risk that women delivering at home can experience prolonged labour and postpartum haemorrhage.

Home births can be one of the most rewarding things you can do as a parent but be sure to learn the risks first before taking the plunge. It’s important to take note of the considerations above and see if it’s the best for you and your baby’s health.

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