Written by Liza John
If you were a mother in the 1700s, home birth was your only option. Aided by friends, family and maybe a midwife, home births were a painful and bloody ordeal. Advancements in Healthcare popularised, the less painful hospital births.
Where you choose to give birth is totally up to you, and your choice should be supported.
Now, if you are considering having a planned home birth, you may naturally have a ton of questions. Are home births safe? Do you need to have a midwife? What should you keep in mind while creating a backup plan?
Here are the answers to your queries related to home births that will help you decide if this is the right birthing method for you.
Why Choose a Home Birth?
- You may consider having a home birth due to a variety of reasons, such as:
- A wish to avoid medical interference or dissatisfaction with hospitals.
- To give birth in the warmth and comfort of your home.
- Staying faithful to your religious practices or cultural practices.
- A wish to have more control and freedom over the birthing process.
- Financial constraints.
- Emergency scenarios where you don’t have time to reach a hospital.
- Convenience as previous births have happened quickly.
You also get to choose your own labour positions and control other factors, such as whether you eat or drink, or take warm baths.
If you have had a baby before, and you’re having a low-risk pregnancy, giving birth at home can be a safe option.
Home Birth Risks
It is not safe for all moms to give birth at home. Some health conditions like preeclampsia require advanced medical care that can only be offered in hospital settings. The same goes for people who have previously undergone C-sections or carrying twins or multiple babies. Talk to your healthcare professional and check if home birth is a safe option for you.
Be aware that in case of an emergency, there is limited to no medical intervention available. So, if you are planning a home birth, you might have to be on your toes.
Home births also carry the risk of higher death rates when compared to hospital births. The rate of neurological damage and seizures during home births is higher than hospital births. You may be able to attenuate these risks with the help of a seasoned, licensed mid-wife and a proper backup plan.
Additionally, home births are known to be messy, so be prepared to clean up. Again, your midwife or Douala will usually clean up, so that you don’t have to worry about it.
Midwives & Douala
Midwives are often officially registered nurses with advanced degrees in midwifery. Whereas a Douala is someone who provides emotional and physical support to the mom before, during and after birthing.
While picking a midwife, try to choose one who has access to doctors or specialists at a nearby hospital for consultation or in case of emergencies. Having a Douala, especially an experienced one, can be helpful as they suggest labour positions, conduct breathing exercises, and even have some pain-relieving tricks up their sleeves.
Planning A Home Birth
Home births will need some preparation. First off, you’ll need to have a private, peaceful space, and if you have older children you need to decide if you want them around or not.
Here are some things you need to keep in mind while if you are planning to have a home birth,
Unlike in a hospital setting, where your vitals are monitored continuously, at home this will be done periodically. Your temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure as well as foetal monitoring is done periodically during a home birth.
In low-risk pregnancies, continuous foetal monitoring is not required and does not improve the outcomes. Even in hospital settings, in low-risk scenarios, foetal monitoring is only done intermittently.
Getting The Supplies
While most midwives come equipped with a large kit of medical supplies with them, you may need to get some supplies on your own. Your midwife may recommend you get supplies like gauze, mesh panties, latex gloves, lubricants, high absorbency menstrual pads. Additionally, you’ll need waterproof mattress covers, plastic sheets, washcloths, towels, a fresh receiving blanket, and trash bags.
In most cases, if your pregnancy is low risk, the birthing process will go smoothly without any hiccups. However, having a plan B in place will help prevent any unnecessary stress in case you need to undergo a hospital transfer.