The thought of stay at home child birth sounds fantastic to some, and a complete horror story for others. If you are one of the women that want a stay at home child birth, or are seriously thinking about it, you will need some basic information to start with.
Some women just simply do not want to go into hospital for their baby to be born. A lot of independent midwives agree with this decision. When you first go into labour and are progressing well at home, there is a chance that labour will slow down once you reach the hospital.
Here in the UK there are no laws against home births. If it is safe for you to do so, you shouldn't have any problems arranging your stay at home birth. Saying that some health care professionals are not keen on the idea, and you may have to really push your views with them. If your health is good, and there is no problem with your unborn baby, there is no reason why you shouldn't stick to your guns.
On the other hand, there are sometimes very good reasons why you should probably have a hospital birth. If for example you have had a postnatal haemorrhage in the past (this is where you lose more than 500ml of blood in the first 24 hours of your baby being born). Or if you are expecting twins then it is not advisable, as you are more likely to experience complications with the birth.
If this is your first baby you may be encouraged to opt for a hospital birth. This is because you have no history of childbirth and no-one really knows what will happen. If you still feel strongly about having your baby at home, try and get lots of homebirth information so you can make a sensible decision. Talk things over with your doctor and midwife, and get them to explain their reasons why they would rather you be in hospital.
Talk to your doctor about arranging a home birth, or if your GP isn't too helpful then your maternity unit will have details of your local community midwifery services. These will then contact you and help to make the arrangements.
You can also have an independent midwife to care for you during your pregnancy, birth and postnatal stage, although this is isn't free and can cost up to £5000.
When you have a stay at home birth, you can have anyone in your own home to witness the birth or just be there to help you along. Your midwife will normally pop in a couple of times until you are close to actually giving birth. She will then stay with you and normally engage the help of a colleague for the actual delivery.
You can also use varying methods to help the birth along naturally. Birthing balls are quite popular and may help to relieve contraction pain. Massage oils can be applied by your partner (do check they are safe to use, and then use sparingly) And birth pools are the new in thing! You can now buy them, and they are not that expensive, after a little research I have found a company that sells the whole kit for a little over £100, this includes the pool, pump, hose, and everything you need (for emptying as well as filling!) If you do decide to use a birthing pool, then check around the internet for the best prices.
Your midwife will bring everything that is needed for the delivery of your baby. She may also arrange pain relief if you need it, gas & air and pethidine can be administered at a home birth. You can see more about medical pain relief here or you could always plan to use some natural pain relief techniques.
Once your baby is born, your midwife will stay with you for a couple of hours and help you to settle with your new baby. She can help you with the first breastfeed, and anything else you may be unsure about.
If there any problems with your home birth, your midwife will call an ambulance. This is so your progress can be monitored on the way to hospital, to keep you and your baby as safe as possible.
If stay at home child birth is something you like the sound of, then see your midwife or doctor to get the ball rolling, and good luck with your home birth :-)
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