Having a baby at home has a specified significance for the many couples who opt for this type of delivery. It is usually believed that, if your pregnancy is straightforward and you are not considered at high risk, it is just as safe to have a baby at home as in a hospital.
The biggest advantage of having your baby at home is being in a familiar, comfortable environment with none of the elements of uncertainty and fear that can inhibit labor in a hospital.
You have the freedom to move around as you wish, and to have as many people with you as you choose- or you may just prefer the privacy knowing that members of staff are not going to walk through the door. Women who have a home birth are more likely to feel in control and relaxed than those who give birth in hospital.
Preparing for a Home Birth:
If you choose to have your baby at home, your midwife will generally bring the delivery equipment to your house at around 37 weeks and leave it there. There is little preparation involved in a home birth but there are a few things that you can do to make things easier.
Things to do:
Have a list of contact numbers to hand for when in labor, for example, your midwife’s mobile number. There are also a number of other sensible preparations you can make before you go into labor: Walk around your house to see how you can use the furniture during labor.
Ideally you want to remain upright and walking around. Try putting a cushion on a table and leaning over it, or leaning on the kitchen worktop. An adjustment reading lamp will be useful when the midwife checks your perineum afterwards to see whether you need any stitches.
You could also have a torch handy for the same purpose. If you have other children, it is useful to have someone to take care of them, just in case you have to be transferred into hospital, rather than having to wake them up and take them to stay elsewhere once your contractions have started.
You need to know that they are being looked after in order to stay relaxed. Find some plastic sheeting, to protect your mattress or carpet. Old sheets or towels can also be useful. Pack a bag for the hospital “just in case”.
Options for Pain relief:
Choosing to have home birth make a huge difference to women’s ability to cope with the contractions. Because of this, and the one-to-one care that they get from the midwife, many women find that they do not need pain relief when they have a home birth.
Most women use what is around them- they walk around, listen to music, eat and drink, and generally stay relaxed, which is the secret of staying in control of your labor. Many women whether at home, or in hospital, find a soak in warm water, to be great relief from pain, but some drugs can be used at home.
Dealing with problems:
Midwives are trained and equipped to deal with emergencies, if they occur. However, if there are signs that all is not well during labor, your midwife may decide to transfer you to hospital.
You should discuss any reasons that she might have for doing this beforehand. That would include: Your baby showing signs of distress during labor, including opening his bowels; very slow progress of the labor; any bleeding during labor; high blood pressure and signs of infections.