We take our places on the sofa with a sheepish smile and an apology. Smiles and nods abound. Have we been transported into a comedy sitcom? No. Have we arrived for a group therapy session? No again. We’re attending the monthly NCT home birth talk in our area.
By now you probably know I’m interested in exploring home birth and I learned about this class from my area NCT bulletin board. Hosted by a woman who has had 1) a planned home birth that transferred to the hospital, 2) home birth and 3) planned hospital birth, it promised to be an informative and open forum from someone who has been there done that.
I’ve swayed back and forth on the merits of home birth, my main concern being that something may not go to plan that could harm our baby. This has been a major sticking point for Chris, who wasn’t at all convinced by this potential plan. I also had the impression that women often consider home birth for later pregnancies once they have a better understanding of how they will cope in labor and birth. So the pendulum swings between reservations and opportunity, though recently I am moving in favour of going for it. Once got over the somehow amusing shock that we were sitting in a session such as this, we both came away feeling encouraged about home birth for the following reasons:
- UK hospital midwives may care for up to 5 women simultaneously; at home birth you have one dedicated midwife who monitors you throughout established labor
- Hospital transfers can be quickly arranged for any home birth not proceeding as planned; in fact, because of your one to one supervision at home it’s more likely that a midwife will identify any issues “sooner” than she might in the hospital
- If being at home makes you feel more relaxed and at ease, this is likely to speed up and progress your labor, all in the interest and health of the baby
- If more relaxed, there is less chance you will need medical interventions during birth; if you do, the midwife is able to perform an episiotomy, use forceps and give you an injection to deliver the placenta at home
- Home birth is conducive to natural forms of pain relief: TENS, water birth, upright positions and gas and air (no epidurals)
- If you decide you can't cope with labor at home, a hospital transfer can be immediately arranged
- At home your husband/partner may feel less of a spare wheel and better able to get involved by virtue of it being your own home
- After birth there is no risk that your husband/partner will be dismissed from the post-natal hospital ward because it’s outside visiting hours
- Should any sudden, horrible, unfortunate incident occur, it is just as likely to happen in the hospital