Ever watched ‘Call the Midwife’? If you have you might know that up until about 70 years ago, most babies were born at home. My Dad was. It was the norm. Then came the NHS, wonderful institution that it is, ( that’s not sarcastic by the way!), and for many different reasons which are beyond the scope of this post, birth moved into the hospital. And for the most part, it has stayed there ever since.
Homebirth can provoke some violent reactions. Many people come consider it ridiculous, unsafe, irresponsible even tantamount to child abuse. I would calmly suggest you take a balanced view and consider the research, starting off with the Birthplace study which has demonstrated that for women having their second or subsequent babies birth at home was just as safe as in hospital and that for women having their first baby at home there was a slightly higher risk of their baby experiencing a brain injury. The risk however was still very low.
However, I want to write from my experience why I think a Homebirth can be worth considering.
- You don’t have the stress and upheaval that is involved in going to hospital. The parking, the drive, the loading bags into the car, arranging childcare if you have other kids. None of that. Just a phone call to the midwife, a chat and if you need her she will quietly join you to support you in your labour and birth.
- You will probably get more attention and better care. At a home birth, when baby is nearly born, you will if there is time, have the support of two midwives, just for you and your baby when it’s born. I had two babies in hospital and I’m not slating hospital midwives for one tiny minute, but they are stretched and have different demands placed on them.
- You can eat when and what you want! A hospital is an institution with lots of people to feed at set times. At home your partner can go to your kitchen whenever suits you both to get whatever you have.
- No visiting hours or restrictions! At home you are, or should be like a Queen. You decide who, when, if you have people come to support you or celebrate your birth.
- You will be empowered. You are in your own environment. The sofa- it’s yours. The beds- it’s yours. If you want to lie on them, lean on them, squat etc they will be as clean as you make them, they will smell familiar, be covered in your family’s own bacteria. (I mean that in a good way!)
- You, and probably your partner will be more relaxed. It’s obvious but so important in getting you through.
- You may well not have to attend antenatal appointments but instead have your antenatal care at home, with a midwife or midwives you will get to know. How amazing is that?
- You may well make some amazing memories. There is nothing better than having your toddler come down from his bed bleary eyed to meet his new brother when he’s minutes old, or your daughters be able to hold their hours old baby brother before they go off to school, or having your son come to you in the morning, ask where your tummy is and you point to the sleeping newborn in the cot, or your Mum and Dad and sisters downstairs drinking and laughing when you’re in labour and then having an excuse for an extra drink and celebration when a newborn arrives to join the party….