Giving birth at home has become a popular choice. Women who give birth at home have more flexibility when it comes to how they labor, they do not have unnecessary interventions such as continuous fetal monitoring and they are able to eat and drink as often as they’d like. Giving birth at home is a great option for any woman who has a low-risk pregnancy and is prepared to give birth without medication. The following steps will prepare you to give birth at home.
Choose a home birth midwife who will support you throughout your pregnancy. Home birth midwives will set up a prenatal schedule similar to an obstetrician. At each prenatal visit, she will listen to the baby and evaluate your health, making sure you are at a low-risk status. This means that you have no pregnancy complications that would prevent you from having a home birth.
Prepare for a home birth by taking childbirth preparation classes. It is essential that you understand how labor works, what the stages are and how to get through them successfully. You will also need to know what positions are helpful in labor, and other non-medical pain relief options such as hydrotherapy and massage. Learning about childbirth will give you confidence in the process and in your body’s ability to birth your baby.
Hire a professional labor support person such as a birth doula. Birth doulas are individuals who are trained in providing emotional, physical, psychological and informational support throughout your pregnancy and birth. A birth doula can give you the risks and benefits of procedures, support you physically by suggesting different comfort measures throughout your labor and can encourage you. Before hiring a doula, ask your midwife for references. She may have someone who works with her in this role, or she may be able to recommend someone to you.
Order birth supplies. Your midwife will give you a birth supplies list. These are items that she requires you to have on hand for the birth. You can order birth supplies online or perhaps pick them up individually at a medical supplies store. She may even have her own birth kits available for you to buy.
Set up an emergency care plan. It is essential for both you and your midwife to know which hospital is the closest in case you have to transport. Home births are generally safe for the healthy woman, but spiking a high maternal fever, a severe elevation in blood pressure or non-reassuring fetal heart tones may require you to check into a hospital for monitoring and delivery. It is also a good idea to have an obstetrician who works at that hospital be supportive of your plan and be willing to be on call in case you do have to transport.
Call your midwife when you feel that labor has started. She will want to check the fetal heart tones and your blood pressure to establish a base line. And, as long as things continue to progress and stay within a normal range, you will be holding your baby soon.