Home Birth - Unassisted Birth, Emergency Home Birth And More
There are many reasons why some women choose to give birth in their own homes rather than in a hospital. Some women believe that they will be less likely to receive (what they perceive to be) unnecessary medical interventions if they go through labor and delivery at home. Other women think it's important for a new baby to arrive into the world in the safety of his or her home, surrounded by family.
Not everyone agrees that home births are a good thing. Some obstetricians, for example, question the safety of giving birth at home. In fact, some women may be clearly unsuited to giving birth at home because of preexisting health conditions or other factors which may make a home birth unsafe. In the end, the decision is yours. You should weigh your options in consultation with your partner, your pregnancy doctor and your midwife. Don't forget to consider any children you may already have - do you think they could cope with being at home during the birth? Or should perhaps spend that time with friends or relatives?
Planning A Safe Home Birth
The US Department of Health and Human Services strongly recommends that you take on a qualified and experienced midwife to help you plan a safe home birth. A midwife should be able to instruct you as to what you need to do and buy in preparation for the onset of labor. She (or he!) should also be willing to listen to your preferences for the birth and respect your choices, while providing balanced and informed advice about safety and health for both mother and baby.
Unfortunately, not all births that begin at home end at home. Sometimes complications arise, and a laboring woman will have to go to hospital for her own safety and that of her child. In many cases, a laboring woman may find it difficult to make the decision herself to go hospital and it will be the midwife who ultimately makes that call. That's why it's important that you have a positive, trusting relationship with your midwife. You should interview her thoroughly at the very beginning, to find out about her experience and credentials.
Finding A Home Birth Midwife
There are a number of databases online containing details of midwives working in the United States - one of them, for example, is the site of the Midwives Alliance of North America. Before contacting a midwife in order to plan a home birth, you must check whether or not your health insurance covers you fully, partially or not at all for giving birth at home. Unfortunately, cost and expense is a deciding factor for many women when choosing between home and hospital births.
Water births are a popular home birth option these days. The idea is that the laboring woman sits in a specially designed warm water pool, which soothes and calms her during the birth process, and therefore provides a calmer birth experience for the baby too. If you're interested in this home birth method, check out some of the many water home birth videos and pictures on the net.
They'll give you an idea of what goes on and which equipment you need to buy. The water tubs themselves can be ordered online, but you'll also need a long hose to attach to your household taps as well as plenty of other items (your midwife should be able to advise you on these).
Unassisted Home Birth
An unassisted birth is one that takes place without any assistance from a qualified medical professional (i.e. no doctors, no midwives). These types of home births can be planned, but they sometimes take place as emergency home births, when women go into labor unexpectedly.
In a planned unassisted birth, a woman may choose to have her partner or loved ones around her, but nobody instructs or guides her (for example, telling her when to push) through the birth. Needless to say, this method of birthing is controversial, and you should think carefully and plan thoroughly before you go through with it. You'll find plenty of information online, and you should discuss your plans with your doctor.
In an emergency home birth, however unlikely, a woman might not have any choice but to go it alone! Talk to your midwife for advice on what do to if this happens. And of course, if you do go into labor unexpectedly, try to call someone and let them know what's happening.
More Home Birth Information
There's no shortage of home birth information on the internet. A quick search is all it takes to find personal home birth stories, home birth pictures and much more.