Have you ever thought about giving birth in the comfort of your home? In the warmth and familiarity of your sacred space surrounded by those who support you in all your decisions. As a doula, I believe that every birth is beautiful and worthy no matter where or how it takes place. Today we are going to talk about the beauty of home birth and how families can prepare to birth with confidence.
Photos By: Angelia, Doula and Photographer
Step One: Building your dream birth team
Yes it is possible for you to birth your baby at home, and it all starts when you decide it’s the right location for you. In this post I am referring to an assisted home birth, therefore you can start your journey by hiring a midwife. Midwives are care providers just like your typical OBGYN, although their scope of practice is more in trusting the natural process of birth. They carry all sorts of tools to make sure everything is going as it should and are trained for emergencies too. They aren’t hard to find either! There are home birth midwives everywhere. You just have to do your research and find the right fit for your family. Most take insurance, so that may impact your decision making too.
You might also want to consider hiring a doula, which can be done anytime during your journey. Doula's are birth professionals who help guide the safe, memorable, and empowering experience that you desire. Many families find a doula's support to be invaluable during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. According to The Position Paper: The Birth Doula’s Role in Modern Maternity Care, partners often feel relieved when they can rely on a doula for help; they enjoy the experience more. With your doula’s knowledgeable view on birth, your midwife caring for the health needs of mom and baby, and your partners special knowledge of the mother; this team makes the perfect support for the mothers complex needs during childbirth.
Step Two: Taking a Childbirth Education Class
Education and knowledge are everything! Even if you have the basic understanding of childbirth, I highly recommend taking a class. An educator can teach you all about labor positions, comfort techniques, all of your options, advocacy, postpartum, and so much more! If you are planning to have a home birth be sure to take a class that is tailored to the natural home birth experience.
Step Three: The Plan
Birth plans aren’t for everyone and midwives are great at knowing their clients preferences. Although, it still may be a good idea to create one so you feel prepared and know what’s most important to you. Be sure to think about Plan B too. In some circumstances there is a need to be transferred to the hospital. This does not mean you have failed in anyway. Labor is unpredictable, and sometimes moms and babies need extra care. With a plan in place you will be prepared for anything and ready to make the best decisions for you and your family.
Step Four: Preparing your mind and body
There is so much planning and research someone can do to prepare for birth, but have you ever thought about your mind? This can look like watching positive home birth videos, listening to empowering podcasts, and maybe even practicing meditation or hypnosis. Try avoiding any negative horror stories about birth, everyone’s journey is different. By preparing and keeping a positive mindset, you can have the best experience no matter what that looks like! As you near the end of pregnancy, it is still important to drink plenty of fluids and eat a balanced diet. Another way to get your body ready for the big day is with exercise. I know that’s probably the last thing on your mind right now, but there are safe gentle exercises you can do to prepare for birth. Be sure to check with your midwife beforehand, and listen to what your body needs.
Step Five: Preparing your home and setting the environment
Your midwife should give you a list of supplies to have ready in your home for the big day. It may include things like towels, clean sheets for your bed, wash cloths, etc. If you plan to have a water birth you might consider using a birthing pool. Your midwife might be able to provide one, if not they can be rented from other sources as well. Pumping up your pool in the desired area of your home once before the big day can help you feel more prepared too. Don’t forget to add things to your list that will create an environment that promotes relaxation and comfort. Candles, Christmas lights, music, oils and lotions for massage, affirmations, etc. You might even plan to have your pets and other children present, if not having photos of them can bring you comfort as well. Like any birthing location, you can create the perfect environment for the birth you desire.
If you still don't quite feel prepared that's okay. Just remember why you chose this experience, think about the support you have from your birth team, and talk to your care provider and doula who may be able to find ways to help you feel more prepared. Birthing at home is an option that anyone interested should explore. Even if a mom has given birth via C-section before, she too can have a home birth after cesarean (HBAC). For many women a home birth may be healing after a past traumatic birthing experience. Home births look and feel a lot different than birthing in a hospital or birth center. There is less pressure to use medications/interventions for those seeking a more natural experience and seemingly a lower number of vaginal tears. Being at home uninterrupted with those who support you by your side. The intimacy of laboring in your partners embrace. Knowing you're in a safe place free of hospital germs and strangers. Moving in different positions that feel best to you. All births are beautiful and worthy no matter where or how they take place. Give birth the way you desire with confidence.