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What do people think of home birth?

(65 Posts)
ladydawnie Wed 12-Sep-12 14:11:22

I'm seriously considering a home birth for my second baby that I'm currently 34 weeks pregnant with. My first babys birth was a right nightmare, 30 hr back labour, 3 epidural attempts, a spinal block and emergency forceps. This was probably because I was 7 stone heavier than I am now, the back labour was painful so I panicked, went to hospital demanding an epidural, got on the bed and never moved again! I've also been told I have a narrow pubic arch so my first baby got a bit stuck. However, the midwife is all for a home birth this time round and told me to stay active and upright during my labour and I should be fine. I'm so keen on home birth I've already bought a birthing pool. But there's this little annoying voice in my head telling me it may not be such a good idea. I'd love to hear other people's opinions on home birth. Do people think its dangerous, even selfish to want a home birth?

Marmiteisyummy Wed 12-Sep-12 14:24:50

You'll get very polar opinions.
There's no evidence it's unsafe in low risk pregnancy.
Personally I wouldn't. For me the risk of delay to getting the baby out if there is a problem is too great. And for me that risk would be too high even if I only lived 5 mins from the hospital.
Most people will be fine. Some people won't. That can happen in hospital too but then I'd feel I did everything I could to make my LO safe. My DS was a very straightforward labour, born within 3 hours of arriving at hospital. Will have hospital birth this time too because that is what suits me. I work in hospitals so I feel comfortable in that environment.
You have to weigh up the pros and cons and then just go with your decision. You can always change your mind at any time, before labour or in labour.
Very best of luck.

moogalicious Wed 12-Sep-12 14:27:13

I had a home birth with dc3. It was amazing, but I only live 5 mins from the hospital.

And just because you've booked a home birth doesn't mean you'll get one. It depends whether there's a midwife available. I was lucky - the lady who called after me had to go to hospital as I'd nabbed the last midwife!

Startailoforangeandgold Wed 12-Sep-12 14:33:16

Previous poster is right you have to weigh it up for yourself.

DD2s homebirth was <insert stupid soppy beautiful magical adjectives> experience.

Sitting feeding her and having lunch,in the winter sun, on my own bed three hours later, with DH and DD1 was incredibly, unrepeatable and just wonderful.

Yes I am biasedgrin

Startailoforangeandgold Wed 12-Sep-12 14:37:47

I was also happy to accept that I live far enough from the hospital that had anything gone wrong she might not have made it.
And hard hearted enough to prefer that to a brain damaged child.

EdMcDunnough Wed 12-Sep-12 14:38:17

I had my second at home, its at least half an hour's drive to the hospital and unfortunately I did have a PPH...but it was stopped quickly with the right drugs. There was a moment when the midwives looked a bit panic stricken though.

Generally it was much more painful than my hospital birth (same as you - epidural) but much better in so many ways. I got better and more consistent care, I was at home so in a safe, familiar place, without silly rules and that feeling of loss of control, when people start doing things to you and telling you you can't do this or go there - I would recommend it.

I'm booked to have my third at home also.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Wed 12-Sep-12 14:39:40

There are risks to everything - hospital birth carries it's own risks. For instance, you're more likely to be left on your own in hospital so potential problems are often spotted sooner during a homebirth. Also, you are more likely to get an infection in hospital.

I'm not saying hospital birth is bad, just that everything carries different risks and you have to weigh them for yourself.

There is pretty solid evidence showing that for low risk births homebirth is as safe or safer. For higher risk birth, it very much depends on the circumstances.

No way could hb be called a selfish choice. That's absurd.

oscarwilde Wed 12-Sep-12 14:49:54

I'd love one but sadly it is not to be as first birth resulted in EMCS with a stuck baby. Turned out that she was back to back and only moved half way around. Had no idea until last week. I'm not prepared to risk a VBAC at home and the hospital doesn't have the facilities to monitor in the pool so a water birth is out too. I found it immensely helpful to be in water in early labour though the bath at home was too small so the pool is definitely the way forward regardless I would think.
Massive disclaimer as I am NO expert .
What has your midwife said ? A 7 stone weight loss is immense - well done! If you are in good health, the baby is not back to back this time and you are not overdue I wouldn't see any reason not to try. If things are not progressing well and you are not coping with the pain, then you can transfer to hospital. Just because you start there doesn't mean that someone is going to tie your leg to the doorpost and make you bear down.... grin
If it were me - I would book the home birth with a caveat on
1) Good health and ideal positioning
2) A clear home birth plan with agreed steps as to when you transfer to hospital if necessary [your midwife and your DH/SP need to know what you want to do if the baby swings back into the wrong position or you are labouring for x hours and getting too tired etc etc]
3) A clear understanding of why you want a home birth, what's your motivation and how it will make you feel if you try it and it doesn't work out. Maybe you need to work through your first labour and understand what happened when, to feel more in control the second time around. At the end of the day, what's most important is you and your baby's health. The mechanism of how they actually enter the world is just a detail. I had a VBAC consultation recently and it was an edifying experience to go through my notes with a midwife and understand what happened when. I think regardless of whether I have an ELCS or a VBAC I will be asking a lot more questions the second time around.

minipie Wed 12-Sep-12 15:18:27

For me, it's a risk too far as I am 20+ minutes away from hospital (more if the traffic is heavy).

I am hoping to be able to give birth in my hospital's midwife led unit. This will (at least in theory!) have many of the advantages you are talking about - keeping mobile, encouraged to do what feels right, birthing pool and one on one midwife attention. But the hospital is right next door if I need it.

Would that be an option available to you?

Startail I don't think the only possible outcomes of "something going wrong" are the baby not making it in a home birth, or brain damaged baby in a hospital birth. (If these were the only possibilities then I might be with you on which I'd prefer). You could have a situation where a risky birth at home results in brain damage that could have been wholly or partly avoided if the same birth had happened in hospital, because of the quicker access to surgery.

fuckbadger Wed 12-Sep-12 15:21:11

I had a homebirth with my dc2 and I definitely recommend it! I felt much more relaxed at home and the mw stayed with me the whole time, not popping in and out like they often do in hospital! It was much less painful for me too, which may just be because it was dc2 but I think being totally in control because it was my home played a big part in it too.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Wed 12-Sep-12 15:22:36

OR you could have a situation where a problem is spotted more quickly during a homebirth because there is more consistent care and that mother and baby receive treatment faster than another who was already in hospital. You just can't second guess these things.

JennerOSity Wed 12-Sep-12 15:26:08

I don't think it is dangerous or selfish unless you live in the back of beyond.

I am having a home birth for my second, if something goes wrong they'll pop me in the ambulance and I'll be dealt in less than half an hour.

My friend who had a hospital birth first time needed similar ramping up of support when birth didn't go to plan, she still had to wait in birthing room for 40 minutes while they prepped the necessary in theatre etc.

She went for home birth second time as she reasoned they would just be doing that while she was in transit, as opposed to being in labour room of hospital so either way the help is as quick and wouldn't make any difference.

I was also surprised to discover that I have two midwives all to myself for the duration of the labour by being at home, whereas in hospital, though of course several midwives are around, you only actually see yours when they pop in or much is happening and at times you are all alone (bar bp of course) so I would feel more supported being the sole care of two!

being up and active does make a heck of a difference in labour too.

I would go for it if I was you.

minipie Wed 12-Sep-12 15:27:48

Fruit yes I agree, I considered homebirth for exactly that reason... trouble is it doesn't help much if the mw spots an urgent problem if the only treatment is at hospital 20+ minutes away. I have read that my midwife led centre will give one to one care (in the same way as a homebirth) so problems are just as likely to be spotted - I really hope that turns out to be true.

minipie Wed 12-Sep-12 15:28:56

cross posted with jenner that's a good point about prep time for surgery. I guess the exception would be true "crash sections" where they get you in ASAP with all systems go.

DinosaursOnASpaceship Wed 12-Sep-12 15:32:11

I like the idea but would be to scared in reality I think. Dc4 is due in January and it would make things easier with child care etc if I was to stay home but I like the safety net of being in the hospital.

ThePoorMansBeckySharp Wed 12-Sep-12 15:33:36

I think you'd be a fool. I know of so many births where things went badly very suddenly - these women were very pleased that they were in a hospital at the time, believe me.

I had a homebirth with DD. it was amazing, and I would definitely want another. Spend some time researching the risks and mitigants. This website is fantastic: www.homebirth.org.uk

ThePoorMansBeckySharp Wed 12-Sep-12 15:34:55

"I was also happy to accept that I live far enough from the hospital that had anything gone wrong she might not have made it."

erm...gosh.

poorman many of my friends that have had babies in hospital were put off from going until they were in VERY advanced labour eg 10 cm when they arrived. With my homebirth I had a MW looking after me continuously from 6cm onwards. Which one sounds safer to you?? hmm

Plus I did a great deal of research and spoke to many experienced MWs whose views were very few things go wrong so quickly that a transfer to hospital is a problem. This is probably because of the way you're monitored so closely at home. from my friends who did have things go wrong at hospital, they were largely left to labour alone and the subtle early warning signs weren't picked up.

ReallyTired Wed 12-Sep-12 15:41:52

I had an NHS homebirth and it was lovely. I had the exclusive attention of one midwife. The risks of a homebirth are different to a hospital. Having one to one care means that problems are picked up far faster. In the second stage you have 2 to 1 care.

"For me, it's a risk too far as I am 20+ minutes away from hospital (more if the traffic is heavy)."

An ambulance could manage that kind of journey in 15 minutes easily. The heavy traffic would just have to make way. There are very few circumstances that require an instant c-section to save the life of a baby. Even then the chances of a cord prolapse are very low if the baby's position is normal.

" You could have a situation where a risky birth at home results in brain damage that could have been wholly or partly avoided if the same birth had happened in hospital, because of the quicker access to surgery. "

That is rare. The cascade of interveniton is more common in hospital and that cause brain damage. For low risk women the incidence of brain damage/ death of a baby are not higher at home than in hospital. There have been lots of studies assessing the safety of homebirth.

If homebirth was as dangerous as some people make out the nhs would not support it.

I wish there was a 'like' button, great post reallytired

Ephiny Wed 12-Sep-12 15:51:41

It wouldn't be my choice, but I don't believe it's particularly dangerous (unless you're high risk for some reason, and I assume not if your midwife is supportive of a home birth).

Why would it be selfish?

ReallyTired Wed 12-Sep-12 15:57:08

There are circumstances where homebirth is substantially safer than hospital birth. My homebirth was exceptionally quick. I only had one NHS midwife as the second midwife did not get there in time. If I had attempted a hospital birth then my daughter would have been born at the side of the M1.

The safest option for childbirth varies from women to women. This is why the NHS offers a choice. I don't understand why a homebirth is a selfish choice in my circumstances.

newtonupontheheath Wed 12-Sep-12 15:59:09

I'm biased as had homebirth with ds and planning another with dc2 v soon.

Do as much research as you can, speak to your mw, tour hospital etc and make a decision with your DP. Nobody on here should "tell" you what to do... It's a very personal choice.

FWIW... The option for DH to be present before and after 100% of the time, and the 1:1 mw care were the main winners for me. Home comforts and not having to go to hospital whilst in labour were added bonuses- lucky as wasn't sure I was in established labour but when mw visited (expecting to go home and return in the morning) I was already 8cm. I'm a bit unnerved as to what had have happened had we waited to go into hospital (baby in the car park?!)

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