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Homebirth - has anyone tried both and preferred their hospital birth?

(43 Posts)
Saundy Sun 25-Aug-13 11:36:45

I'm not looking for horror stories so please don't go there! As I know they exist for both sides of the argument so am looking for something a little more objective.

You often hear of people saying that had a good home birth or they want to try a home birth but not so much people who have had an ok experience with both but would probably go for hospital next time. Do these people exist?

I'm pregnant with my first and the thought of a home birth does appeal to me but absolutely does not to my partner. I'm thinking that maybe I should go for a hospital as its my first and if he's stressed it may defeat the object somewhat & cross over to me. Not overly fancying the hospital though.

Has anyone had a fairly ok home birth and hospital birth that would go for a hospital one next time for any particular reason?

Writerwannabe83 Sun 25-Aug-13 11:38:17

I would be too scared to have a home birth!
Do they even let you for your first baby??

Congratulations on the pregnancy smile x

pistachio Sun 25-Aug-13 11:43:28

I had one lovely, easy hospital birth and two lovely, easy homebirths. Wild horses couldn't get me to birth in hospital again unless there was a medical reason for it. Off the top of my head i can;t think of any of my homebirthing friends who would choose to labour in hospital, including those who had to transfer in during a HB- they still went for HB again too!

Interesting thread, i will follow the responses you get.

Saundy Sun 25-Aug-13 11:44:19

Thank you!

Yes they let you if you have a straightforward pregnancy with no complications. I like the idea of home comforts, privacy, being given the time I need & then being able to snuggle in my own bed with the baby straight after with nowhere to go. Plus I live a 5 min drive from the hospital.

Saundy Sun 25-Aug-13 11:45:32

Well that's it, I would approach it with an open that I may have to go to hospital but will try my best to stay at home. Where any of your friends first time mums Pistachio?

Saundy Sun 25-Aug-13 11:45:48

*open mind

littleducks Sun 25-Aug-13 11:49:26

Maybe a good compromise would be a birth centre with a home from home environment?

chocolatemartini Sun 25-Aug-13 11:52:12

I haven't had both but I had a home birth for my first. No one can be forced into hospital except under the mental health act so yes they do let you wink

Just wanted to say, my dh wasn't overly keen to start with but he came round to fully supporting the idea. It's not his choice OP, it's you who has to get the baby out, and you need to feel as safe and comfortable about your choice as possible. I did worry about my dh being stressed but by then he trusted our midwife so much (we had an independent midwife so knew who would deliver the baby) that it wasn't a problem. Any other family who might have stressed about homebirth were banned from knowing I'd gone into labour until the baby was safely delivered.

What is he worried about? The safety stats are very good, the data I read says it's as safe for the baby and safer for the mother at home, as long as you have a 'low risk' pg. you are less likely to have an episiotomy, a c section or other intervention. Bear in mind that many hospital horror stories where people say 'thank God I was in hospital' are complications caused by induction, so would never have happened at home.

I'd say keep an open mind but give birth where YOU want to, not where anyone else thinks is safest (with the exception of medical advice obvs)

I found this website www.homebirth.org.uk useful for information.

From my own perspective (and I stress this anecdotal) I had both my babies at home, and would not choose to labour in hospital if I had another baby - unless there was a pressing medical reason. I had fantastic support from my midwives (NHS) and for me the reason I chose homebirth was the much better 1-1 care. Yes being in your home environment, especially afterwards, is nice but it wasn't the main thing.

My mum had 3 babies, middle one was homebirth (but unplanned) and she then went on to have 3rd in hospital. This was mainly because she had a 5yr old and a 7yr old at home and wanted to go in to hospital to focus on the birth. At the time she had something called DOMINO care - where she called her community midwife when she went into labour, who came and accompanied her to hospital. She was discharged 6 hrs after birth.

Saundy Sun 25-Aug-13 12:11:45

There is no birth centre locally so its home or hospital unfortunately.

DP is scared of something going wrong and there being a delay in medical support happening. Our midwife didn't help when I raised the subject and said at only a 5 min drive away we would be able to transfer in time & her response was 'well things can go wrong very quickly so you may not get there in time'. I have a different midwife for every appt (so when I go into labour I will have met whoever is on duty) & they don't seem to be massively on board with the idea which is another concern that is feeding his fears. Its is not very common in my area at all.

He also thinks it is a bit selfish to take any kind of unnecessary risk to the baby, so on the off-chance the baby needs any kind of attention when its born it is surely better to be where it will get the best medical attention. Though obvs we hope it won't need any & know it probably won't. I do understand his perspective, its mainly fear and wanting to protect us both.

The 1 to 1 care and having more control were big factors for me. Do midwives swap shifts if it goes on or generally stay?

I need a list of pros and cons really - any anyone wants to contribute gratefully received smile.

"Do midwives swap shifts if it goes on or generally stay?"

I think this is something that you would have to ask your midwife about. I think sometimes people go down the Independent MW route because they don't feel supported by their NHS team. Happy to say that wasn't the case for me.

Bear in mind that first labours can be long. With my first it was about 20 hrs from first proper contractions to delivery, but I know that friends have had longer first labours.

The way it worked in practise was that I phoned the community mw team when I was in labour and they sent someone out (as it happened, I hadn't met her before). She checked me over and advised that we popped into the maternity unit as she was concerned that my temperature was a bit high (it was July 2006 and we were in the middle of a heatwave!). But we dutifully went off, I was hooked up to a monitor for 30mins and all was fine. I was given the choice to stay or go home. It was about midnight but I was keen to go home. I then laboured overnight at home with DH keeping me company and my mum asleep upstairs. When my mum got up about 8am she took one look at me and advised DH to call the MWs again as I seemed to be struggling.

The MW who came out (another one I hadn't met before, but it really didn't matter) was absolutely fantastic. She was fairly old school and firm, but that was just what I needed at that point as I was getting tired and a bit panicky. She said that either she could do a vaginal exam or I could go into hospital where there would be more pain relief options. I chose the exam even tho I'd been hoping to avoid.

It turned out that I was 8cm dilated, and as soon as I heard that I got my second wind. It really gave me confidence! At that point the MW called for another MW (you have 2 for delivery) and this one turned out to be the one I'd seen throughout most of my pregnancy. She ended up delivering DS just after 2pm. They stayed for another hour or so to clear up.

Second birth was much quicker, shift changes not really a problem!

Sorry this is so long - wanted to give an idea of practicalities...

Adreamz Sun 25-Aug-13 12:54:01

I have 2 friends that attempted home births and ended up in hospital (due to poor progression so no horror story). They both hated the thought of being in hospital. however the second time around they both opted for hospital because they realised it wasn't as bad as they had thought. I'm not keen on home births because of the mess but think midwife led units are a halfway house, have you considered this option?

Adreamz Sun 25-Aug-13 12:56:39

Sorry I should have read your reply about no birth centres locally. Once a midwife comes out they shouldn't really be swapping shifts unless your labour is long xx

chocolatemartini Sun 25-Aug-13 13:00:53

I don't think it's selfish for a woman to choose where and how she gives birth. On the pro home birth side, does your DP know that babies born at home generally have higher APGAR scores? ie they are in better. condition

Saundy Sun 25-Aug-13 14:09:28

Thanks for your story RhinestoneCowgirl it helps to see it laid out like that.

Its also a relief to see that some people who had chosen a home birth were happy with a hospital birth Adreamz!

I think thats why I need to write a clear list of pro's and con's for him Chocolate as he really hasn't researched this area at all so I think it'll help him see where I am coming from.

Rockchick1984 Sun 25-Aug-13 15:57:26

I had a hospital birth with my first, as I generally have a low pain threshold and wanted to be near the drugs grin

It was fine, similar to what I had planned but I really wanted a water birth and the pool was in use so wasn't an option. Managed with just a tiny bit of gas and air, so am hoping for a home birth this time. No complaints about the hospital or the way I was treated, just hated the postnatal ward!

chocolatemartini Sun 25-Aug-13 18:24:42

I'll do the pros for homebirth then. Hopefully someone else will do some counter arguments so you have the full picture.

Copied from this page:

A National Childbirth Trust study in the United Kingdom done in 2001 showed that if you book a home birth you halve your chances of needing to have a Caesarean, ventouse, or forceps delivery and significantly that you are less likely to have a bad tear or need an episiotomy. The benefits are not just for you though: babies who are born at home are less likely to have infections after birth and are much more likely to breastfeed successfully. The numbers of babies in this country who die at birth or who are injured at birth are, thank goodness, very low but there are sufficient numbers to show categorically that you do not increase any risk to your baby by choosing a home birth. In fact, the figures are so compelling that the Royal College of Obstetricians, the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Department of Health all agree that ALL low risk mothers-to-be should be told that home birth means better births and healthier mothers and babies.

There are some well referenced summaries of risk studies here

Copied from here

"Women who want a home birth are often accused of being selfish and of putting their babies at risk, without any evidence to support these claims. Indeed, research evidence indicates that the health outcomes of planned home birth are as good as or better than those for hospital birth, and that many women experience a range of emotional and practical benefits from giving birth at home.
"There is ample evidence that planning a home birth improves overall outcomes for mothers and babies....For women with normal pregnancies labouring at home increases the chances of a birth that is both satisfying and safe."

From this Royal College of Midwives article:

Risks and realities
Many myths and legends surround home birth, especially in relation to safety. And there is no shortage of anecdotal evidence. In reality planned home birth is associated with good outcomes for both mothers and babies. A study of home birth by the National Birthday Trust Fund covered nearly 6000 planned home births in the UK in 1994/5, matched against women planning hospital birth. The study found that women in the planned home birth group had approximately half the risk of an instrumental delivery or caesarean section, and were less likely to have a post-partum haemorrhage. Babies in the planned home birth group were significantly less likely to have low Apgar scores and suffered less birth injuries

Hope you feel happy with your choice in the end, whatever it is. Good luck.

chocolatemartini Sun 25-Aug-13 18:35:32

Oh one more thing- don't overlook the bit that says 'more likely to breastfeed succesfully' because this in itself is hugely beneficial to the baby (assuming you want to of course). Successful breastfeeding reduces the risk of gastro-intestinal infection, respiratory infections, necrotising enterocolitis, urinary tract infections, ear infections, allergic disease (eczema and wheezing), insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, sudden infant death syndrome, childhood leukaemia. Women who have breastfed are at lower risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, hip fractures and low bone density.

I fail to see how wanting a homebirth can be seen as selfish. Interested to see if anyone can change my mind because I'm planning a second homebirth myself in a few months.

DoItTooJulia Sun 25-Aug-13 18:36:16

I had a home birth for my first delivery. I had had a shitty experience with the hospital after having two miscarriages, so I really really didn't want to go there. (I also had this horrible thought that if the baby didn't survive, I didn't want to leave the hospital empty handed again. Totally irrational, but very very important To me at the time).

Fast forward 8 years to ds2 being due. I was induced as a late growth scan showed he had stopped growing, so I was induced pretty quickly. I was booked in for a home birth, but that went out of the window.

The birth was really really medical. Constant monitoring, clip on baby's head at one point etc etc, but, do you know what, it was fine. Honestly fine. No further intervention, used the gas and air and baby was born at a whopping 8lb!

The horrible bit was the post natal ward. DH had only just met his brand new baby and was sent home. That made me really sad, as with the home birth, we just went to bed with the baby and we couldn't do that this time.

If we ever had a third baby I would try for a home birth, but not be totally gutted if I didn't get one, as the delivery ward was fantastic. I had great care. It was clean, friendly and modern. I would get the hell out of there as soon as he was born though!

Does that help? I'm not sure I have answered your question, sorry!

chocolatemartini Sun 25-Aug-13 18:38:27

Although obviously many women do have hospital births and breastfeed! Right I've said my bit now grin

FairyTrain Sun 25-Aug-13 21:16:35

My DH is quite against homebirths purely because of the mess!!! (had 2 in birthing pools, 1st in hospital, second in MW led birth centre) I tend to agree with him, although maybe my births are messier than most shock!. The rooms are designed to be hosed down easily.....

MaryKatharine Sun 25-Aug-13 21:38:30

I have 4 DCs. Two were born in hospital and two at home. I considered home birth for my first as where we were living at the time, they were very pro HB and encouraged all women with uncomplicated pregnancies to consider it. However, I simply wasn't sure how I'd labour and how well I would cope with the pain so the thought of doing it all with just G&A frightened me a little. As it was, I did have pethidine first time around and DS had meconiumn in the water so I would have ended up being transferred anyway.
No 2 was a lovely, quick easy birth at home with amazing one to one care. The MWs aren't in a hurry to leave you and it just seems so natural..
No3 I ended up delivering in hospital again. It was a horrible experience as my mother had just been killed and we had just moved and had no childcare for the older 2 so DH had to stay with them and I gave birth alone. It was the main reason I went on to have No4! Very cathartic home birth again.

One thing I would say is that my MWs were very supportive. If yours are not then it may end up not being the wonderful experience you dream it to be. Good luck with it all.

cathperera78 Sun 25-Aug-13 21:59:37

I have heard of a few people getting transfered to hospital too. I am pregnant with my third and wanting a homebirth this time, however I have had 2 very straightforward labours and I am therefore confident in knowing roughly how far the labour has progressed etc. I think its more reassuring with your first to know you are in hospital as you don't know what to expect at all.

I had my 3rd dc at home after 2 fairly straight forward and happy hospital births.

The attention you get at home is obviously better. I had 2 midwives and a student all to myself. And the aftercare was good too as the midwife who came out had actuallt been at the delivery. And introducing dss to their new sister so quickly was lovely.

However it was a v long labour (2 days) and when things finally got close to the end we had 2 little boys wanting breakfast and as dd1 arrived almost as soon ay waters were (finally) broken dp nearly missed it as he was sorting breakfast! Also i worried a lot about the cleanliness of my house. It was a good experience though.

Dd2 arrived in hospital on new years day after a 3 hour labour. This was planned as i preferedd to be in hosp. Although i actually had little choice in the end as she was 3 weeks early and labour started with a big scary bleed. Aftercare was shit this time though!

TheContrastOfWhiteOnWhite Sun 25-Aug-13 22:28:25

I think part of the reason you see a skewed picture is that many people who have done 'one of each' have done hospital first. For all the reasons you are thinking of it. Since second time births tend to be better, that means that a lot of people who have had both would say that the homebirth was better anyway IYSWIM.

That said, I wish I had had my first at home. I was treated dismissively and like a hysterical first time mother during a long latent phase in hospital. They then insisted on long periods of monitoring lying on my back (agony with a back to back baby) and internals, before pronouncing that nothing was progressing. I think I would have done better at home TBH.

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