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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?!)

newtonupontheheath Wed 12-Sep-12 16:00:05

X-post with reallytired ... Are you me?!

Exactly the same here! (although not the m1 wink )

furrygoldone Wed 12-Sep-12 16:00:56

There was a recent report that found for low risk women on their 2nd or subsequent birth the risk of adverse outcome is the same for CLU, MLU and homebirth, but that there is a much lower incidence of intervention either at home or in an MLU. The risks however will be different depending on location.

I have seriously considered a homebirth in this pregnancy but decided against it because I just couldn't get my head around homebirth pool logistics and was worried about not having enough hot water, which sounds quite trivial but it's important to me.

It's always hard to know what to decide for the best, it's a big decision to make. I tend to research my options and then go with my gut instinct, it served me well with the induction I had with DS and the only decisions I regret are those where I didn't listen to it and did what others thought was right for me.

If you do plan a homebirth, it doesn't stop you going to hospital when the time comes if you feel it is necessary.

LackingNameChangeInspiration Wed 12-Sep-12 16:05:06

honestly, I think there are only 2 viable options: hospital birth or home birth. i think stand alone MLUs should be abolished!

with home births Vs stand alone MLUs:
1. the MW is available to YOU only, not off answering phones, covering breaks next door, chatting at the desk
2. there is IMO more pressure on a home birth MW to get you transfered as soon as you need it, in MLUs half the time they don't even notice and you get transferred much later so the hospital bit ends up rougher
3. you have nothing - NOTHING - more in a stand alone MLU than you can have at home, there are no interventions available at a stand alone MLU which aren't available at home

so.. to summarise, a HB has EVERY advantage that a stand alone MLU has, but the MLU does not have all of the advantages of a HB

it's completely up to you and not selfish- it's not something i would ever want but it seems to be something they're trying to encourage at the moment, or it is maybe midwife dependent? i'm pregnant with dc2 and my midwife is trying to encourage me to have one. not my cup of tea at all, with my first i went in at 6cm, had an epidural, he popped out a few hours later and then I went home a few hours after that. i'm someone who doesn't see the point of suffering pain if you don't need to and i didn't think it was too painful up to 6cm and didn't want to find out if it got worse! so with this one I hope for exactly the same, quick epidural and painless birth and home a bit after that. midwife keeps telling me, oh, a bath will take the pain away and won't it be better at home?... not for me, with pets and dss and dsd and ds all wanting to know what's going on, it would not be relaxing! but different people like different things and it's not at all selfish if that's what you'd like.

Trazzletoes Wed 12-Sep-12 16:08:54

You aren't selfish to want a home birth. I chose not to because I want to be where the Doctors are. I dont want to have to have an ambulance and have to travel while I'm panicking about what's happening to my baby. A friend lost 1.5 litres of blood after giving birth and was told if she'd had a home birth she would almost certainly have died. There are risks in going to hospital just as there are risks in staying at home but, to my mind, the more serious risks can be dealt with faster in hospital.

Well done on your weight loss and I hope all goes well. Btw, I am a glass half empty person!

Orenishii Wed 12-Sep-12 16:15:57

I'll be booking one for my first next week, officially - but have been discussing it with my midwives from about 25 weeks now. I've had a good, healthy pregnancy so far so I'm a good candidate.

I guess I'm lucky that the community midwives are big HB advocates and have been able to fully address my concerns at every stage. A woman at work said - oh I'd have bled to death if I hadn't been in hospital. This suitably freaked me out, I spoke to my midwife, who explained very calmly and reasonably the checks they have in place to be able to see things far enough away to assess risks at every stage. The subtle warning signs are looked out for in a way they might be missed in the hospital. I'm also going to a HB birth the community midwives put on monthly, where no doubt I'll have more questions that can be answered.

The EMCS scenario is another misconception, as pointed out by reallytired.

It's a very personal decision. I wanted to get as far away from the possibility of intervention as I could and to be honest, the act of going into somewhere to give birth makes it feels much more scary than it needs to be, for me personally. I will have the exclusive attention of one NHS midwife from a group of community midwives who not only have vast experience of HBs but also fully support the decision.

I don't think they are unsafe, or selfish - that's a bizarre notion. I'm a (reasonably) intelligent adult woman, I've done all the research I can and have not made this decision on a whim, or recklessly. For me the pros - relaxed atmosphere that can contribute to a labour requiring much less intervention or medicalisation - far outweighs the relative risks of being a fifteen minute drive away from the hospital. I have bought a pool, which a lot of my anxiety was about - about getting to the MLU only to find the two pools being used - and happily set about making our home the comfiest, tidiest, cosiest nest I could in preparation and it all feels - instinctively - completely natural and fear-free as much as it can, aside from the general apprehension of wondering what it's actually going to be like. The planned homebirth makes me excited to give birth, not worried about wondering how far along I am or when I can go into the MLU.

cakeismysaviour Wed 12-Sep-12 16:20:26

I don't have a problem with people wanting home births, but personally I would choose the hospital every time (and have done).

I am not bothered about the birth being magical, peaceful etc. I just see the birth as being the horrid bit that you have to get out of the way before you get to meet your baby. grin As long as me and baby are safe and well, thats all I care about.

If you particularly want the experience of giving birth at home and the midwife advises that it is safe to do so, then just go for it. smile

LackingNameChangeInspiration Wed 12-Sep-12 16:23:24

"There are risks in going to hospital just as there are risks in staying at home but, to my mind, the more serious risks can be dealt with faster in hospital"
that depends on the type of hospital birth, if you have someone popping their head in while doing a load of other jobs and paperwork and phone manning, they can only deal with problems quickly AFTER they actually notice you have a problem

so at home, you have to factor in ambulance ride
in hospital (but in particular 'leave you to it' style MLUs) you have to factor in ringing your bell for 5 mins (if you can!) then getting it turned off by a HCA who "goes to tell someone" then finally being seen by a MW.. (and then in a stand alone you add amulance time TO THAT!)

so HB is the second fastest problem to doctor/equipment time out of the three options, sometimes the fastests

LadyMetroland Wed 12-Sep-12 16:40:39

Interesting Telegraph article on this subject recently, can't do links on phone but just Google home birth risks and it will come up.

Essentially it says latest research shows for first timers it is definitely more risky to have HB. For second or third timers with previous complications the jury is out - depends on individual circumstances. The only group that seem ok are second or third timers with low risk status.

Personally I would never take the risk, however small.

Trazzletoes Wed 12-Sep-12 16:44:02

Sorry, I may not have made myself clear, that was just my view. Definitely not one that I can back up with anything! Just my personal view and I wouldn't expect anyone else to take it as gospel!!!

ReallyTired Wed 12-Sep-12 17:10:27

I think a lot of people confuse an unassisted free birth with an nhs home birth. Many "midwives" round the world do not have the level of training or the back up that an NHS midwife has. In many ways studies of home birth in different countries is irrelevent to the UK. A malnourished woman in a third world country with an unqualified birth attendent and no back up is taking a huge risk.

LackingNameChangeInspiration Wed 12-Sep-12 17:11:56

yup that's true, in Ireland you can't have an attended home birth AFAIK so the women who choose it are essentially "opting out" of the health system

CakeBump Wed 12-Sep-12 17:16:19

I'm planning a home birth for DC1.

Its very usual in other countries, ie everyone is more or less expected to have a home birth (with no drugs, I hasten to add) unless there are specific reasons to go to hospital.

A reason could be that you want pain relief, that's fair enough, as well as something more "serious". But home births are not seen as "alternative" at all.

Saying that, I'm no expert and I would always check with my midwife or doctor and go with their recommendation, especially if I'd already had a bad experiences.

Secondsop Wed 12-Sep-12 17:18:53

ladydawnie, why does the little voice in your head think it's a bad idea? You mention both "dangerous" and "selfish". If by selfish you mean the taking up of resource, then I say stuff anyone who makes you feel this way - it's your birth and if the option is available then why shouldn't you avail yourself of it? If the midwife really isn't available you won't get the home birth anyway so it's not as if you're taking her away from anyone else.

If, though, you are worried about it being dangerous, then I think you need to weigh up whether the benefits for you are outweighed by the little voice. If the worry about risk is going to affect your birth experience, then you may decide it's not for you.

I have no experience of this by the way - am expecting my first baby and I am high risk so can't have a home birth even if I wanted one.

Also, great work on the 7 stone!!

That's a VERY personal decision.

A doula told me "you can always book a home birth and then change your mind and go to hospital. But you can't do it the other way around." I think that's something to keep in mind.

Apart from that, I think only you - and to a lesser extent, the father of the child - can decide.

ladydawnie Wed 12-Sep-12 18:34:11

Wow, thanks for all your great opinions/stories and links! It's really helpful to hear what others think.
Someone (a family member!) told me home birth was selfish as I would be risking the health and safety of my baby just for my benefit of having the baby at home. So basically telling me yes, I might be nice and relaxed at home but my baby might die so why didn't I just go to hospital and play it safe! I know that's a bit ridiculous but when u are pregnant things easily upset you, well they do me anyway!
My reasons for wanting a HB are that I know I will be much more relaxed at home. I used to work in a hospital and I really don't like the places at all! In fact if I have to go to a hospital I get a bit panicky. I think it doesn't help that I found labour so painful last time. I laboured to 6cm at home no problem, but as soon as I got to hospital I panicked and the pains got worse, so I was then begging for an epidural! Due to my size last time the epidurals never really worked, do the pain was gone, but it came back quite quickly when the epidural failed. I also saw 4 different shift changes, so 4 different midwives through my labour, I never had glance to bond with just one or two.
I love the idea of having two midwives at my house for a HB, which is what is offered locally. We don't have a MLU so that's out anyway. The midwife I last saw has assured me that generally problems get spotted sooner at a HB and at first sign of any problems I would be blue lighted to the hospital which is about 15/20 mins away with normal driving, obviously quicker in an ambulance. But it does scare me to think I might have to wait for said ambulance. Id like to think I could try a HB and would know well in advance of a serious problem developing, so I could get to hospital before something terrible happens. I do also like the idea of a midwife being there to support me, in hospital last time they were in and out looking after other mums too, I felt very alone and scared despots having a fab husband.
Whatever I do choose I know that if I hada home birth that went wrong and ended badly, I would never forgive myself and would regret not just going to hospital!! Argh, decisions, decisions!

ladydawnie Wed 12-Sep-12 18:36:07

Oh god, just read that back, the appalling spelling mistakes are due to me being on my phone, not pregnancy brain, honest! X

sparklekitty Wed 12-Sep-12 18:45:46

I'd like a homebirth but I think I'd be way too anxious that something might go wrong and that would probably make labour harder. I tried going for an in-between and going to a MLU but after some spotting they've said no and I have to go to hospital. I am slightly concerned about the 'cascade of intervention'.

If you feel happy doing it and you're low risk (I guess they usually say no if you're high risk anyway) then theres no reason you shouldn't do it x

CityDweller Wed 12-Sep-12 19:10:42

I am hoping for a homebirth for first baby next year. I mentioned it to mw in my booking-in apt at 8 weeks and she was all for it. But I have no issue with the potential of having to revert to hospital birth if pregnancy becomes complicated or there's a whiff of trouble during delivery.

For some reason, homebirth has always felt 'right' to me. Probably enhanced by fact that my sister had a pretty hideous hospital birth experience with DC1 due to over-intervention and a lovely, peaceful one with DC2, who was born at home in a birthing pool. I also prefer the idea of a midwife to myself at home, as opposed to being left to my own devices in a mw-led birthing centre.

CakeBump Wed 12-Sep-12 19:11:35

Yes Sparkle, I think you have to weigh up whether you'd be more relaxed at home, or more relaxed at a hospital where you knew emergency help was immediately to hand.

Personally, I think I will be more relaxed at home, so that's is what I am going for, for various reasons. It really helps that home birth is "normal" here - puts my mind at rest iyswim.

ladydawnie Wed 12-Sep-12 19:19:02

My midwife said I'm low risk, however, even though I've lost 7 stone since the birth of my daughter, I'm still 0.5 over the bmi limit of what it considered 'low risk'. So the cut off limit is a bmi below 30, mine is 30.5. The midwife said that 'technically' I was advised not to have a HB but given the fact I'm right at the borderline that I could ignore that information! The midwives in my area would be more than happy for me to birth at home, unless anything changes obviously. Hmmmm I think I'm going to book one and see how things progress. Like everyone has pointed out, I can change my mind on the day and go to hospital if I want. I'm also thinking that if the baby is in a posterior position like my last one, then I'll go in. Back labour was just too much for me and I think I would feel safer in hospital where there's drugs available! Thanks for everyone's opinions, it's certainly helping me to weigh up the pros and cons. It's great to read all the articles available online but it's nice to hear from people who have some experience with home birthing x

Hi, I had a posterior HB with DS (my 2nd). It was more painful than my first hospital birth but at the same time it was a lot more relaxed, if that doesn't sound too contradictory. Being on all fours and wiggling my hips during contractions helped a lot.

MoonHare Wed 12-Sep-12 20:04:44

I had a mostly positive hospital birth experience with DC1 (there were issues that would not have occurred had we been at home but nothing that left me traumatised). That said, it was awful when DH had to leave, the post natal ward was horrendous and the staff less than friendly. Plus we had remained at home for the majority of my labour and I coped well. I didn't relish the thought of the 25 min journey into hospital again and I was confident I would be fine managing labour pain at home - so opted for home birth with DC2.

It was the best decision ever. A calm and relaxed experience. Better for DH too who felt more involved. I was 9cm when the mw arrived, I credit speedy dilation to being very relaxed.

But I identify with what you said OP about the nagging voice, whenever I heard it I pushed it to the back of my mind and reminded myself of all the reasons that HB was better for my baby, me, DH and DC1. The nagging voice is really the negative comments from others, family and strangers I think.

This www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/myth-safer-hospital-birth-low-risk-pregnancies makes interesting reading concerning the 'terrible things that can go wrong' during birth and where they are more likely to happen - home or hosp - and what can be done depending on where you are.

Remember a straightforward birth is normal not lucky.

minipie Wed 12-Sep-12 20:30:47

I think you have to weigh up whether you'd be more relaxed at home, or more relaxed at a hospital where you knew emergency help was immediately to hand

very good point Cake. Hospitals don't make me anxious however not knowing what is happening does. So in that sense I would prefer the one on one attention of a home birth but had hoped I'd get that in an MLU. I'm a bit troubled by Lacking's views on MLUs... I had hoped I'd get pretty much one on one care there (in fact I think the website of mine promises that...)

LackingNameChangeInspiration Wed 12-Sep-12 20:36:33

yeah mine says its 1:1, but all that means is that you have a specific named MW for each shift, NOT that they will be in your room with you for the shift, even if you ask! you still get your bells eventually answered by a HCA who THEN goes to find "your" MW or else you have to send your partner on a hunt, and "your" midwife still covers breaks for other midwives in other rooms/assists them if things are going wrong, answers phones etc

- not very relaxing when you don't want to be left totally alone but also know if you don't send your partner out to get whatever you need you're left with a ringing bell for ages

If I'ld had a home birth I'ld have been transferred to hospital HOURS earlier, so the 15 min ambulance ride from home doesn't sound much to me TBH! Took hours to get a MW to do more than pop her head round the door and tell me how ?all? first labours go before disappearing!

LackingNameChangeInspiration Wed 12-Sep-12 20:40:08

MLUs are basically nice pretty environments to give birth in if you don't really need anything at all and WANT to be left to it

you get much more supervision at home

l3mma Wed 12-Sep-12 21:01:40

I am nearly 22 weeks in my 1st pregnancy and hospital birth has never once crossed my mind, home birth all the way for me smile x

l3mma Wed 12-Sep-12 21:03:35

ps by midwife guidlines if you want a home birth they cant deny you on bmi grounds I spoke at length about this to my mw! x

CrunchyFrog Thu 13-Sep-12 11:39:59

I've had 2 home births, DC 2 and 3, following an horrific hospital birth with DC1.

Because all of the issues with DD were iatrogenic in nature (ie, caused by intervention) I felt far safer at home.

Both were good experiences. I have long pregnancies, DC2 was 12 days beyond due date which was borderline OK (I did start getting grief, but not too much.) DC3 went to 42+3, and I had to write to the hospital declining their offer of induction and stating that I understood the risks. I also had to have a meeting with a doctor, the only one I saw during that pregnancy (apart from while admitted with the 'flu!) which I managed to put off to 42 weeks but was immensely stressful.

The birth itself was wonderful. It was New Year's Eve, so the shift was being covered by two supervisor of midwives, and they were amazing. They helped me to feel so confident, they didn't lay a hand on me without my express informed consent, and in fact barely came near me (a couple of checks on the baby, but barely anything else) until the very end. I knew them beforehand, even though they weren't "my" MW, as I had met with them previously for debriefs and risk assessments.

I have to add, I was not irresponsible, I was fully informed of the risks and benefits of my course of action. It was my experience and opinion that a hospital induction was more risky for my perfectly healthy (demonstrated through scans and regular traces) baby and for me. None of my babies were post-mature, although all were "late." Being post-dates alone is not post-maturity.

In your shoes, I would book a HB, because it is easy to change to a hospital birth, but very tricky to do it the other way around. And inform yourself, get a very good MW on side if you can!

Good luck, whatever you choose. smile

brettgirl2 Thu 13-Sep-12 13:37:55

I had a homebirth with my second. Tbh I think it should be more risky than hospital birth but due to the appalling 'care' in hospital births it isnt.

The biggest difference (round here anyway) is during labour. If you have your baby in hospital you are encouraged to leave it as late as possible before going in, leading to babies born in cars, on the bathroom floor. Or, more commonly women going in fully dilated and nearly ready to push. If you have a homebirth they tell you to be careful and call for the midwife as soon as you think you are going into labour.

Hence the women at home have the care of a midwife while in labour who can pick issues up, those birthing in hospital have little or no care during their labour.

So 10cm dilated you go in with cord round baby's neck, mw checks heart rate and goes pale. If you'd booked a homebirth by that point you would probably be in theatre holding your baby born by emcs. Hospital birth results in blue baby that needs reviving, interestingly the most common reaction is 'isnt it lucky I was in hospital' hmm

As it stands the risks are different, yes if there is an unforeseen problem its better and less risky to be in hospital. The simple fact is with HB they take better care of you.

Also I gave birth during an outbreak of Norovirus confused

Jojoba1986 Mon 17-Sep-12 02:01:38

I had a homebirth with DS & plan to have another sometime! I wouldn't recommend the mw I had though who told me v harshly 'this baby might not come out alive' when I was on the verge of wanting to push... She ended up calling an ambulance seemingly because she was being stroppy with us! Basically she wanted to be monitoring me & baby more than I was comfortably able to let her! She kept asking me to change position so she could check things but by this point I couldn't really tell where one contraction ended & the next started!
In the end DS was born perfectly healthy with the paramedics on the landing! He was fine but I had a bad 2nd degree tear & hemorrhaged so I needed the ambulance!
I'd still choose a homebirth when possible, but I wouldn't let that midwife through the door! The student she brought with her was fab though! She can come back! :-)

(FYI, even if you plan a hospital birth, you might not get it! A friend of mine has ridiculously fast labours & went into labour at rush hour so stayed home despite being 20mins away from hosp without traffic. The midwife had barely arrived when baby appeared!)

Aspiemum2 Mon 17-Sep-12 02:16:00

I have always wanted a home birth, first two babies my partner at the time wouldn't let me angry
Last pregnancy and my husband was as keen as me when I found out I was pregnant, went for my booking in appt and midwife agreed to it. Went for my 1st scan and got told it was twins!

So ended up in hospital but really didn't need to as while thing was over in a little over 4 hrs!

I'll always regret not having a home birth but I would be cautious if previous labours have been problematic. I am lucky to labour easily but I would probably opt for hospital if I was at all concerned

Midgetm Mon 17-Sep-12 07:14:25

I would choose a HB but not allowed one. My hospital experience was awful. Despite being induced as a high risk pregnancy I was left on my own due to other emergencies and midwife shortages. This can happen anywhere but is so much less likely to happen at home. I would rather be calm at home, than scared in hospital and having 1:1 care would personally make me calm. Unfortunately neither drs or midwives will allow it this time because of my last experience so I need to face my fears and trust it won't be messed up again. Thing is, as long as my baby is healthy I don't care how it comes out but my choice would be HB.

SoozleQ Mon 17-Sep-12 13:59:04

Midgetm - they cannot not allow it. They can strongly advise against homebirth, try and persuade you otherwise and generally make it difficult for you but they have a legal obligation to provide you with midwife care and support you in a homebirth if it is what you chose to do having taken on board their advice re risks.

I have booked a home birth VBAC which they are not particularly happy about because I honestly believe, as you do, that I will be paid more attention at home rather than just being left in a room as I was in hospital last time.

Midgetm Mon 17-Sep-12 22:18:04

Soozle Perhaps allow is a strong word but they have both said it would put me and the baby at risk. The midwives have made it clear they don't even want me in the MLU. So DH would go fruit loop. I am going to bring it up again this week and ask lots of irritating questions. I feel happy that I could transfer into hospital if anything wrong with me, just need to know there is additional risk to the baby. I wouldn't do anything that increased his risk. Last birth I had PET, IUGR, PPH. This time round I seem fit as a fiddle touch wood so I feel it should be approached differently. Thanks though, you are right. Nobody can disallow me so I need to get a better discussion and a real understanding of the risks. I am woman, hear me roar!

jem1990 Sun 23-Sep-12 19:43:52

Ive got 3 children....had one at a birthing centre after visiting the big mat hospital and it didnt feel right (wasnt offered home birth)....next 2 at home AMAZING! your not ill when you have a baby there is only something that is right with you! go with you intution as its always right x

SoYo Sun 23-Sep-12 20:50:07

Read the recent place of birth study and make a balanced decisions based on what risks are acceptable to you, not everyone else's opinions. Everything carries risk and I could never have a home birth but that's because I work in obstetrics and only see the high risk stuff and when things go wrong so have very skewed opinions and a high level of paranoia but you've had a previous vaginal delivery so have an excellent chance of low risk normal delivery & although rare things can happen and babies can get into trouble they are luckily just as described, rare. Good luck with it all! X

HowToChangeThis Sun 23-Sep-12 21:10:11

I'm having a home birth this time because last I had a placental haemmorage, went to hospital, got stuck in a room being monitored while they debated sending me home or putting me on antenatal. They insisted it was cervical erosion causing the bleed, it was actually a ruptured sucenturiate lobe. Came back 2 hours later to find me contracting, decided not to send me home. My waters went, we pressed the call button and DH went to find a midwife twice. Half an hour later I delivered dd with my mum and DH there, just as my midwife turned up and then turned her back to me to glove up. They sent me home 2 hours later and "lost" my notes. I also had diabetes.

This time I don't have diabetes and would quite like a midwife to be present during my birth so I'm staying at home.

Hospitals are not always safer, if I turn up in an ambulance they can't stick me at the end of a corridor and ignore me. I got absolutely nothing out of being in hospital and I was very lucky dd arrived swiftly before the placental bleed affected her. They werent particularly busy that day, there were lots of empty delivery rooms, they just couldnt be bothered and didn't believe me.

Brendansmummy Mon 24-Sep-12 23:21:10

You havent said how much you weighed to start? im a big mummy bmi 38, sailed through my pregnancy (my first) even though all the doctors and midwives said id have lots of problems. i chose to have a homebirth, it was best decision i made 1hour labour 19 minutes pushing, only gas and air and my 8pound 11oz son was born on my kitchen floor. I personally strongly recomend homebirths as your in your own enviroment can do as you please, and overall are more calm and relaxed. BUT at the end of the day you have to do what pleases you, good look x

Mrscalminmadworld Wed 26-Sep-12 15:23:41

I had a very good experience in hospital with my 1st, no problems and born normally after a few hours of labour.
However I am planning a homebirth for my 2nd (now 14w) for many of the reasons already stated, but mainly:
1. All I wanted to do was walk about during the contractions, which I found much harder squeezed round a hospital bed, I coped much better at home where I could do 'laps' of the house!
2. The thought of getting into my own shower and bed afterwards, with no other screaming babies/visitors/well meaning Bounty lady getting me to fill out a questionnaire even when I'd been up all night and was clearly trying to sleep etc is extremely appealing.
3. I think it will be a better and more positive experience for DS to meet his new sibling in a home environment, rather than taking him to big scary hospital with loads of machines. Plus he can come and see me at more regular intervals than if I was stuck to visitor hours.
4. I know it's trivial but access to my own snacks and tea and coffee will be welcome!
5. DH will feel like he's more involved and useful in his own house, helping keep pool temp warm etc.

My nan had all of her 4 children at home, its only recently we've become more 'medicalised' and gone down the hospital route as a default. God bless modern medicine of course but birth is a normal process, you're not ill, and if you're low risk then there's no reason why you shouldnt give it a go.

Anyway that's my tuppence worth! I'm not against hospitals as mine were great but I want to do what I feel is best for my labour and baby.

Good luck HB ladies!

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