Advanced search

Got questions about giving birth? Know what to expect and when to expect it, with the Mumsnet Pregnancy Calendar.

Home birth - do or don't?

(30 Posts)
MelCGox Thu 20-Sep-12 21:29:24

Hi ladies,
I am in the early days of my first pregnancy and I'm considering home birth. I was wondering if anyone has any tips/ideas how to approach this with partner/midwives/docs/friends+family?!
I would love to hear your stories if you decided to go for home birth and what your experiences were like!!
Thanks, Mel x

MoonHare Thu 20-Sep-12 22:36:58


Had a wonderful home birth with DC2. Calm, relaxed, stress free.

Deep down I knew I always wanted a home birth but tbh first time around I didn't have the confidence. Although I was prepared for birth and am a naturally stoic person I wasn't certain how I would react or cope with the pain. So, DC1 was a hospital birth. It was straightforward and not at all traumatic, I coped well and used just a TENS for the pain. This then gave me the confidence second time around to plan a home birth from the start.

I do know someone who had a successful home birth first time around though. I expect you'll get people suggesting a hospital birth first time - just in case. Looking back I know DC1 would have also been a successful home birth and although giving birth was a positive experience first time around it would have been soooo much nicer to be at home.

The difference for me is that with home birth there's no stress around - is it time to go to hospital yet??? You are never left alone (or just with DP) while labouring and expected to just get on with it. And once the baby arrives you can cuddle up together in your own bed and DP never has to leave you because visiting hours are over.

Talk to your midwife, inform yourself as much as you can. Share this information with partner, family and friends - they are likely to feel sceptical. There's a very good website about home birth in the UK. Someone will be along with the link I expect!

Many first time mothers transfer into hospital despite having planned a home birth but this is usually for pain relief not because anything terrible has happened. So if you decide to go ahead and plan for a home birth then spend time thinking about and preparing for how you'll cope with labour pain. JuJu Sundin's "Birth Skills" is excellent.

Best wishes with everything.

RedKites Thu 20-Sep-12 22:41:10

I had a home birth with my DS and am currently planning one for DC2. A really good source of information is - lots of information and many birth stories. Definitely worth discussing with midwife, partner and anyone else you want to, and remember if you book to have a home birth you can change your mind at any point (including when you've gone into labour), but if you book to have your baby in hospital, it's not so easy to change your mind the other way.

dabdab Thu 20-Sep-12 22:47:07

I would recommend it to anyone that has a straightforward pregnancy and is relatively close to a hospital. I think it is important to give birth where you feel most comfortable so your body can relax and get on with the process. For me that was at home for my 3 dc and they were all fantastic experiences. I had excellent care (at least 2 midwives for each birth), and lovely lovely to be able to be in our own bed with dh and newly arrived dear baby, I was lucky.
Do lots of research and share this with your dh / family / midwife if necessary. Once you have done that and made your decision, it will be easier to speak with others about it. I do think it is good to keep an open mind too, and still tour the local hospital as part of your research, so you can know what each scenario might include. Best of luck.

MelCGox Fri 21-Sep-12 07:16:28

Thank you so much for your messages....luckily that what exactly what I was hoping to hear (rather then "it was a complete disaster" lol!).

Homebird8 Fri 21-Sep-12 07:29:00

I had DS1 and 2 at home and would recommend it. Calm, midwife attention as necessary, your own bed and own choice of people around, and all the pain relief options open to you except an epidural. I had a pool at home although I never managed to get into it because I wouldn't get out of the bath first time and because I didn't think I needed it yet second time, gas and air, meptid in the cupboard prescribed in advance for administration by the midwife if I wanted it (I didn't either time), TENS machine borrowed from the hospital, my own bean bag and birthing ball, my own choice of food during and after, what more can I say?

milk Fri 21-Sep-12 07:46:28

I say when it comes to labour, it is best to keep all your options open smile Wait and see what kind of a pregnancy you have, and then make a decision.

From day one of pregnancy with DS1 I wanted to give birth at a MLU. However, due to a complicated pregnancy my plans had to change and I gave birth in a hospital.

fuckbadger Fri 21-Sep-12 08:27:26

Another vote for homebirth here! I had dc1 in hospital and dc2 at home, dc2's birth was so much calmer!

Bunbaker Fri 21-Sep-12 08:40:56

Just bear in mind that a hospital birth doesn't have to be stressful. I didn't even consider a home birth because I had a high risk pregnancy and didn't live near enough to a hospital. In the end I had a straightforward, easy labour in hospital and was extremely well looked after.

TerrariaMum Fri 21-Sep-12 08:51:18

I had a homebirth with my first and it was wonderful. I walked all over the house and leaned on the stairs and got in the bath and it was good for DH too. DD was born in just under 12 hours so if you have a straightforward pregnancy and prefer your home, then go for it. As Bunbaker says, though, hospital births can be fine if that's where you feel safer. That's the important thing for me; arrange to give birth where you feel most comfortable wherever that may be.

terrywoganstrousers Fri 21-Sep-12 08:52:42

I'm planning a home birth with Dc2 due in
December, but not sure I would have been confident enough to do it with my first. I guess it depends on your pregnancy, how close you are to the hospital, etc etc.
Now I've started typing I can't go back to check the op but did you mention if your midwives are happy for you to go ahead? Because I think that's probably half the battle there- if the midwives aren't confident they are less likely to support you in your decision.

Badgerina Fri 21-Sep-12 09:00:47

I'm also planning a home birth for DS2 (imminently!!!! grin )

With hindsight I could have had one for DS1. Several midwives actually mentioned it during my antenatal care with him. It was a very trouble-free pregnancy and we were both healthy.

For my first birth I felt happier in the MLU though, and was very satisfied with my care and with the birth smile

The bottom line for childbirth, is where YOU feel happiest and most comfortable.

If you feel drawn to home birth, you live close to the hospital, and all is going well with your pregnancy, I'm sure it would be the best option for you.

Talk to your midwives and see what they say. I agree with PP who say its important to get their support. A doula could help too.

One last thing: remain open minded. Transfer to hospital (non-emergency) is very common in first time mums. No biggie, just good to bear in mind.

littlepiggie Fri 21-Sep-12 09:01:13

Ds was a hospital birth, dd (2nd) at home, now pg with dc3, and planning another home birth. I found it much calmer, less painful, I wouldn't have changed a thing.

mummysmellsofsick Fri 21-Sep-12 09:03:03

I had one and it was fine. I don't like hospitals so for me it was the place I felt safest. I didn't find the pain too bad (had tens and a pool) midwife did some lower back massage and basically sat and left me to it until the end, when she gave clear instructions to help minimise tearing (I had a couple of grazes). DH got to hold DS for the first hour of his life while I delivered the placenta and was cleaned up, then we all had toast and sweet tea.

All of this could have happened as smoothly in a hospital but I don't think it would have because of the stress of the journey and answering questions, being examined etc... I wasn't examined once, didn't have to say anything, just went right into myself and that helped me cope with the intensity of it all.

Badgerina Fri 21-Sep-12 09:09:52

I agree with mummysmellsofsick It's the transfer in the car, and booking in questions that I hated about hospital - my contractions slowed right down due to the stress.

I know some women have unfortunate post natal experiences too. I had my own room last time, do that bit was fine for me, but that was pure luck.

CityDweller Fri 21-Sep-12 09:14:47

I'm planning a homebirth for first baby next year (am 12wks). I just told mw that was my wish at booking in apt (mostly to check I was in hospital catchment area for homebirth), she said fine. I've planted seed w/ dh, who was a bit surprised at the suggestion (mostly cos we live in tiny flat), but seems ok with it. I'm not particularly planning on discussing it in detail with the rest of the world as I'm sure some friends will think I'm mad or irresponsible or some other nonsense. But, so far pregnancy is uncomplicated and I trust my body to do what it needs to do (without being stubborn about it - I'll accept a transfer to hospital at even the first serious whiff of trouble).

WeatherWitch Fri 21-Sep-12 09:16:30

I absolutely, utterly hate hospitals and the only viable option for us is 45 minutes away and pretty dire (high neonatal mortality and v low natural birth rate) so I had always been adamant I wanted a home birth. That was until talking to friends who'd done it and some of the stories (blood up the walls, ruined mattresses and carpets, disposing of the contents of the birthing pool afterwards which is technically several hundred litres of clinical waste) put me off. Especially as we're in a rented house! Reading this though I'm thinking about it again for my first - but then the local MW-led unit is only 10 minutes up the road and is absolutely lovely with a huge birthing pool, and I think the MW is pushing me in that direction. Would I be better off there than at home for a first one?

mummysmellsofsick Fri 21-Sep-12 09:21:50

Yes badgerina I don't actually know anyone who didn't have bad experiences on the post natal wards. One of my friends has PTSD as a direct result of how she was treated. Things can and do go wrong as a result of being in hospital as well as as a result of being at home. Hospitals are very good at keeping mother & baby alive in higher risk situations but sometimes they aren't all that careful about how they do it, and I am convinced that a huge percentage of interventions are unnecessary and counterproductive.

I think if you want a home birth you should book it, but not set your heart on it, keep an open mind, and what I did was try to 'feel out' as I went along, where I wanted to be. You can transfer to hospital at almost any point. If the baby is head down and front to back and if you aren't prone to panicking then being at home could well be the best place. Hope it goes well whatever you decide!

AntsMarching Fri 21-Sep-12 09:24:16

Birth aside, I found the support in hospital for breast feeding dd2 very very good. I had successfully breasted dd1 for 18 months, so had not expected to have any problems second time round. My advice would be to discuss aftercare up front so that you have a plan of action should you need extra support for something like breast feeding.

Yorky Fri 21-Sep-12 09:29:01

I am very biassed.
I have had 4 home water births and genuinely regret that I won't be giving birth again, although I know we are maxed with 4 kids under 6. I can talk for days about my births, takes nearly as long as they took originally

I was surprised how supportive my MW was when I mentioned it to her quite early on - as long as your BP etc behave then she saw no reason why not.

It is much easier to plan a hb and choose to transfer in than it is to have a spur of the moment hb

mummybare Fri 21-Sep-12 09:29:53

I thought long and hard about a home birth, but ended up going the hospital route. In some ways, I'm glad I did, but for reasons totally unrelated to the birth. I had some trouble breastfeeding at first and we stayed in hospital for an extra day to help get it established. I'm not sure I would have been able to do it without that level of support.

However, I think the 'birth experience' would probably have been 'better' at home. I was hoping for a water birth, but the pool was in use when we got to the ward (something I was told NEVER happens - grrr!). But I did have a perfectly straightforward, active birth with only gas and air, so I can't really complain.

Only you know what is best for you - there are pros and cons for both, and not always the obvious ones, so it's worth thinking it through. Bear in mind, also, that if you plan a home birth you can transfer to hospital at any time if you change your mind; it is not as easy to change your mind at the last minute if you're booked in for a hospital birth!

Best of luck with everything whatever you decide. smile

mummysmellsofsick Fri 21-Sep-12 09:30:36

Also, this may be controversial, but even though I obviously wanted my DS to be born safely first and foremost, I did want to choose what I felt was the safest place for me, I wanted to avoid knives, drugs and scissors, and as it was me doing the giving birth I decided it would be me who made the decision, and would bear the responsibility of that. So even though DH's family were all aghast, I had a very strong feeling that as I am a person and not breeding stock, I would do the thing my own way.

crazypaving Fri 21-Sep-12 10:57:37

I had an unplanned homebirth with my first, which was terrifying - not recommended!

What I'd say is, book the homebirth, because it's easy to change your mind later on and opt for a hospital birth last minute - but you can't book a hospital birth and then change your mind last minute for a homebirth.

I'm 37wks with DC2 and am planning a homebirth this time. My decision was confirmed in my mind when I had to go into hospital for some monitoring on Sunday night and had a horrible experience. At home, you're in your own environment, relaxed and in control. It's hard to relax in a medical, alien environment IMO.

And studies have shown the risks to be pretty much the same for uncomplicated pregnancies between home/hospital. Go for it!

Flobbadobs Fri 21-Sep-12 12:39:22

I would recommend a homebirth but be aware that you may need to go into hospital. My hb was lovely, i had 2 midwives all to myself, in my own home no more mess than there would have been at the hospital (plastic dustsheets from b&q are a must have) and relaxed on my own sofa afterwards with a cup of coffee and a paracetamol or two. It was easily the best delivery of the 3 that I've had.

Bunbaker Fri 21-Sep-12 14:02:00

"Birth aside, I found the support in hospital for breast feeding dd2 very very good. I had successfully breasted dd1 for 18 months, so had not expected to have any problems second time round. My advice would be to discuss aftercare up front so that you have a plan of action should you need extra support for something like breast feeding."

Yes. I totally agree. If DD had been born at home she would have been on a bottle within 24 hours as she just would not latch on. Her blood sugar plummeted and she went very drowsy because she just would not feed. I expressed some colustrum and they gave it to her in a tiny cup. They also had to give her some formula as well. It took several days for me to establish successful breastfeeding and I would not have been able to do that at home without a midwife being on call 24/7 to help with the latch.

I have to say that the hospital where DD was born was excellent - from ante natal care, through labour to post natal care. The breast feeding support was brilliant.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: