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To home birth or not to home birth?? Experiences pls!!

(145 Posts)
Nicky1306 Thu 17-Jan-13 15:01:34

Arghhhhh! I'm soooo confused! This baby has been breach since 24 weeks......had pretty much accepted I'd be having a section...... Find out yesterday at 36 weeks baby is head down and 4/5ths engaged! Which means I can have the home birth I wanted......but now I don't know what I want, did you have a home birth ? How was it? Would you do it again? What was great about it? What was not so great? Thanks x x

pootlebug Thu 17-Jan-13 15:08:18

Hospital birth with my first. Home birth with my 2nd and 3rd - both born in birthpool in my living room.

I decided to have a home birth with my 2nd at about 35 weeks pregnant. And obviously liked it enough to do it again.

- Can get straight in your own shower and own bed after
- Feeling more in charge in your own environment
- 1 to 1 attention (and 2-to-1 at the end) from the midwife all the way through
- Guaranteed to have a worries over whether the hospital pool will be available

- I wouldn't do it if I had significant risk factors against it. But after one pretty straightforward birth (albeit with a long-ish labour) and no complications in subsequent pregnancies, I felt no reason why not.

nickelbabe Thu 17-Jan-13 15:19:15

i did.

would do it again (and will if they let me - I had a PPH.)

I loved most the fact that it was in my own surroundings, I could pretty much do anything I wanted, eat anything I wanted, go anywhere I wanted, be in any position I wanted, all the way through labour.

and even though I packed my bag, if i changed my mind about anything, I had the option of it grin

I had to transfer to hospital immediately afterwards to be stitched up, and I wouldn't have done that journey in full labour! shock

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 17-Jan-13 15:26:31

i had first DC in hospital (wasnt very nice)

i had second DC at home (was lovely!)

at home i was much more relaxed, laboured quickly and by the time i called midwife i was 7cm - didnt need pain relief as felt very relaxed and comfortable, after the birth midwives went and made tea and toast while DH and i spent a time alone with DD, i went and had a lovely bath in my own bath while they helped DH change into clean bed sheets and then i climbed back into my own lovely bed with DD in a moses basket at the side of me.
it was lovely. i snoozed the day away in my own bed in lovely peace and quiet.

i would recommend home birth to anyone if no complications. it was a much much nicer experience.

MrsHowardRoark Thu 17-Jan-13 15:37:27

I had my DD at home and she was (is) my first.

I have nothing to compare it to but I found the whole experience a positive one.

I had a pool set up in the kitchen and I was able to get in and out and wander around as I wanted. The midwives were fantastic and having their undivided attention was really great.

My labour was 24 hours with 2 hours of pushing, so it wasn't easy but I managed it without pain relief. I think this was because the midwife was able to talk me through each contraction.

My DP was also able to be totally involved and he helped with the delivery.

It was very messy and we ended up throwing away a lot of bedding and towels but I'd be more prepared next time.

You can always prepare for a home birth and transfer if it isn't for you.

Good luck.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 17-Jan-13 15:43:15

Is it your first?

You know you don't have to decide at all. Book in for a homebirth and plan to 'start at home' with the 'finishing at home' left open.

Once we stop making homebirths a big deal or a huge choice that actually, it isn't, it will become more of a mainstream option imo.

MoonHare Thu 17-Jan-13 15:56:03

Two very positive experiences of home birth here. DC1 born in hospital and it was fine, still positive but I knew it was not the way I wanted to do it in future.

DC2 and 3 born at home. Both relaxed, calm, really lovely experiences. Still hard work but completely stress free.

I echo what starlight says, plan for a home birth but still pack a bag for hospital - you'll need the stuff in it anyway and it might as well all be in one place. There's always the option to go in if you want to.

Best wishes for everything.

BourbonsandTea Thu 17-Jan-13 16:30:43

I had my first at home and will plan to have any future babies at home too.

Pros -
*You can make your home as clean as you want no need to worry about MRSA, noro-virus, anything that might be carried around hospital or birthing unit
*Stress levels are likely to be lower when you are in your own environment meaning you are likely to have a higher pain threshold/feels less pain. (i'm sure there is a better explanation for that somewhere)
*For this reason, and the fact that it is not available there, you are less likely to want an epidural. I think at some points in labour you would take anything to make the pain stop for a little bit even if it is something you would regret/rather not have had. - one intervention often leads on to another.
* You often have all the 'tools'/ space at home to effectively active birth. Stairs, hallways, clean carpeted floor spaces, chairs, tables and beds to lean on. Bath or shower to dip in an out of at will. Your own toilet.
*Your OH will feel more confident in their own environment and can feel important setting up the birth pool/ grabbing things you need/ helping you around/ rubbing your back (without feeling like he has to answer to someone in a uniform first).
* OH doesn't get sent away shortly after birth of baby if outside of visiting hours
* You can definitely have a birth pool (no having to rely on a quiet day at the birthing unit)
*You can curl up in your own bed after or on your own sofa
*You can have as many visitors as you like at whatever time is best for you
* Two midwives come to you with gas and air when you are established then they stay with you right up until it's all finished and you are all clean and comfy - Mine were great they were right there the whole time but not invasive - they left me to it which is what I wanted.
* In a hospital or birthing unit Midwives may be dealing with more than one person each so in terms of things going wrong it is likely to be spotted sooner at home. If its an emergency they ring ahead and theatre would be set up waiting for your arrival. It could be quicker to travel from home to operating theatre with a midwife supervising you than from hospital room to theatre with midwife in another room. (That sounds a bit scary and I obviously have no experience of this myself.)
* I could go on, and on, and on.. grin

Cons - I don't remember any is a fantastic resource with lots of lovely positive stories (from fathers too), and helpful information.

I also agree with what starlight and MrsHoward say. You could have an open mind about where you end up. Start with the plan to home birth, have a hospital bag prepared, and move on to hospital if that feels right at the time.

Good Luck and I hope that whether you decide to stay home or feel more comfortable in hospital that you have the birth you want and a happy healthy baby too!

nickelbabe Thu 17-Jan-13 16:44:27

Bourbons is right about germs - but even if you don't do a huge clean up, you're less likely to get infections because your body is used to your germs smile

squidkid Thu 17-Jan-13 17:44:18

I had my first baby at home. It was long and tough (30 hours) ... but I think it would have been longer and perhaps gone down the intervention line in hospital. In the end my lovely baby was born completely naturally in my own home without any tears or stitches, midwives were gone in 2 hours, I was showered, fed real food and in my own bed half an hour after that. It was lovely.

I think if it had been shorter I wouldn't have struggled, but I did find it hard and painful. I stayed active and felt safe and looked after. The midwives were fantastic and it was reassuring that they didn't (couldn't) go anywhere. They were very unobtrusive though and it was very much led by me and how I wanted things to go. I certainly felt independent and listened to. I felt very relaxed and stressfree in the early stages. I got to 7cm before I felt the need to call them out, though I was on the phone to them before then to inform them my waters had broken, etc. It was nice not having to make the decision of when to go to hospital.

My boyfriend is a huge fan of homebirths now after initially being dubious, I think because he got to help and be involved more than he might have in hospital. He is a bigger fan than me - I still wonder if a nice painfree epidural labour might have been better!!! grin

No real regrets and will do it again for the second if we have a second (baby is only 15 weeks).

I think the main downside is the possibility of transferring whilst in full blown labour, that must be tough.

higgle Fri 18-Jan-13 14:40:01

I had my first in a (now closed) London hospital that specialised in natural childbirth. They said there was no reason I shouldn't have next baby at home so I hired a birth pool and got on with it.

It was one of teh best days of my life, I'm sure. A short comfortable labour, DS2 arrived ( with his older brother unexpectedly present) after about 3 hours. Back to my own bed, DH did a cooked breakfast and we got up in the afternoon and enjoyed a lovely afternoon together before I made dinner, because I wanted to.

I did decide against a home birth first time around because I was worried about an emergency transfer and then not being able to have a HB the next time. The only disadvantage was that my GP refused to attend in case I sued him. I'm not sure that was a disadvantage as the two lovely midwives who came along managed perfectly well on their own.

On both occasions I had a strong urge to take all my clothes off and be naked in labour, which seemed to be exactly what they expected at the private hospital and up to me at home. Not sure it would have been so easy at an NHS hospital.

TheYamiOfYawn Fri 18-Jan-13 14:50:54

I had both my babies at home. For me it was much better than hospital - midwives with me the whole time, freedom to move around as I wanted to, no hospital smallest or noises to distract me, able to get stuff I wanted from around the house when I wanted it, got to spend our first night all together rather than DP being sent home, a bath in my own bathroom afterwards, with the food I wanted, no uncomfortable journey home.

I think that women tend to get better care at home, because the midwife only has one woman to look after.

SanityClause Fri 18-Jan-13 14:53:38

I had DD1 in hospital - labour was induced and I hated the whole experience.

I elected for a home birth for DD2 and had to be taken to hospital during labour (ambulance, but no blue lights etc.) This was a much better experience. I had a pool at home, but didn't really get on with it. It felt cold, even though it is at body temperature. But I had a lovely midwife in the hospital that time (the community midwives left after their shift, as labour wasn't too far advanced), and she made all the difference.

I elected for a home birth again for DS, and finally managed to do it. It was lovely. My waters broke just as DD1 and 2 were going to bed. I used my own bath while in labour, but got out after a while. I gave birth to DS in my bathroom, after a four hour labour. I had a student midwife. She did all the work, but there was a qualified midwife overseeing her work. Most of the appointments were at home, as well, as my house fitted into the midwife's regular journeys.

If you can, I think you should go for it!

Hooleywhipper Fri 18-Jan-13 15:04:58

Home birth without a second thought. 1st DS born in hospital car park 2nd DD born at home, very comfortably and quickly. So much more relaxing and calming. Best of luck

Flisspaps Fri 18-Jan-13 15:13:57

nickel - less of that 'let' word please wink

I had a rough (hospital induction) birth with DD. Ended up with forceps, 3a tear, manual placenta removal and PPH. Bloody awful experience.

I planned a homebirth for DS 'against medical advice' (but the Supervisor of Midwives met me and we went through various documents to see what I was and wasn't happy with care-wise, and I was always happy to transfer in if it was thought necessary)

As it happened, I did transfer in after several hours of pushing with no sign of the bugger appearing (BIG baby - 11lb 7oz - who they suspected was transverse at one point) but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Even the transfer itself in an ambulance was fine. Again, he was a forceps birth with a PPH. If I were to have a third, then I'd consider a homebirth again unless there was an issue in that particular pregnancy that meant hospital was safer for the baby immediately after birth.

If you're unsure, then you can always decide to go to the MLU/CLU on the day. Have a look at the homebirth website too -, and join the homebirth group on Yahoo. Both very helpful.

NaturalBaby Fri 18-Jan-13 15:19:16

I had 3 home births and they were perfect. We don't live far from the hospital so that helped my worries about transfering, and I really wanted a water birth so bought a pool to use at home.
The mw's sat in the corner and didn't do anything, afterwards I got to use my own bathroom and get straight into my own bed.

Phineyj Fri 18-Jan-13 15:22:25

I ended up transferring to hospital in the end but the home part was fine for all the reasons given above. Getting an ambulance to come out on Xmas day proved to be beyond the NHS though so my DH had to drive, but at least our lovely midwife was with us.

nickelbabe Fri 18-Jan-13 15:25:52

Fliss - i promise the "let" was firmly tongue-in-cheek

for those in any doubt, the medical staff can advise you and can give you options, but they cannot make the decision for you.

Fairypants Fri 18-Jan-13 15:40:25

Dd1 was born in hospital just because I didn't really know how I would cope. Dd2 was a home birth and I'm glad. Would agree with all the comments here about more relaxed and Delhi had more choice etc. the only comments I would add are:
My childcare fell through when if came to it. DH would have missed the whole thing if I was in hospital, also, he managed to grab dd1 between actual birth and cord cutting so she felt she was there when her sister was born but didn't have to watch the labour.
On a (slightly) negative note, having midwives in our home triggered dh's 'looking after guests' behaviour which really pi$$ed me off when he was busy making them breakfast and they were busy eating breakfast and I was on labour in the corner on my own!!! (Grrr).
I'd do it again (and hope to, given the chance.) I just didn't feel unwell at all which is how it should be.

Startail Fri 18-Jan-13 16:00:38

DD2 was born at home.

Pros - Everything

Cons - Non

I could wax lyrical about how beautiful it was to be in my own space, own bed, own bath and have DD1 walk in and meet her sister at 3 minutes old.

I could tell you how much less painful and less frightening labour was being able to move about without other peoples children looking at you.

I could say it was still a bit scary pushing her out and it would have been nice if she'd left gaps between contractions.

I could tell you how much easier BFing is with no one breathing down your neck checking if the babies eaten.

I could tell you about the magic picnic lunch with DH, DD1 and DD2 in our bed when she was 6hrs old.

But I don't need to, if a home birth is for you, you'll know.

clickingtock Fri 18-Jan-13 16:02:26

Good news about baby's position change!

i would say go for it. First and second birth at home, here, fantastic experiences and the NHS are fab about it. Much more relaxed than I imagine hospital would be but don't have that experience to compare.

My dd was born at home 12 days ago and is the picture of health. And I'm 41 now. The birth was about 3.5 hours. I also put it down to hypno birthing which I highly recommend if you want to stay at home and avoid pain control drugs.

Good luck whatever your decision. The main thing is to have a safe and healthy baby, so if you don't get the birth you hoped for don't beat yourself up. thanks

Ahhhcantthinkofagoodname Fri 18-Jan-13 21:51:00

Is it your first baby? I ask cos I think it's so unpredictable how labour pains will feel, some people are fine with no pain relief or just gas and air and some really need more pain relief.

My first baby was delivered by DH in the bathroom an hour or so after being sent home from birth centre and I had a home birth for my second. Because I knew I could just about cope without pain relief and because I liked the idea of being in my home (and because I was worried I'd make it to hosp on time!) I went for the home birth option. It was great to have he undivided attention of two lovely midwives, they said they really liked doing home births too. Afterwards I lay back on my sofa while they stiched me up (much nicer than my previous experience when I was taken to hospital after giving birth in the bathroom!). Then we had all our nice food t hand and I could bf DD lying down in our double bed, again much nicer than attempting to bf DS in a uncomfortable hospital bed.

I guess I would say go for it if it's not your first and you have some idea what it will be like for you or if you are very confident about the whoe thing!

DoItToJulia Fri 18-Jan-13 22:03:36

I have had both.

Ds1was home born (his expression!!). It was bliss. The very best bit was that DH didn't get sent home so we had a huge cuddle, our first ever as a family, until we couldn't keep our eyes open any longer.

The second was a hospital birth because I was induced. The plan was for a home birth and I was gutted. However, the birth itself was fine, and has made me feel ambivalent about where I would give birth in future. The very worst bit was that DH was sent home. I hated hated hated that. I missed my family.

My advice would be to do what feels the most comfortable for you. Good luck OP!

Flisspaps Fri 18-Jan-13 22:05:14

Ahhh but every labour's different - my first one I had an epidural. Second I had the pool and g&a. Coping with pain in one labour (or not) without certain drugs isn't an indicator of how you'll feel in subsequent labours.

It's ok to start at home and transfer in if you do want something stronger smile

mrsbugsywugsy Fri 18-Jan-13 23:10:49

I was booked for a homebirth but ended up in hospital as dd was born slightly premature.

The birth itself was OK but I really hated being in hospital for the reasons other posters have said. Also I was transferred between hospitals so I still had an ambulance ride mid labour.

I needed forceps in the end but it wasn't an emergency and would rather have laboured at home and transferred in at the end.

Next time (if there is a next time grin) I would definitely try again for a homebirth.

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