Scared of home birth(17 Posts)
I am 35 weeks pregnant with DC2. I really want a home birth this time, as I found being at hospital for DC1 very stressful.
The birth itself was very straightforward. It was quick (waters broke at 10pm, non stop contractions by 1am, DS born 3am) and the pain was manageable. However the midwife was very unsympathetic, I was left alone afterwards, no bf help, broken bed etc and generally I felt totally unsupported.
So this time I really want a home birth.
However DH is dead against because he is scared about what happens if something goes wrong. And to be honest I am nervous about that too. We live in central London so could transfer in quickly, but if an emergency does arise clearly it would be safer to be in hospital already. A friend lost her baby in labour last year (in hospital), so I know that things can and do wrong in all settings.
But if the worst happened at home I would never forgive myself for "taking a chance". On the other hand rationally I know the risk is tiny given this is my second and it has been a very uncomplicated pregnancy.
Any other home birthers who overcame their fears, and if so, how did you do it???
I'm considering a home birth too and have been foing some reading. According to the NHS website for your second baby statistically a home birth poses no greater threat to your naby than a hospital birth.
Perhaps see if your DH can go to your next midwife appointment and discuss it with her together?
The only reason I'm not homebirthing is that we have a dog. I may still consider it if we can get a very reliable dog sitter.
My midwife said if I wanted to I could put myself down for a homebirth and see how I felt as it happens. I could change my mind at any time and the midwifes wouldn't be put out if a homebirth had been planned for but on the day I felt I wanted to be in the MLU/CLU.
Would this be an option for you? Prepare for a homebirth and see how you all feel on the day? Anec-data says you'll labour better where you feel happiest.
Dh needs to go and do his research.
He should be supporting you not making you feel scared.
There are plenty of risks of a hospital birth (infections for one) that you are avoiding by having a hb.
At my homebirths I had great one 2 one care. I was carefully and constantly watched by my mw and knew I could transfer at any point. I had a pool for my 2nd baby and didn't need any other pain relief despite a quick labour of around 4 hours.
As a pp says, statistically a home birth is safer for low risk 2nd births. The place of birth study was huge too, not a small sample by any means.
I would suggest you both have a look at homebirth.org.uk and talk it over with your mw.
Might be worth reading Ina Mae's Guide to Childbirth and some of Michel Odent (leading obstetrician, developed water birthing, has been v influential in moving th UK towards (somewhat) less medicalised births).
Also ask your midwife about transfer etc. as I understsnd it homebirthers go straight to the top of the a,balance list if they need to be brought in. Transfer into c sec, etc can be faster than in hospital. And you get the advantage of one on one care through your labour. Still don't get to know / choose your midwife though. For this reason I'll have a private midwife next time.
My mother lost her first baby (misread monitoring hospital birth) so I know what it's like to have a story near you like that.
Went to hospital with a doula for my first and regretted it:, hospital slowed down and disturbed my labour, which had been progressing really well at home, multiple times. Lead to v long second stage,syntocin and a ventouse delivery, I really wish I'd had a home birth that time.
I was very scared when I was making the decision but once I had made the decision I seemed to stop worrying.
I had a fairly straightforward birth with dd1 in hospital but didn't feel it was positive as the midwives were unsupportive, didn't listen to me and refused pain relief for hours because I was 'only 3.5 cm' with a back to back baby.
I was very lucky that my home birth was textbook but I was so relaxed and calm that I think that helped. The midwives were a bit useless again at times but tbh they weren't really there that long lol and because I was in my own environment I was much more assertive with them and so was hubby.
I was 15 mins away from the hospital and did a lot of research into what would happen if I needed to transfer etc. the only thing that came up for me as being higher risk with a poorer outcome at home was a cord prolapse so I had a late scan to check cord position and baby's position.
I also agreed with hubby that if waters went before contractions then I would go to hospital as that can increase the risk of cord prolapse.
I think you have to really think about what's best for you all. My hubby wasn't keen at first but did a lot of research too and it won him over. He knew i would be more relaxed at home and labour more easily. We had a lovely day tbh. We sat watching Netflix all day while I was having milder contractions and did it all together. Midwives arrived half an hour before dd was born in the pool and hubby caught her and handed her to me so it was very personal and lovely.
My husband was dead against the idea of home birth when I first mooted it, but he was prepared to read up on it. In the end the results of the birthplace study persuaded him - as above, the evidence is that home birth is slightly safer that hospital birth for subsequent births. My midwife gave me a (somewhat patronising) sheet about the advantages for dads - they included things like being in control on your own territory, welcoming medical professionals into your home rather than being on their turf in hospital; not having to go home and leave your partner and new baby in hospital; having the snacks you want in the cupboard etc. My home water birth was an amazing experience (after a hideous first birth in hospital) and I'm so glad I went for it. I still relive it all in my head quite often nearly two years later.
I had the same with DH: he was really not keen until I provided him with all the statistics. Then, being a scientist, he read them, queried them, answered his queries, accepted the stats and our second and subsequent DC were born at home.
You will have a midwife with you who is focused on you and is very experienced.
Just warn the neighbours if you're likely to start yelling!
Midwives are very cautious and will transfer you as soon as they feel something isn't right.
A friend had a similar labour to you first time and opted for a home birth second time around. The labour as so fast the midwives did t get there in time and her DH delivered the baby in the stairs! All fine but then had to go to the hospital for a night for monitoring.
But if the worst happened at home I would never forgive myself for "taking a chance".
Statistically speaking, as a low risk, second time mother, this wouldn't be what you are doing.
Statistically, you and your baby are safest at home or in an MLU.
Basically, there are some horrible, totally unforeseen complications that could put your life, or your baby's life, at risk. Things like a totally unindicated placental abruption. If you are in that situation, you are best of in hospital, close to an immediate crash section.
On the other hand, the statistics show that being close to all that technology doesn't improve outcomes (see above). The best guess of why that would be is that, in a hospital, you get less continuity of care and more of a 'wait and see what happens' attitude to complications. And the bad outcomes from those negatives are balancing out the benefits you would instinctively expect to exist because you are physically proximate to the OR, etc. I dont' want to tell scary stories to a pregnant woman, but I have a friend where this was a definite factor.
There are also obviously other factors to consider, but in terms of 'bad outcomes' that's the basic picture.
Thank you all.
I have done quite a lot of reading which is why I am keen, but I still can't quite shake the fear of being in the tiny percentage of women who have an unforeseen complication as Library describes and subsequently would have been safer at hospital.
It is an irrational fear, given that hospital brings its own set of risks (which I find it easier to discount for some reason).
I guess I just need to talk to the midwives more, and then have a heart to heart with DH (who is generally very happy to support my choices, but is something of a hypochondriac and finds it very hard to shake the worst case scenario mindset).
It is about where you feel most comfortable.
Statistically the risk profile is better at home. For every scenario like the ones I described, there must be one where home would have had a better outcome than hospital did (I actually personally know a case where that is probably true). But if you feel safer and more relaxed in hospital, your birth is likely to go more smoothly there.
If you can't quite shake the fear, don't do it. It's not adding to your peace of mind.
What are the other options? Some London hospitals have excellent 'home from home' MW led units, then you get surroundings which are far less hospital-like, but full facilities only a corridor (rather than a transfer) away.
Or perhaps a free-standing MW led birth unit (do any of these still exist?)
I had a hb with my first. i too live in central London - about 7 mins from the hospital (blue lights). What reassured me was that even if you were in hospital and an emergency situation arose, you'd still a) need to get mw attention if they weren't already in room and b) they'd need to prep the operating suite and get you moved. If you're at home, you have the mw's undivided attention and if a situation arose that required transfer then the operating suite would be prepped and ready to go by the time you got to the hospital in the ambulance.
I might have thought twice about it if, for e.g, we lived further from a hospital.
Also, agree with what someone said above about mw's being very cautious. They have no desire to risk your or baby's life. At the slightest whiff of a problem, they'll transfer you.
But, ultimately, you have to feel comfortable with your choice, otherwise you won't be happy in labour. I found reading Ina May Gaskin's book on childbirth a revelation - it made me realise that it's a natural, not a medical, process and believe in my ability to do it with minimal intervention.
You may get much better care with a home birth. Much more attention from a midwife who may not get to do this very often (so will be anxious to do everything perfectly!).
My hubby and I were having the exact same debate OP I wanted one as it's my third and looking back at my birthing history if all goes in that direction.... Quick!!
I am nervous about not making it to the hospital and hubby panicking and stressing as I deliver on the side of the road!!
But last night we went to an expecting parent event and there were some amazing midwives and doulas there and my hubby seems to be coming around to it now he knows the info.
Get hubby to do his research it may be the confidence he needs.
Looks hopeful my end now and I can finally relax knowing I can stay here!
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