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Home birth(80 Posts)
I am 34 weeks pregnant with our first child and my husband and I are really keen on a home birth.
We have done a lot of research and know that the risks for first time mothers is slightly elevated.
Would be keen to hear of other women's experiences.
We both feel that we would be more relaxed at home which may help us have the birth we want.
I had a home birth with my 3rd child after 2 hospital (nearly home births) and it was the best thing . Is there anything you wanted to know in particular?
I had home births with all of mine so can't compare it to hospital ones but it obviously included my first birth. Happy to answer any specific questions. It's the single nest decision I made in my pregnancies.
Thanks for your reply.
Suppose as it's our first we don't really know what to expect.
Do you think you could have managed your first at home?
Did you have any problems booking midwife?
Do you think it was a better experience for you?
Was it what you expected for your first?
We are also thinking of a water birth at home too
I think I would have managed far better at home, my first time - my waters went and I had a long, long labour, parts of which I spent all on my own.
My subsequent labours were long too, but I was at home, with friends around during the day, and my husband there at night.
I was lucky that my community midwife team was enthusiastic about home birth, so I had no problems booking it (though the obstetrician did get very cats-bum-mouth when I told him).
I am happy to answer any other questions you have - if I can help more.
Ds1 in hospital, ds2 at home. Planning on dd1 at home in 10 weeks. I could've managed my first at home (although he was back to back) but mostly didn't as was in a tiny rented house. Home birth with ds2 went smoothly and can only recommend it! No issue getting midwives here, 2 lovely very qualified midwives happy to be at a home birth. For dh and me was a far better experience, I was much more relaxed in my own environment and enjoyed having a shower in my own bathroom rather than having to trot to a shared bathroom in hospital. Hopefully dd1 behaves and I can have her at home.
I think that yea I would have managed my first at home. I had no problems with a midwife getting me and we live in a rural area my contractions started at 3am and by the time 7:15 came I was ready for some pain relief and to probably start pushing I phoned my local delivery unit who put a call out to all nearby midwives. The midwife (who luckily was my midwife I had for my checkups through out my pregnancy) phoned me back within 5 mins to say she would be there within 15 mins. I was in the bath when she arrived as I wanted a water birth because I did with my dd2. She asked me to get out just so she could give me an examination to see who far into labour my body was which was done on my bed. I then got back into the bath where 2 hours later my dd3 was born. I had 3 midwives attend my birth you will routinely have 2 I only had a 3rd because was a student and had never seen a home birth. The midwives are lovely and obviously you get 1:1 attention they clean everything up for you as well.
I had both of mine, and I'm really glad I did. Most of friends who planned hospital births had fairly difficult labours, while mine was really straightforward. I do know quite a lot of people who ended up transferring into hospital with first babies, so I would suggest thinking about how you would handle a transfer when you do your birth planning.
It was better than I expected for my first.
It was less painful so I coped well, it wasn't anywhere near as messy as I expected and I loved the space. I used walking about as my pain relief so I liked wandering about a familiar environment.
I had both my babies at home, my mw was very supportive enthusiastic.
DS was back to back and I was home alone as dh was at a meeting the other side of the country. MW popped in on me instead of returning my call that I thought I might be in labour and found i was a good 6cm dilated but high bp so risk that I'd need transferring to hospital, but my mw was totally calm about it, which made me calm and her suggestions to lower it worked. So glad she happened to be passing as she said I looked and sounded too calm to be in established labour and so wouldn't have come to me yet if we'd spoken on the phone! More mws and my best friend arrived. Total labour was about 9 hours, 20 mins second stage, no pushing. I had gas & air for the last 90 mins. Mws were excellent at picking up that ds was b2b and made me change position to help turn him & get him out. I did a hypno birthong course prior to his arrival.
Oh and we lived in a 2 bed rented house with paper thin walls but the neighbours didn't realise until they saw the mws leaving.
dd - v fast labour, dh was close to delivering her but mws & paramedics arrived just in time . It was a surreal experience as the paramedics were chatting to dh about our original ceiling roses and cornicing while I was quite literally pushing dd's head out. Wish I had gone back to hypnobirthing in hindsight.
The best thing of all about a homebirth, IMO is the level of care from mw's (they cant leave you to check on someone else!) and curling up in your own bed for newborn snuggles.
I had major problems in both my labours and would have really struggled at home (the problems were not cussed by being in hospital btw).
I'd just say that you should stay flexible.
Go for a home birth but be aware of the risks and be willing to transfer if necessary
What is it you think you'll get with a home birth that you won't get with a hospital birth?
I had a very peaceful (well as much as it can be) with dc2 in hospital. Lovely water birth, midwife only checked internally once at the beginning and was happy to watch me moving through stages.
Personally I wouldn't risk it with your first baby. They take a lot if work to get out and often need help.
I wanted a home birth with my first but I'm very glad we didn't attempt it in the end.
I had a long and difficult labour, with both DS and I being in a very bad way by the end of it. We had to be transferred from the water pool to the consultant led unit very quickly when things went wrong, and the transfer was awful despite being in the same building. I can't imagine being in that state and having to transfer in from home.
After that experience I chose to have DC2 in hospital. It was a beautiful, calm, drug-free birth in the water pool. Dimmed lights, soft music, and very straightforward. We were home four hours later.
If I were to have a third (which I won't!) I'd aim for the water pool at the hospital again. It was fantastic, and I felt I could relax there a lot more than I could at home. When I'm in labour I like to move around a lot and make very loud cow-like noises. I'm happier doing that in hospital than in my little house where the neighbours could hear! And I also loved the very big and deep pool, which I couldn't replicate at home (no space).
I had my third baby at home and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I knew from experience of my first two babies that I have quite long, slow labours and I felt I'd be more relaxed at home.
I decided on a home birth at 34 weeks. In fact it was my midwife who suggested it. Some of the key points in my decision to have a home birth were that I'd had a normal delivery with DC2 previously, I'd had three uncomplicated pregnancies, I was full term & not overdue, and I was only five minutes away from the hospital if necessary.
It was great, five hours from start to finish (which isn't quick for a third baby) and totally uncomplicated. I had gas & air, which ran out just as I got to the pushing stage but by then I was so high on endorphins I didn't need it. It was perfect, and I loved being in my own home. I didn't bother with a pool as I hadn't used one in either of my previous deliveries. Oh, and it wasn't in the least bit messy.
I would agree about the need to remain flexible. As it's your first baby you just don't know how it will go. I totally underestimated how painful I would find labour the first time round, and after hours of it I was begging for an epidural - which led to a forceps delivery of DC1. I couldn't have managed at home.
With DC2 I didn't feel confident about a home birth because I hadn't had a normal delivery with DC1. However, the hospital birth was straightforward, just long, and I managed the pain with just gas & air. I did need a lot of stitches though, which couldn't have been done at home.
I wouldn't have felt at all comfortable having my first baby at home, but that's my personal view. If it's right for you, that's great. But keep an open mind and go with the flow.
I would have coped at home for my first I think but without access to the dr's and the equipment that resuscitated my DS when he was born I am not sure he would have survived. Therefore all of mine after have / will be hospital births.
Thanks all for your replies.
We both think we'd be more relaxed at home, which from what we've read and from our NCT classes will obviously help with birth.
I also really like the thought of being at home straight away afterwards.
We would only be ten minutes away from the hospital and know we'd need to be flexible in case we needed to attend.
Our NCT leader says that even women who planned to have home births but had to be transferred report better experiences, maybe because of the control in the initial stages?
I always find it odd when people who have never had home births come on to these threads just to post their scare stories.
If you are that close to the hospital, just go ahead and book it.
I had a hospital birth first time, home birth second.
We were 10 mins from hospital and my friend, a doctor, said worst case scenario, emergency c-sec it would take them 10 minutes to prep theatre and get a team together and transfer from delivery suite, so it made no difference being at home.
In some ways, you're better at home, as you have the undivided attention of your midwife, so she's more likely to spot early warning signs. I was alone for long periods of my first labour, because it was really busy that day.
Check with your community team. I planned HB from the start so had most of my antenatal appointments at home. There were 4 MWs that covered my area on rotation, one was my named MW.
Only one of the four was qualified for water births, so it depended which one was on duty when I went into labour. I could have the pool, but only deliver in the water with that one.
I decided against it as it seemed a lot of faff for no guarantee.
Guess which mw was on duty?
That was 10 years ago - they're probably all trained now.
Definitely recommend it.
I'd go for it. I had my first and only at home as I was sick to the back teeth with hospitals ( lots of IVF and hospitalisation due to IVF complications) and it just 'felt right' in a way that I can't really articulate. Like you, we were only 10 mins from a big teaching hospital so I felt very comfortable about my choice. DH was sceptical initially but there were enormous benefits for him too- he felt so in control and empowered to do things to help me/us feel more comfortable.
I live in the Netherlands and have loads of friends and family who have had homebirths. I know both good and bad stories. Most people who opt for a homebirth actually live quit close to a hospital. Also the deathrate of babies during birth is much higher here, although I don't kniw if honebirths are the reason.
The women who have had an uncomplicated birth were more relaxed, has a quicker birth and had a very positive birth experience. They would highly recommend it as long as everything is going normal. Most births are uncomplicated.
The women who had to transfer to hospital during the birth experienced a great deal of stress because there is a medical problem while you are far away from a lot of medical intervention solutions. Also getting into a car and being driven while the baby is almost coming is agony. You have to be prepared to breath through pushing contractions for a long time.
I have two cousins who had a good birth up until the placenta didn't deliver. That meant going to the hospital anyway.
One of my cousins (aunts child) died during the birth. It was preventable.
A homebirth wouldn't be for me but if you really want to go through with this then please also prepare to go to the hospital when things go pearshaped. Be mentally prepared, have a bag and birthplan available for just in case. Have your DP practise driving to the hospital anyway. You do not know how it will go. Keep an open mind during the birth.
I hope you have a very straightforward birth whichever you choose.
I had DC1 is hospital, MLU. Easy, quick water birth. Waters broke at 10:30pm, asked to go in to confirm. Contractions started whilst there and DC1 born at 6am.
However, I hadn't realised how quickly the labour was progressing - and neither did the MW who kept trying to send me home. I was in a whole world of pain as opposed to 'proper' contractions. I went from 1-8cm in 2 hours. I thought I'd need to transfer to the labour ward for more serious pain relief as I just assumed labour would be longer. MWs were great (after the 8cm discovery!) and followed my birth plan to the letter. My point with all this is that as it was my first child I had no idea what was 'normal', to be expected pain wise, time wise etc. Not sure how I would have felt to be at home IYSWIM?
DC2 was a home birth, very similar labour although longer between waters breaking and contractions starting. From proper contractions to birth was only 2 hours. It was a fabulous experience. Because I knew what to expect from my body (as much as you can!) I was far less fazed than in my first labour.
Due with DC3 in 10 weeks and planning on another HB - the only thing that would stop me is childcare for my older 2 (it makes more sense on a 'school day' for them to stay at home to make school/nursery run easier for the in laws!)
Being in my own home snuggled with my NB, just DH and I 2 hours after the birth was amazing and I would love that again.
Not sure if that helps? I second what PP say about flexibility in any case.
I had my first and second at home and they were both brilliant births that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The first was a very long, slow to get going labour and I have no doubt that I would not have coped in any way as well as I did had I not been at home. I was able to rest, eat, drink, snooze, have a bath/shower and go to the loo etc all in my own surroundings, in privacy and without having to wait for eg the bathroom to be free or the lights to be switched off. DH was able to be part of everything and also able to rest and eat easily so neither of us was in a bad way at all despite a 4 day latent/labour.
Having a bath in your own bathroom and getting into your own bed afterwards are very preferable to the hospital alternatives IMO.
I had dc3 in hospital and it was perfectly OK, everyone was nice etc but it wasn't the slightest bit as comfortable or private and I found how hot and noisy it was on the ward verging on unbearable (we had to stay for medical reasons).
Our local midwives are very well set up for home births and I received excellent attentive care and never once felt like they would take any risks with me or the baby. They had lots of equipment and processes for transfer of needed and actually the dedicated uninterrupted one to one care was far superior to the distracted bitty staffing of many friends' labours in hospital.
I absolutely knew that I wanted my first at home and have absolutely no regrets. I also knew my their needed to be born in hospital and so made a different decision with him.
You will make the choc is that is right for you. Good luck!
If you have a vaginal birth with no complications you can go home after 6 hours.
It's quicker than that in some cases, rhiaaaannon - I was home in bed with DD within four hours of her being born in hospital, as it was such a straightforward birth.
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