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scared of home birth?

(68 Posts)
suilaruin Thu 27-Apr-17 11:50:34

this is my 3rd pregnancy and ive had the all ok to have a home birth or go to a birthing unit which is 15 mins away. the main hospital is nearly an hour away. I like the idea of home birth but I have read horror stories and it has made me scared of something going wrong! has anybody else felt like this??

McBaby Thu 27-Apr-17 13:08:34

In a similar position baby no 3 with two quick labours. First 2 hours second 45 mins both born on labour ward for various reasons.

Home birth team are booked in as unlikely to make it to hospital but I am very unsure about having a baby at home especially (I have been advised the midwives are also unlikely to make it in time if it's quick)!

Phalarope Thu 27-Apr-17 20:45:06

My understanding is that things don't just suddenly go wrong - there's a build up first.

What would happen if something went wrong at the birthing unit - are you looking at an hour transfer from there too?

I had a homebirth with DC2. The midwife couldn't find his heartbeat while I was pushing so got me out of the pool and got me to push furiously. Thank feck, it turned out her Doppler thingy was just broken hmm.

Overall, I felt the midwives were v cautious and ready to call for extra help early on. In some ways it was more stressful than my labour with DC1 at a midwife-led unit, because the midwives seemed more anxious from the start, and probably I was a bit too - mostly about things like where had I put the towels and was DC1 going to wake up.

If you book a homebirth, you can always change your mind even in labour and go in to the unit instead.

CoffeeMad18 Thu 27-Apr-17 21:06:40

I had a home birth on my second child too. My first labour was very quick and they thought the second would be quicker.
I was told that I could change my mind at any time and go to hospital instead. I had two midwives and a student in my home for the birth. The labour turned out to be the same length of time as my first.

The baby came out in the sac filled with meconium and it burst all over my bed, luckily the midwife was happy with the baby and we didn't have to transfer to the hospital.

I preferred it as I felt more comfortable in my own home.

Snap8TheCat Thu 27-Apr-17 21:12:41

Things are very different in a home birth.

Statistically things are less likely to go wrong than a hospital birth because you have been deemed low risk and mothers are calmer and more relaxed.

You will also have a midwife with you at all times providing one to one care. They will be assessing everything at all tubes. Not like in hospital where they pop in and out of your room.

The threshold for transferring you to hospital or getting help is much lower. No chances are taken and you can change your mind at any time.

I've had three and they were wonderful. Good luck.

IckleWicklePumperNickle Fri 28-Apr-17 10:11:46

My homebirth was the most amazing experience.
I go into my own world when I'm in labour. My husband also loved being at home too.

pennysays Sat 29-Apr-17 14:44:05

I'm having a home birth with my first. 40% of home births end up in hospital anyway as they are very cautious. And yes, most problems are spotted early on before anything is too serious and off you go to hosp (hence 40% statistic).

I had a good, very frank conversation with my mw about worst case scenarios which personally I found very helpful - it helped to really know what the risks were rather than burying my head in the sand but secretly really worrying. We talked about what would happen if they occurred, what the midwives could do whilst the ambulance arrived, what the paramedics would do on the way to the hospital and it is quite a lot, it's not like an hour of no treatment whilst you get to the hospital.

The risks of these things are very low and the statistics show that for second births and beyond there is NO statistical difference in outcomes for home births vs hospital births. (There are slightly greater chance of a poorer outcome for first births but that's my problem not yours!)

Finally you can change your mind st any time, right up until your crowning and go to hospital instead.

Good luck!

MacNcheese87 Sat 29-Apr-17 20:45:32

My homebirth was the best thing I have ever done. I'm planning my second home birth in 5 weeks!

As previously mentioned, the midwives are looking out for things that might go wrong way before anything would be considered in a hospital environment. They are aware that they will need to transfer you.

Statistically, for a low risk pregnancy, you are more likely to have a natural, unassisted delivery at home.

You are more likely to be calmer. I know I felt more in control knowing I was at home and the midwives were there to assist me doing something natural. I felt safer having two midwives there for the birth, one with me throughout active labour and another joining for the birth, rather than one popping in every 5 minutes in a birth centre.

There really is no better feeling than tucking your newborn into their Moses basket/crib at home rather than bundling them into a car seat! You can put your feet up and have a cup of tea!

My homebirth was lovely, my birth centre birth previously was ok, (gas and air is better when it's plumbed into a wall, the home birth canisters are a bit rubbish) but simply to lower my risk of interventions, and therefore my baby's risk of any adverse reactions to them, I'm choosing a homebirth again.

When things go wrong, and they can wherever you choose to birth, they very rarely go immediately wrong. The main reason a woman is transferred to hospital when in labour is failure to progress. Closely followed by the woman needing more pain relief, and then by heaving bleeding after. (Don't quote me on these, they were true at the time of the articles written that I read) in the case of heavy bleeding, or baby/yourself needing resuscitation, the midwives carry the necessary drugs and equipment and will not delay in dialling 999. There will be two of them with you for a reason.

Often you may hear people say 'oh my baby would have died/I wouldn't be here if i wasn't at hospital' but it's important to look at the circumstances around that claim before worrying yourself. The cascade of interventions, often if you have one intervention, you'll require another, maybe another. Inductions for example, higher risk of needing an epidural, epidurals come with higher risk of assisted deliveries, assisted deliveries come at higher risk of episiotomies/tearing. I'm sure for some people a hospital birth is safer, that's why it's important to speak to your midwife, but it's also true that for some people, who are low risk, they may be safer at home.

It's worth noting that planned homebirths for subsequent low risk pregnancies pose NO greater risk to mother or baby than a planned hospital or birth centre birth. You can totally quote me on that one.

Sorry it's so long. I'm nearing my second homebirth, and although I totally love the idea again, it's normal to have a few wobbles and read up on the most recent advice. Good luck!

DramaAlpaca Sat 29-Apr-17 21:03:58

I had a home birth with DS3 and can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life.

My reason for wanting a home birth was because I have long, slow labours which slow down when I get into hospital, probably because I find hospitals very stressful and I don't feel in control there.

I was deemed low risk after an easy pregnancy and a very straightforward delivery with DC2. My midwife encouraged me to go for a home birth if I wanted to. DH was a little less keen at first, but he came with me to a midwife visit and she was able to talk him through everything and allay his fears. Once he was on board we made the decision to go for it.

The birth experience was great, about five hours which was much quicker than the previous two and the delivery was absolutely textbook straightforward. I had two midwifes present, a generous supply of gas & air, and freedom to move around and do whatever I was comfortable with. It was perfect really, and I was on a high for days afterwards.

User2468 Sat 29-Apr-17 21:06:44

For those that have had home births, could you answer a Q for me that has always troubled me?

Who on Earth cleans up afterwards?

MacNcheese87 Sat 29-Apr-17 21:11:55

User- it depends on where you gave birth. I birthed in the pool so it was all contained in there. Very easy to empty with a submersible pump.

I got out to do the placenta delivery, I think the midwives brought incontinence sheets with them, even if not, id covered the sofa with waterproof sheeting and towels, they took any mess away with them.

It was surprisingly very clean. I can't speak about a birth on dry land though, I have no idea how messy that would be, but you do plan for mess with lots of waterproofing just incase. smile

Rollonbedtime7pm Sat 29-Apr-17 21:13:16

I had an accidental home birth for #3 (came too fast for hospital or even midwife or paramedic!) and tbh, there wasn't that much mess!

We had towels all over the floor, midwife who arrived about 30 mins later wiped up the 1 tiny blood spot on the carpet (with a baby wipe!) and then my mum washed all the towels!

It was my easiest birth of the 3 and was so nice to just already be at home after and her siblings got to meet her when she was about 30 mins old - would have been sooner but paramedics aren't allowed to deliver the placenta so she was still attached until the MW arrived!

honeycheeerios Sat 29-Apr-17 21:21:37

Things can and do 'just go wrong'. There was certainly no gradual build up for me.

It was literally 10 minutes between a problem being picked up to actually being in theatre. Husband was told no time to put a gown or anything on, they literally ran my bed down the corridor, spinal in, baby out.

Because of my personal experiences I would never risk a home birth. It would take around 20 minutes to get the nearest hospital too and that's without traffic. The problem with the baby was only picked up on because I was being constantly monitored by CTG. Not sure what would have happened had I been at home and perhaps not been monitored in that way.

My experiences aside, if I had a low risk pregnancy, no issues at all and could be transferred to a hospital within about 10 minutes I would probably be ok with it.

DramaAlpaca Sat 29-Apr-17 21:24:31

User2468 it really wasn't as messy as you might think, in fact I don't remember any mess at all. I bought plastic sheeting from a DIY store and draped them over the sofa, beanbag and an old mattress, we had some old towels around and the midwives brought some of those pads they use in hospitals. Afterwards they wrapped everything up in the plastic sheets and they took it all away for incineration. So no mess to deal with afterwards.

MrsPandaBear Sat 29-Apr-17 21:41:20

As others have said, they are much more cautious at home births. You have 2 midwives with you so they will pick stuff up quickly - in hospital you could well be labouring alone. The bar for calling for help is low. Mine were slightly worried about meconium when my waters broke, so called an ambulance immediately which arrived before DD was born, just in case. In hospital, I doubt I'd have known at the time it was something they were concerned about. I felt much safer at home than I did in hospital, because I was more closely ob served and better supported.

If the idea stresses you though, then I'd go with your instincts - you want to be somewhere you are comfortable.

lazycrazyhazy Sat 29-Apr-17 22:08:47

Homeycheerios I'm with you. I always wished I'd had a home birth but my eldest DD went from well to maternal sepsis and a crash caesarean (GA) in half an hour, luckily in hospital. I have always heard that in obstetrics things can go wrong very fast which is the problem. It has changed my mind.

MacNcheese87 Sat 29-Apr-17 22:32:27

No one is saying things can't, or won't, go wrong. All the advice here has been for low risk pregnancies. In the case of sepsis, without knowing the cause of PPs, one of the risk factors for that in labour would be if it was prolonged, and in that case, you wouldn't be deemed as low risk anymore and you'd be blue lighted to hospital *probably before it developed into anything nasty and certainly with the full attention of the doctors and midwives there.

In the case of needing an emergency c-section, it takes on average 30 minutes to get a theatre room set up, anaesthetist present and doctors assembled. This is usually enough time for a transfer from home. (Depending on your location from the hospital)

It's true that there are occasions when the worst happens at home. But the same can also be said for hospital too. It's just one of those things, when it happens at home, it's often blamed on home birth, but if it happens in hospital, it's rarely blamed on being in hospital. There isn't a way of judging what would have been the better outcome after the event. Some interventions in hospital have caused terrible outcomes for babies who would have been better off at home, and some babies at home have experienced terrible outcomes that would have been better in hospital.

I'm sorry you had such a scary time PP. I'm not meaning to sound as if you'd have been better at home or not, I'm just trying to relay the fears of the OP.

It's a fact that home births are statistically as safe as hospital births in low risk (2nd+) pregnancies, but it doesn't mean risk free. It's most important that you give birth whenever you feel the most comfortable, and I respect that for a lot of women, that's at hospital. For some women, it's elsewhere. A birth centre is a great compromise if you are still unsure, and you can always change your mind up until the last minute. smile

TotoToe Sat 29-Apr-17 22:40:55

Dc1 was born in hospital. Had 2 home births after that.

Definitely recommend it. As previous quick birth, two midwives arrived quite soon after being called. During both births, I had their undivided attention for the couple of hours before baby(s) born. They were constantly monitoring the baby(s) and looked after me so well - completely different to hospital birth.

WantToGoingTo Sun 30-Apr-17 08:51:42

About things going wrong...

My Mum is a (recently retired) consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist. She always told me there is nothing in obstetrics that can't wait half an hour, even in an emergency. The rule at her hospital was that on-call consultants needed to be within half an hour of the hospital at all times when on call. When you factor in getting the call, driving to hospital, parking, gowning up and washing hands could easily be 45 minutes until actually operating in theatre. And that's if you were in a hospital (albeit giving birth out of hours hence consultant not on site at the time).

(P.S I am ttc #2 and am having similar homebirth/MLU with myself, for (hopefully) when I get pregnant, after having a rather traumatic first birth in hospital where I tore badly, lost a lot of blood and was v unwell afterwards requiring 5 nights in hospital, blood transfusion and remedial surgery after 3 months. I would still be classified as low risk though hence the debate...)

WantToGoingTo Sun 30-Apr-17 08:52:40

that should say homebirth/MLU debate

KimKardashiansArse Sun 30-Apr-17 09:17:42

wantto I'm not a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist but common sense tells me that your mum is wrong. If she was right, no baby would ever have died because the doctors didn't get it out in time when there was an emergency like a cord prolapse or placenta abruption. Babies, like the rest of us, can't survive without oxygen for half an hour. I think the one's who ended up with cerebral palsy from oxygen deprivation would also disagree. Not wanting to start an argument, just scratching my head as to how a medical professional could think that.

KimKardashiansArse Sun 30-Apr-17 09:24:37

FWIW I would never have a home birth. I am so grateful that we have access to the medical facilities that we do and that women in other countries (who have no choice but to have a home birth) would desperately like to have access to. I've never understood why any woman would choose to put her own birth experience ahead of the safety of her unborn child (or her own safety).

<ducks and runs away>

WantToGoingTo Sun 30-Apr-17 09:54:48

Well maybe she was over generalising, but either way it would be v v rare. I can't see why they would give a 30min radius of hospital limit for on call consultants if that would endanger any babies' or mothers' lives. Otherwise they would say consultants have to stay on site, or be within a smaller radius of the hospital.

WantToGoingTo Sun 30-Apr-17 09:56:07

Basically what I was trying to say is if you have a homebirth then get transferred to hospital, there would be at least a 30-40min time period between identifying problem and operating. There would be same time period if you were in hospital

wickerlampshade Sun 30-Apr-17 09:58:28

Basically what I was trying to say is if you have a homebirth then get transferred to hospital, there would be at least a 30-40min time period between identifying problem and operating. There would be same time period if you were in hospital

No. I have seen an unexpected problem happen in the second stage (cord prolapse) on a labour ward delivery that was previously completely normal. The woman was in theatre and the baby was out within five minutes. Ambulances for heart attacks commonly take 15 minutes to arrive - if you're planning a home birth you should factor in at least half an hour from you calling the ambulance to you leaving the house. Are you comfortable with that? I wouldn't be.

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