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Please help to reassure me that a home water birth is as safe as doing it at the hospital

(20 Posts)
GYoIsReallyHavingABaby Sun 15-Feb-09 17:40:56

Really want and Im plannning a HWB for my first baby, due in 4wks. I know there are risks of having to transfer into hospital and Im prepared for that 100% (bags already packed etc!) - but my mother is being really weird saying why create additional risk and its kind of freaked me out.

I know its my decision not hers etc etc but still having wobble about it now...

Please tell me your good stories especially those for first time babies Also good to hear any realistic bad stories too!

thank you very much

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Sun 15-Feb-09 17:48:10

1. you haven't packed your hospital bag, it's your post-natal bag grin

2. Your mum is probably worried about you. It's normal, but you should ask her to not mention it again.

3. I am sure you have done your homework and know that statistics show a HWB is safer than a hospital birth.

4. Every heavily pg woman has a wobble at some point, it's normal.

5. Look at the birth stories on the homebirth website, they are inspiring and I used to read them when I had a wobble.

6. I had a hwb and it's the best and most wonderful thing I have ever done. Here's my birth story.

Northernlurker Sun 15-Feb-09 17:57:18

There's no such thing as a 100% safe birth - wherever it takes place. All you can do is balance the risks and you've already done that. Your mum is just anxious - her baby is having a baby after all - but she's wrong and unwise to comment on your reasonable decision. Good luck with your homebirth!

BoffinMum Sun 15-Feb-09 18:09:36

If you are otherwise healthy, home is the least risky place to be, statistically speaking.

I've had two home waterbirths and avoided hospital-acquired infections, perineal trauma and ended up with two relaxed and happy babies as a consequence. I am now planning a third home waterbirth without hesitation.

Really, it's not a problem as long as you have an experienced mw there, which is also much more likely with a hb. In hospital they are run ragged.

hester Sun 15-Feb-09 18:16:15

Providing it is clinically appropriate for your individual situation, HWB is as safe as hospital birth. I can understand that this doesn't make sense to your mum - the 'common sense' reasoning is, surely you have to be safer near hospitals and doctors - but you should point out to her that this (low) risk is counter-balanced by avoiding the risks posed by hospital, including hospital-acquired infections etc. Also, labour tends to progress in a more straightforward way when women feel safe and comfortable, and for many that means at home.

There is published research on this - try the NCT website?

Leanne5 Sun 15-Feb-09 18:29:29

I have had 2 hospital births and then 2 homebirths. The homebirths are the best thing I've ever done. My mum was very unsure about me having my children at home, trying t scare me out of it but she was at my house when I had my last two children. It totally changed her mind. I know it does not all ways go to plan but this can be in any situation-whether at hospital or home. (I must say I had much better care at home) Mum my now tells everone she has never seen anything so amazing.
You do what feels right for you.[]

nuttygirl Sun 15-Feb-09 18:31:47

If you were in hospital there's a good chance you'd have to share your mw with other women in labour - at home you will get two to yourself.

GYoIsReallyHavingABaby Sun 15-Feb-09 18:44:54

ahhhh thank you lovely ladies... this is exactly the kind of things i needed to hear grin I think mothers do worry unnecessarily about stuff...

will read more good stuff on it i think

thank you again

BoffinMum Sun 15-Feb-09 18:52:13

Just tell your mum you will get better attention and medical care because you will have two mw totally captive as opposed to having to share them and being on your own a lot. I am sure that will swing her opinion!!

Obviously they also bring practically all the stuff a hospital delivery room has as well.

It's hospital at home.

Twistle Sun 15-Feb-09 19:37:13

I've had my 3 at home in a pool, thoroughly recommend it. So calm. So lovely that when the midwives go home you're in your own home and space. You cannot beat the feeling of picking your baby up before anyone else does. Also, the pool made me feel quite dignified. I felt as though I was covered up, iyswim.

With my 1st, it was fantastic, and I was the only one of 12 or so in my ante-natal group to have had a good first birth (isn't that sad?). I think some of that is that if you stay at home you take responsibility for how it will be, whereas in hospital there is sometimes a mismatch of expectations.

2nd also fantastic. We recorded this one (for our eyes only) and what shocked me on watching it back is how mundane it seemed almost, in that she was born so calmly.

With my 3rd, birth itself was fab again, but it turned out that there was meconium in the hindwaters, and she'd swallowed some. Rather dramatically, when the cord stopped pumping, she stopped breathing and turned blue. Midwives quickly cut cord and one started with the artificial breathing, which she needed 5 of, and then was ok again - a worrying 30 seconds or so. I was still in pool with other midwife reassuring me. She was a bit "grunty" after that so we went into hospital just to get her checked, but no panic. She managed her first feed in the ambulance and the last of the green foamy meconium came out of her nose, and she was really fine after that. Basically, they had the same equipment available at home as they would have had in hospital, so she was at no greater risk. And would we have had 2 midwives present in hospital? I'm not sure.

I hope that story doesn't scare you! It's something that would have happened wherever and I think it's a really positive story of how well "adversities" are coped with wherever you are. It felt positive to us anyway, and if I had another, she'd be born at home too!

AtheneNoctua Sun 15-Feb-09 19:58:51

Of course it's not as safe. It will probably be okay. Lots of people do it and most them go complication free. If it's what you want, go for it. It's your birth and your baby. But, don't kid yourself into thinking that transfer time doesn't matter if, God forbid, something does go wrong.

Tangle Sun 15-Feb-09 20:32:19

Define safe.

There will always be circumstances where things would have been handled differently in hospital and outcomes would be different. That doesn't always mean they will always be better. The National Birthday Trust Report from 1994 found that low risk women planning a home birth at 37 weeks were 1/2 as likely to have intervention (such as ventouse or forceps) and 1/2 as likely to have a caesarian. Babies born to a planned HB generally had higher AGPAR scores, needed less resuscitation and had less bruising than their planned hospital birth counterparts.

Women at home tend to have a better experience and need less pain relief. Its thankfully rare for things to go wrong quickly - most problems develop over a period of time and your captive MW (I like it ) is much more likely to spot it at home than she would shuttling between multiple women in labour on a busy ward. Of the problems that do develop quickly, many will be handled in exactly the same way regardless of where you are.

Talk to your mum about the additional risks of a hospital birth...

btw - DD was my first and was born at home. She was 9lb 12 and I didn't need any chemical pain relief. I did have to transfer in afterwards for stitching, but it was still well worth birthing at home and I'd plan it again for any future DC I have.

BoffinMum Sun 15-Feb-09 20:43:14

Can I just point out that hospital births are no guarantee of safety either? My friend had a completely normal birth in a top US hospital under the care of a leading consultant, but the baby needed some oxygen, and the tank was empty, as was the second tank they brought in, and her baby died as a result of this and the subsequent panic on the part of the staff. sad She has never recovered from this.

A good attentive mw could have got around this problem IMO, as they have been doing for centuries.

Gemzooks Sun 15-Feb-09 20:46:00

can't give you any concrete experience but am planning my own HWB in 6 weeks from now for my second DC, are you on our homebirth thread, you'd be very welcome! (on the childbirth topic).

If anything goes wrong, you can be transferred to hosp. There is a false sense of security with some people where they think a hospital must be safer, but in fact there is so much more risk of unnecessary intervention, infection of you and the baby etc. I personally found the hospital environment made me feel very panicky and my labour stopped completely! It was like a dog shivering at the vet's or something.

Stay strong and don't worry!

bohemianbint Sun 15-Feb-09 20:47:44

I had both of my children at home, but with my first one it happened so fast I didn't have chance to get in the pool! Managed it with DS2 and had a faulous wonderful birth. The water really helped and managed to have a nearly 9lb baby with no tearing at all, I swear the water helped. And he is the most chilled out gorgeous happy little chap, I like to think because of his serene entrance to the world!

Good luck, odds are you'll be fine. grin

MinnieMummy Sun 15-Feb-09 20:49:23

I had my first in a hospital (episiotomy, forceps and consequently upset feelings about the whole thing for a good 12 months afterwards) and second at home in a pool (no pain relief, much much better all round, and I don't start crying when thinking about the birth!). Both my parents were like your mum when I said I wanted a home birth, to the point where I actually began to doubt my own reasoning, and all the statistics. I just kept repeating the kind of things that people have already posted here about safety and ultimately they (and I) were reassured.

I think after how it went last time, IF we go for another, I'd do the same again, definitely.

susie100 Mon 16-Feb-09 11:16:14

A good midwife at home will be watching you like a hawk and you will be transferred at the first dign of trouble, I believe faster than if you have a midwife split between 7 women, how can they possibly know when something is going wonrg in room 3 when they are in room 2.

You can normally be bluelighted in in the same time it takes to prepare the theatre so transfer time is a red herring in my view. I wouldn't have a homebirth if you were far from hospital however.

Belgianchocolates Mon 16-Feb-09 11:27:36

Susie, I told my cousin the same thing about going to hospital in case of an emergency. She was saying how she'd be too scared to have a HB in case something went wrong. I told her exactly the same: it's extremely rare for something to happen that needs intervention NOW, usually there's time for transfer to hospital. By car it takes us 15 mins to get to the nearest hospital, imagine how quickly we'd get there by ambulance with the blue lights and sirens going. Definetely as quick as getting prepped to go to theatre, maybe even quicker!
Though, susie, I'd be surprised to find a mw on labour ward looking after 7 women in one go. 2, or if it's really bad 3, maybe, but, never!

susie100 Mon 16-Feb-09 11:32:46

I agree it sounds crazy but apparently that has been the case at St Thomas's recently, 7 women to a midwife, they are really shortstaffed, you can never get into the home from home bit as there are not enough midwives and they are asking people not to come in until their contractions are 2 to 3 minutes apart which in my case would have meant hanging on until 10 mins before the birth!

Hopefully they will sort it out!

bumpybecky Mon 16-Feb-09 11:46:30

with a first labour things tend to go very slowly, so in the unlikely event there is a problem, there will be time to transfer if needed also as you'll be the only woman that midwife is looking after, it's more likely that any problems will be detected sooner rather than later as you're getting more attention

I had planned to have my first at home in water, but ended up having to transfer (by car, not blue lighted!) as when the waters went there was meconium and it can cause problems. The MW who had been with us at home came too and stayed for the rest of the labour and delivery. Although we ended up in hospital, it was still a fairly non-medical birth, I was monitored constantly, but didn't have any interventions and had a physiological third stage. dd1 was born without any problems due to the meconium and we all went home less than 4 hours later

dd2, dd3 and ds were all sucessful home water births

ther are lots of links on the homebirth website which discuss safety. Maybe if youur Mum read some she'd nag worry a bit less?

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