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What do people think of home birth?

(65 Posts)
ladydawnie Wed 12-Sep-12 14:11:22

I'm seriously considering a home birth for my second baby that I'm currently 34 weeks pregnant with. My first babys birth was a right nightmare, 30 hr back labour, 3 epidural attempts, a spinal block and emergency forceps. This was probably because I was 7 stone heavier than I am now, the back labour was painful so I panicked, went to hospital demanding an epidural, got on the bed and never moved again! I've also been told I have a narrow pubic arch so my first baby got a bit stuck. However, the midwife is all for a home birth this time round and told me to stay active and upright during my labour and I should be fine. I'm so keen on home birth I've already bought a birthing pool. But there's this little annoying voice in my head telling me it may not be such a good idea. I'd love to hear other people's opinions on home birth. Do people think its dangerous, even selfish to want a home birth?

Mrscalminmadworld Wed 26-Sep-12 15:23:41

I had a very good experience in hospital with my 1st, no problems and born normally after a few hours of labour.
However I am planning a homebirth for my 2nd (now 14w) for many of the reasons already stated, but mainly:
1. All I wanted to do was walk about during the contractions, which I found much harder squeezed round a hospital bed, I coped much better at home where I could do 'laps' of the house!
2. The thought of getting into my own shower and bed afterwards, with no other screaming babies/visitors/well meaning Bounty lady getting me to fill out a questionnaire even when I'd been up all night and was clearly trying to sleep etc is extremely appealing.
3. I think it will be a better and more positive experience for DS to meet his new sibling in a home environment, rather than taking him to big scary hospital with loads of machines. Plus he can come and see me at more regular intervals than if I was stuck to visitor hours.
4. I know it's trivial but access to my own snacks and tea and coffee will be welcome!
5. DH will feel like he's more involved and useful in his own house, helping keep pool temp warm etc.

My nan had all of her 4 children at home, its only recently we've become more 'medicalised' and gone down the hospital route as a default. God bless modern medicine of course but birth is a normal process, you're not ill, and if you're low risk then there's no reason why you shouldnt give it a go.

Anyway that's my tuppence worth! I'm not against hospitals as mine were great but I want to do what I feel is best for my labour and baby.

Good luck HB ladies!

Brendansmummy Mon 24-Sep-12 23:21:10

You havent said how much you weighed to start? im a big mummy bmi 38, sailed through my pregnancy (my first) even though all the doctors and midwives said id have lots of problems. i chose to have a homebirth, it was best decision i made 1hour labour 19 minutes pushing, only gas and air and my 8pound 11oz son was born on my kitchen floor. I personally strongly recomend homebirths as your in your own enviroment can do as you please, and overall are more calm and relaxed. BUT at the end of the day you have to do what pleases you, good look x

HowToChangeThis Sun 23-Sep-12 21:10:11

I'm having a home birth this time because last I had a placental haemmorage, went to hospital, got stuck in a room being monitored while they debated sending me home or putting me on antenatal. They insisted it was cervical erosion causing the bleed, it was actually a ruptured sucenturiate lobe. Came back 2 hours later to find me contracting, decided not to send me home. My waters went, we pressed the call button and DH went to find a midwife twice. Half an hour later I delivered dd with my mum and DH there, just as my midwife turned up and then turned her back to me to glove up. They sent me home 2 hours later and "lost" my notes. I also had diabetes.

This time I don't have diabetes and would quite like a midwife to be present during my birth so I'm staying at home.

Hospitals are not always safer, if I turn up in an ambulance they can't stick me at the end of a corridor and ignore me. I got absolutely nothing out of being in hospital and I was very lucky dd arrived swiftly before the placental bleed affected her. They werent particularly busy that day, there were lots of empty delivery rooms, they just couldnt be bothered and didn't believe me.

SoYo Sun 23-Sep-12 20:50:07

Read the recent place of birth study and make a balanced decisions based on what risks are acceptable to you, not everyone else's opinions. Everything carries risk and I could never have a home birth but that's because I work in obstetrics and only see the high risk stuff and when things go wrong so have very skewed opinions and a high level of paranoia but you've had a previous vaginal delivery so have an excellent chance of low risk normal delivery & although rare things can happen and babies can get into trouble they are luckily just as described, rare. Good luck with it all! X

jem1990 Sun 23-Sep-12 19:43:52

Ive got 3 children....had one at a birthing centre after visiting the big mat hospital and it didnt feel right (wasnt offered home birth) 2 at home AMAZING! your not ill when you have a baby there is only something that is right with you! go with you intution as its always right x

Midgetm Mon 17-Sep-12 22:18:04

Soozle Perhaps allow is a strong word but they have both said it would put me and the baby at risk. The midwives have made it clear they don't even want me in the MLU. So DH would go fruit loop. I am going to bring it up again this week and ask lots of irritating questions. I feel happy that I could transfer into hospital if anything wrong with me, just need to know there is additional risk to the baby. I wouldn't do anything that increased his risk. Last birth I had PET, IUGR, PPH. This time round I seem fit as a fiddle touch wood so I feel it should be approached differently. Thanks though, you are right. Nobody can disallow me so I need to get a better discussion and a real understanding of the risks. I am woman, hear me roar!

SoozleQ Mon 17-Sep-12 13:59:04

Midgetm - they cannot not allow it. They can strongly advise against homebirth, try and persuade you otherwise and generally make it difficult for you but they have a legal obligation to provide you with midwife care and support you in a homebirth if it is what you chose to do having taken on board their advice re risks.

I have booked a home birth VBAC which they are not particularly happy about because I honestly believe, as you do, that I will be paid more attention at home rather than just being left in a room as I was in hospital last time.

Midgetm Mon 17-Sep-12 07:14:25

I would choose a HB but not allowed one. My hospital experience was awful. Despite being induced as a high risk pregnancy I was left on my own due to other emergencies and midwife shortages. This can happen anywhere but is so much less likely to happen at home. I would rather be calm at home, than scared in hospital and having 1:1 care would personally make me calm. Unfortunately neither drs or midwives will allow it this time because of my last experience so I need to face my fears and trust it won't be messed up again. Thing is, as long as my baby is healthy I don't care how it comes out but my choice would be HB.

Aspiemum2 Mon 17-Sep-12 02:16:00

I have always wanted a home birth, first two babies my partner at the time wouldn't let me angry
Last pregnancy and my husband was as keen as me when I found out I was pregnant, went for my booking in appt and midwife agreed to it. Went for my 1st scan and got told it was twins!

So ended up in hospital but really didn't need to as while thing was over in a little over 4 hrs!

I'll always regret not having a home birth but I would be cautious if previous labours have been problematic. I am lucky to labour easily but I would probably opt for hospital if I was at all concerned

Jojoba1986 Mon 17-Sep-12 02:01:38

I had a homebirth with DS & plan to have another sometime! I wouldn't recommend the mw I had though who told me v harshly 'this baby might not come out alive' when I was on the verge of wanting to push... She ended up calling an ambulance seemingly because she was being stroppy with us! Basically she wanted to be monitoring me & baby more than I was comfortably able to let her! She kept asking me to change position so she could check things but by this point I couldn't really tell where one contraction ended & the next started!
In the end DS was born perfectly healthy with the paramedics on the landing! He was fine but I had a bad 2nd degree tear & hemorrhaged so I needed the ambulance!
I'd still choose a homebirth when possible, but I wouldn't let that midwife through the door! The student she brought with her was fab though! She can come back! :-)

(FYI, even if you plan a hospital birth, you might not get it! A friend of mine has ridiculously fast labours & went into labour at rush hour so stayed home despite being 20mins away from hosp without traffic. The midwife had barely arrived when baby appeared!)

brettgirl2 Thu 13-Sep-12 13:37:55

I had a homebirth with my second. Tbh I think it should be more risky than hospital birth but due to the appalling 'care' in hospital births it isnt.

The biggest difference (round here anyway) is during labour. If you have your baby in hospital you are encouraged to leave it as late as possible before going in, leading to babies born in cars, on the bathroom floor. Or, more commonly women going in fully dilated and nearly ready to push. If you have a homebirth they tell you to be careful and call for the midwife as soon as you think you are going into labour.

Hence the women at home have the care of a midwife while in labour who can pick issues up, those birthing in hospital have little or no care during their labour.

So 10cm dilated you go in with cord round baby's neck, mw checks heart rate and goes pale. If you'd booked a homebirth by that point you would probably be in theatre holding your baby born by emcs. Hospital birth results in blue baby that needs reviving, interestingly the most common reaction is 'isnt it lucky I was in hospital' hmm

As it stands the risks are different, yes if there is an unforeseen problem its better and less risky to be in hospital. The simple fact is with HB they take better care of you.

Also I gave birth during an outbreak of Norovirus confused

CrunchyFrog Thu 13-Sep-12 11:39:59

I've had 2 home births, DC 2 and 3, following an horrific hospital birth with DC1.

Because all of the issues with DD were iatrogenic in nature (ie, caused by intervention) I felt far safer at home.

Both were good experiences. I have long pregnancies, DC2 was 12 days beyond due date which was borderline OK (I did start getting grief, but not too much.) DC3 went to 42+3, and I had to write to the hospital declining their offer of induction and stating that I understood the risks. I also had to have a meeting with a doctor, the only one I saw during that pregnancy (apart from while admitted with the 'flu!) which I managed to put off to 42 weeks but was immensely stressful.

The birth itself was wonderful. It was New Year's Eve, so the shift was being covered by two supervisor of midwives, and they were amazing. They helped me to feel so confident, they didn't lay a hand on me without my express informed consent, and in fact barely came near me (a couple of checks on the baby, but barely anything else) until the very end. I knew them beforehand, even though they weren't "my" MW, as I had met with them previously for debriefs and risk assessments.

I have to add, I was not irresponsible, I was fully informed of the risks and benefits of my course of action. It was my experience and opinion that a hospital induction was more risky for my perfectly healthy (demonstrated through scans and regular traces) baby and for me. None of my babies were post-mature, although all were "late." Being post-dates alone is not post-maturity.

In your shoes, I would book a HB, because it is easy to change to a hospital birth, but very tricky to do it the other way around. And inform yourself, get a very good MW on side if you can!

Good luck, whatever you choose. smile

l3mma Wed 12-Sep-12 21:03:35

ps by midwife guidlines if you want a home birth they cant deny you on bmi grounds I spoke at length about this to my mw! x

l3mma Wed 12-Sep-12 21:01:40

I am nearly 22 weeks in my 1st pregnancy and hospital birth has never once crossed my mind, home birth all the way for me smile x

LackingNameChangeInspiration Wed 12-Sep-12 20:40:08

MLUs are basically nice pretty environments to give birth in if you don't really need anything at all and WANT to be left to it

you get much more supervision at home

LackingNameChangeInspiration Wed 12-Sep-12 20:36:33

yeah mine says its 1:1, but all that means is that you have a specific named MW for each shift, NOT that they will be in your room with you for the shift, even if you ask! you still get your bells eventually answered by a HCA who THEN goes to find "your" MW or else you have to send your partner on a hunt, and "your" midwife still covers breaks for other midwives in other rooms/assists them if things are going wrong, answers phones etc

- not very relaxing when you don't want to be left totally alone but also know if you don't send your partner out to get whatever you need you're left with a ringing bell for ages

If I'ld had a home birth I'ld have been transferred to hospital HOURS earlier, so the 15 min ambulance ride from home doesn't sound much to me TBH! Took hours to get a MW to do more than pop her head round the door and tell me how ?all? first labours go before disappearing!

minipie Wed 12-Sep-12 20:30:47

I think you have to weigh up whether you'd be more relaxed at home, or more relaxed at a hospital where you knew emergency help was immediately to hand

very good point Cake. Hospitals don't make me anxious however not knowing what is happening does. So in that sense I would prefer the one on one attention of a home birth but had hoped I'd get that in an MLU. I'm a bit troubled by Lacking's views on MLUs... I had hoped I'd get pretty much one on one care there (in fact I think the website of mine promises that...)

MoonHare Wed 12-Sep-12 20:04:44

I had a mostly positive hospital birth experience with DC1 (there were issues that would not have occurred had we been at home but nothing that left me traumatised). That said, it was awful when DH had to leave, the post natal ward was horrendous and the staff less than friendly. Plus we had remained at home for the majority of my labour and I coped well. I didn't relish the thought of the 25 min journey into hospital again and I was confident I would be fine managing labour pain at home - so opted for home birth with DC2.

It was the best decision ever. A calm and relaxed experience. Better for DH too who felt more involved. I was 9cm when the mw arrived, I credit speedy dilation to being very relaxed.

But I identify with what you said OP about the nagging voice, whenever I heard it I pushed it to the back of my mind and reminded myself of all the reasons that HB was better for my baby, me, DH and DC1. The nagging voice is really the negative comments from others, family and strangers I think.

This makes interesting reading concerning the 'terrible things that can go wrong' during birth and where they are more likely to happen - home or hosp - and what can be done depending on where you are.

Remember a straightforward birth is normal not lucky.

PlentyOfPubeGardens Wed 12-Sep-12 19:27:30

Hi, I had a posterior HB with DS (my 2nd). It was more painful than my first hospital birth but at the same time it was a lot more relaxed, if that doesn't sound too contradictory. Being on all fours and wiggling my hips during contractions helped a lot.

ladydawnie Wed 12-Sep-12 19:19:02

My midwife said I'm low risk, however, even though I've lost 7 stone since the birth of my daughter, I'm still 0.5 over the bmi limit of what it considered 'low risk'. So the cut off limit is a bmi below 30, mine is 30.5. The midwife said that 'technically' I was advised not to have a HB but given the fact I'm right at the borderline that I could ignore that information! The midwives in my area would be more than happy for me to birth at home, unless anything changes obviously. Hmmmm I think I'm going to book one and see how things progress. Like everyone has pointed out, I can change my mind on the day and go to hospital if I want. I'm also thinking that if the baby is in a posterior position like my last one, then I'll go in. Back labour was just too much for me and I think I would feel safer in hospital where there's drugs available! Thanks for everyone's opinions, it's certainly helping me to weigh up the pros and cons. It's great to read all the articles available online but it's nice to hear from people who have some experience with home birthing x

CakeBump Wed 12-Sep-12 19:11:35

Yes Sparkle, I think you have to weigh up whether you'd be more relaxed at home, or more relaxed at a hospital where you knew emergency help was immediately to hand.

Personally, I think I will be more relaxed at home, so that's is what I am going for, for various reasons. It really helps that home birth is "normal" here - puts my mind at rest iyswim.

CityDweller Wed 12-Sep-12 19:10:42

I am hoping for a homebirth for first baby next year. I mentioned it to mw in my booking-in apt at 8 weeks and she was all for it. But I have no issue with the potential of having to revert to hospital birth if pregnancy becomes complicated or there's a whiff of trouble during delivery.

For some reason, homebirth has always felt 'right' to me. Probably enhanced by fact that my sister had a pretty hideous hospital birth experience with DC1 due to over-intervention and a lovely, peaceful one with DC2, who was born at home in a birthing pool. I also prefer the idea of a midwife to myself at home, as opposed to being left to my own devices in a mw-led birthing centre.

sparklekitty Wed 12-Sep-12 18:45:46

I'd like a homebirth but I think I'd be way too anxious that something might go wrong and that would probably make labour harder. I tried going for an in-between and going to a MLU but after some spotting they've said no and I have to go to hospital. I am slightly concerned about the 'cascade of intervention'.

If you feel happy doing it and you're low risk (I guess they usually say no if you're high risk anyway) then theres no reason you shouldn't do it x

ladydawnie Wed 12-Sep-12 18:36:07

Oh god, just read that back, the appalling spelling mistakes are due to me being on my phone, not pregnancy brain, honest! X

ladydawnie Wed 12-Sep-12 18:34:11

Wow, thanks for all your great opinions/stories and links! It's really helpful to hear what others think.
Someone (a family member!) told me home birth was selfish as I would be risking the health and safety of my baby just for my benefit of having the baby at home. So basically telling me yes, I might be nice and relaxed at home but my baby might die so why didn't I just go to hospital and play it safe! I know that's a bit ridiculous but when u are pregnant things easily upset you, well they do me anyway!
My reasons for wanting a HB are that I know I will be much more relaxed at home. I used to work in a hospital and I really don't like the places at all! In fact if I have to go to a hospital I get a bit panicky. I think it doesn't help that I found labour so painful last time. I laboured to 6cm at home no problem, but as soon as I got to hospital I panicked and the pains got worse, so I was then begging for an epidural! Due to my size last time the epidurals never really worked, do the pain was gone, but it came back quite quickly when the epidural failed. I also saw 4 different shift changes, so 4 different midwives through my labour, I never had glance to bond with just one or two.
I love the idea of having two midwives at my house for a HB, which is what is offered locally. We don't have a MLU so that's out anyway. The midwife I last saw has assured me that generally problems get spotted sooner at a HB and at first sign of any problems I would be blue lighted to the hospital which is about 15/20 mins away with normal driving, obviously quicker in an ambulance. But it does scare me to think I might have to wait for said ambulance. Id like to think I could try a HB and would know well in advance of a serious problem developing, so I could get to hospital before something terrible happens. I do also like the idea of a midwife being there to support me, in hospital last time they were in and out looking after other mums too, I felt very alone and scared despots having a fab husband.
Whatever I do choose I know that if I hada home birth that went wrong and ended badly, I would never forgive myself and would regret not just going to hospital!! Argh, decisions, decisions!

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