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A home birth takes a bit of preparation, but actually not much in the way of gear or equipment.
You'll need some plastic sheets to protect your bed and floor coverings (first things first), good lighting so your midwife can see what's going on, clean towels and a blanket to wrap your baby in. Pleasingly minimalist.
You'll also still need to pack an overnight bag for hospital, which contains your pregnancy notes (and birth plan if you have one) in case you end up being transferred to hospital.
Home births are not recommended if:
you're expecting more than one baby
your baby is in a breech position
you've complications such as placenta praevia or pre-eclampsia
you've a health condition such as epilepsy
you're fewer than 38 weeks pregnant when you go into labour (some areas say 37 weeks)
NHS guidelines say two midwives must be present for a home delivery. You can also hire an independent midwife who will look after you throughout your pregnancy.
Questions for your midwife:
How will they handle any complications?
What emergency equipment will they bring?
If you want a water birth, will your floor take the weight of a pool?
If you live a long way from hospital, what happens if you need to be transferred?
Can they do stitches if you need them?
Other things to think about:
If you already have children, you'll want someone else available to keep them occupied during the birth - even at short notice.
Check your partner, if you have one, is as committed to the idea of a home birth as you are. You don't want them having second thoughts when you're in transition.
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Get tips on planning a home birth
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