Pregnancy App Article: "Planning a home birth"

Week 37
Planning a home birth
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Make your baby feel at home
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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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I gave birth on the edge of the sofa with a beanbag behind me, which was very comfortable. After the birth I snuggled down on the sofa while my daughter had a feed and the midwives tidied up and made tea.
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Ten minutes after my home birth, my other kids came in to meet their baby brother and were thrilled.
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My son was born with a severe infection and had to be whisked to an ITU within minutes, where he spent the next few days fighting for his life. Giving birth isn't just about you, it's also about your baby and the unforeseen things that can happen, which is why I'd have any subsequent babies in a hospital.
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Get tips on planning a home birth
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