Are you considering having a home birth? Giving birth at home is both natural and safe, but you need to make sure that you have the right advice and support in place and are connecting with the right professionals to ensure the birth goes as smoothly as possible. This post is not about the medical side of preparing for a home birth for that you need to speak to your midwife. I am just a mother of four who has prepared to give birth 3 times (twins!) In this article, we’ll talk about home birthing and some of the practical steps that you can take when deciding on your birth plan and when preparing for a home birth.
When you are pregnant the first proper meeting you will have with be your booking in appointment with your midwifery team. This is a great time to say that you are hoping for a home birth. Everyone has the right to give birth in their own home if they choose. There may be a local midwifery team specifically for those preparing for a home birth, but if there is no specialist team, then the hospital should supply you with a midwife for your home.
You midwife will visit you and talk you through what you can expect when you are in labour.
Understand the Process
It is essential that you understand the process that you will go through when you give birth. This will give you the confidence you’ll need for your home birth. You should ask as many questions as you feel you need to. It is normal to be nervous if you haven’t given birth before and your health professionals will more than happy to answer your queries. I would recommend talking to them or taking a course such as NCT or did you know that Mokee (nursery brand) are offering online birthing classes run by a midwife
Practical Steps you can take when preparing for a home birth
Prepare Your Home
Labour proofing your home means getting a large stack of clean towels, some old sheets or a shower curtain, a bucket for if you are sick and a way to warm yourself up if you get cold.
You may want to look at birthing pools. These can be bought or borrowed and are easy to inflate and fill when required. Think about having candles or fairy lights to set the mood and make things more relaxing.
You may want to think about how you would like the room to smell. Is there a particular scent that relaxes you? Or is there some music that you would love to have playing during labour?
Don’t forget to have lots of tea and biscuits for the midwife.
Don’t forget to pack yourself a hospital bag in advance just in case you need to be transferred.
I would also recommend a tens machine. I found this really helped at the start of labour at least. You can either buy or hire these. This is the one that I used:
Preparing Your Mind and Body
While you are pregnant you may consider attending a weekly pregnancy yoga class. This will help with flexibility and energy while making stretching easier. Yoga is also great for preparing for birth as it will help you connect your breathing with your body. It will also get you used to being in forward-leaning opening positions that you will need to adopt during labour.
From 36 weeks, get in the habit if going for regular walks. This will help your baby get into the right position for birth.
You should also give yourself time to relax. Take regular baths. Light some candles and focus on your deep breathing and learn to soften your muscles. You might find that meditation tracks are helpful during this period. They certainly helped me.
You might also think about looking into hypnobirthing. Unfortunately I was never able to have my natural births that I had hoped for, but I still found the hypnobirthing techniques useful when managing pain.
Final hints and tips when preparing for a home birth
When preparing your birth plan and preparing for a home birth you do need to remember that your baby can’t read and doesn’t know the plan. Hopefully you will get the birth experience that you hope for and your midwives will of course advise you on what is safest for you and your baby, but even with the best planning baby can decide differently. This is something to worry about though.
I really hoped for a calm, relaxed hypnobirthing with my first child. This wasn’t to be and I ultimately had a C section. To start with I was very disappointed and sad about this, but mummies to be I promise you Birth is Birth and all you really want is a healthy you and a healthy baby. That said I very much hope that all of you reading this will be able to have their positive birthing experience and enjoy preparing for a home birth.