Home birth: what should I know

You may be a potential candidate for a home birth if you have had one or more previous pregnancies that were free of complications and that ended in straightforward vaginal deliveries. Even then, no two pregnancies can be guaranteed to follow the same pattern,so be prepared to change your plans if this pregnancy turns out differently.

It is within your right to have your baby at home, but it will be your responsibility to identify the people who will look after you, so find out whether your own OB is prepared to care for you during pregnancy and home delivery. If she cannot help, there may be another local Ob who can help. Your health insurer can give you the names of provider in your area with a special interest in pregnancy and childbirth.

You can contact your local midwifes to visit you at home to discuss your plans for home delivery.

Possible complications:

-Blood loss after the birth (postpartum haemorrhage):

Midwives at home births carry the same drugs which are used to expel the placenta and contract the uterus as would be used in hospital. If these do not control the bleeding, the midwife would call an ambulance to transfer you to hospital, and undertake other emergency measures in the meantime, such as giving intravenous fluids and manually compressing your womb.

-Baby slow to breathe

Your midwife will have equipment to manually resuscitate a baby that is slow to breathe after a spontaneous vaginal birth (straightforward birth). The methods used to resuscitate a newborn at home include:

stimulating baby by rubbing the skin,
manual suctioning of mouth and nose, or
ventilating (giving oxygen) via a special bag and mask which the midwife carries.

-Emergency c-section

Any unplanned caesarean is referred to as an 'emergency' but true emergency caesareans are rare. Women who end up needing a caesarean after planning a home birth usually do so after lack of progress in labor, when neither mother nor baby are in immediate danger.

-Looped umbilical cord

Around 1 in 3 babies are born with the umbilical cord looped around their neck. This does not prevent the baby from being born vaginally: in most cases the cord is loose enough to be unlooped. The midwife would always be monitoring the baby's heart rate and would deal with this situation at home the same way as in hospital. If baby's heart rate indicated that the cord was tight enough to cause distress, then transfer to hospital would go ahead.

Moms Expertise
    8Theresa Gould
    I have had three home births and am so very grateful for them. One was even unassisted because our midwife got stopped by the police and missed our son's birth by five minutes!
    About Elena Voznyuk
    Current: Anoka, Minnesota
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