Home birth takes place in your private residence, under the supervision of professionals instead of the hospital. It could also be a water birth if you choose.
"People seek home birth for many reasons. Many people want to be heard, have their privacy respected or have their family present at the birth when hospitals in their area might not allow that " says experts.
Unlike free birth where there is no assistance from a licensed midwife or obstetrician, planned home birth is different. And it can be safe for many women.
Planned home birth where a licensed midwife is present has been associated with a reduced rate of obstetrics intervention, like C sections, and other critical post-delivery outcomes.
A study by the Canadian medical association on planned home births from the year 2000 - 2004 in British Columbia, Canada shows that planned home births with a midwife present, had a low rate of infant death or dangerous health complications in the mothers, compared with planned hospital births attended by midwives and doctors.
Benefits of Planned Home Birth
Planned home birth has several health benefits for both mother and baby. These includes:
- Improves parent-infant attachment.
- Decreases chances of postpartum depression.
- Reduces chances of genital trauma.
- Provides the opportunity to move freely while in labor and take advantage of multiple spaces.
- Offers little to no risk of maternal infection.
- Helps reduce the cost of delivery.
- Gives pregnant women more control over birthing decisions.
What a Typical Home Birth Entails
To have a home birth, it is important to confirm with your doctor that your pregnancy is a low-risk one. This helps reduce the chances of medical emergencies that would require the immediate aid of medical equipment.
Medical experts suggest that an at-home birth should happen within 15 minutes of a hospital.
It is also important to choose a licensed midwife with lots of experience in delivering babies.
For planned home births, midwives bring the equipment necessary to closely monitor and access you and your baby. These types of equipment will ensure that no complications develop as your labor progresses.
During labor progression, a midwife might do the following:
- Check your vital signs in the early stages of labor.
- Monitor your respiration, and check your pulse and temperature.
- Use a doppler (handheld ultrasound) to check your baby's heartbeat. This can alert them to potential complications and how well your baby is tolerating labor.
It is important to note that despite having a low-risk pregnancy and a licensed midwife attending to your birth, there is a chance that you might still need to go to the hospital on the delivery day.
You will need to go to the hospital if your baby is in distress if your labor is not progressing or if you cannot tolerate the pain anymore and need medications like an epidural.
Tips When Preparing for a Home Birth:
- Protect your mind and keep your thoughts in a positive place. Only tell people that will be supportive of your birthing plan.
- Choose a great team of professional assistants. Pick professionals you feel comfortable with and trust.
- If you have children already, make preparations for their care and supervision. This will help you face your delivery with a calm mind.
- Prepare your space for delivery. We suggest you choose a calming place that will reduce stress, adrenaline, frustration, and irritation.
- Prepare for the birthing process by watching important tutorials concerning at-home birth.
- Prepare your partner to support you.
- Prepare your birth kit. Your birth kit should contain Items like; pads, disinfectant, plastic lined tablecloth to protect your bed, towels, teas, disposable underwear, and everything else recommended by your midwife.
- Set up a playlist of meditations/words of affirmation, get a yoga ball, pregnancy pillow, and any other thing that can provide you comfort while in labor.
- Consider getting a birthing stool. It provides perfect support to sit in an upright squat position. This will help bring the baby to your pelvis.
When Should you Opt for a Home Birth?
The most important factor to consider when deciding whether to opt for a home birth or not is safety. You cannot have a home birth if your baby is breached, more than one or you have had a CS in previous pregnancies.
There are several other conditions that should be ruled out too. Confirm with your doctor before opting for a home birth.
What To Consider Before Making The Decision for a Home Birth in Nigeria?
In Nigeria, it is important to consider the experience of the professional(s) who will care for you. Make detailed research about them, and the number of delivery cases they have handled.
It is important that they have some experience with complicated births, as that will be very helpful in case of complications.
Again, before you have a home birth in Nigeria, remember that the medical equipment here is not as advanced as those in other countries.
Ensure that your home is a short drive away from a good hospital with experienced doctors. You can also use a relative's house if it is a better option.
Mama, are you willing to try delivery through a home birth? Let's know in the comment section!