Home Birth Safety | Tips and Advice

There are many reasons as to why someone would decide on home birth. Going through labor in a familiar place with the people you want around is definitely one of them. Many people choose home birth for religious reasons or they simply have a preferred labor position. Before deciding on your birthing options make sure to consult a medical professional. They should be able to tell you what to expect and the potential dangers of giving birth in a home setting. 

If your doctor gave you the green light for a home birth, here are some safety tips for you to consider. 

Do your research

The first step you will need to take on your home birth journey is to do your research. You are going to need someone to help you with the delivery. If you are giving birth at home this will likely be a midwife. We recommend you to start looking for a reliable and licensed midwife with ample experience. You will have to do the interview process yourself so make sure you check how many births they have attended as midwives. Ideally, try to find someone who has an assistant as well. Make sure your midwife has direct contact with a hospital or a doctor in case of an emergency. 

Emergency plan

One of the biggest drawbacks of home birth comes to light in an emergency situation. Keep in mind that your midwife might suggest you go to a hospital even before your labor starts if there are any complications or if your baby is not in the right position. Make sure your midwife knows how to support you in an emergency situation, and has the equipment to do so.

Be in contact with a hospital

It’s recommended that you get some of your examinations done in a hospital before your due date. In case of an emergency if you need to be transferred to a hospital during your labor you don’t want to spend valuable time on them running tests. Make sure they have everything available and ready to help you in case something doesn’t go according to plan. 

Choose your support team

It’s a good idea to have at least one birthing partner. The obvious choice for that might be your partner or a close friend but it’s entirely up to you. It can be a friend or you can even hire a doula to help you through your labor. Their job is to be there for you emotionally, keep you informed about things you can’t see while giving birth, and to comfort you throughout your labor and delivery. 

Check your insurance

Most insurance policies will not cover home birth itself but they might cover some of your examinations if they are done at a hospital. Make sure you know what’s exactly included and make changes in advance if necessary. 

Manage expectations

No doubt you have envisioned your home birth many times before the big day and you probably have a plan as of how you want things to happen.

Keep in mind that home birth has its risks so it’s very important to be well prepared. Manage your expectations and listen to your health care providers. Keep in mind that your and your baby’s health is the most important and there might be many reasons as to why your doctor or midwife would recommend you against giving birth at home even at the last minute. 

Things sometimes don’t go as planned so be flexible. You should also have a Plan B in case your midwife can’t make it, or if the birth process doesn’t progress. Make sure everyone on your support team knows who to contact in case of an emergency as well. 

Choose your location

Think about which room you feel the most comfortable at and also take the room’s size into consideration especially if you are planning on water birth.
Make sure you keep your options open though. If your original plan was to give birth in your bed but your labor is not progressing you might want to have a different setup somewhere else as backup. 

Get the supplies

Home birth can be quite messy so stock up on some plastic sheets and towels. Talk to your midwife and they will likely have a list of supplies they want you to get before your due date (gloves, gauze, etc.) You should have some light meals ready for the big day and make sure you have plenty of water available as you should stay hydrated. Get some comfortable, loose clothing that is easy to get in and out of. You can even get a delivery gown to feel more at ease. You should also have non-prescription painkillers and anti-nausea medicine available to help you ease some of the pain and discomfort. Make sure the brands you chose are suitable for pregnant women. Prepare for an emergency in advance. Have a hospital bag ready with all necessities and make sure that the baby’s car seat is already installed well before your due date. 

Pets

We recommend you find someone to look after your pets during your labor. You will probably find it difficult to look after them while you are in labor (Feeding, walking, etc.). It’s understandable that you want your whole family near you however there will be people around, and it will be an unusual situation for them with strange noises and smells that can heighten their anxiety. If you can’t get anyone to look after your pet we recommend crating them during your labor. They can easily get in the way and it might be an unnecessarily stressful experience for them. 

After home birth 

Your midwife should be able to help you with this but make sure your baby’s paperwork for their birth certificate is filled out correctly. You have to file it within the time period your county requires. Your midwife will likely provide some form of aftercare however we recommend you contact your chosen pediatrician after giving birth as well. They should check up on your baby and have all their information as they will be in charge of their vaccinations and other care in the future. 

Home birth can be a beautiful and intimate experience for many but it is extremely important to be well prepared. There are many risks that come hand in hand with it. Keep in mind that no matter what, your and your child’s safety is the most important and you should be flexible with your birth plans especially in case of an emergency. 

Have you experienced home birth? What have you done to prepare for it? Let us know down in the comments.

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