Planning a home birth can be about the additional preparation so it is a comfortable and realistic option for you.
Think about how you can use your home
The beauty of being at home is that you can wander and potter as you want, the space is yours but you may need a space to settle in, especially if you are using a birth pool.
- if you are want to use a birth pool, where will that be? will it be easy to fill there?
- where can the midwives be? is there a space for your midwife to sit and observe, listen and fill in her paperwork?
- where can the midwives set up their kit? is there a space for the birth kit so it can be slightly apart from your birth space so it doesn’t disturb you. Sometimes it can look and feel like the hospital has come to you and this may need thinking about.
- do you have a downstairs loo? you may reach a point in labour where you don’t want to do the stairs anymore so this can influence where you settle. You can of course pee in the pool and into a bucket.
Home birth kit list – In addition to your birth bag, it is helpful to have these items available:
* birth pool
* waterproof pads to protect your bed or chairs – pop some in your bedroom and the living room and you can use these as you need them
* old sheets/towels for the floor rather than waterproof sheets which can be slippy – have a pile of these available and you can use them as you need them
* bin bags for washing
* a bowl or a bucket in case you are sick
* desk light
* birth ball
* soft lighting with lamps, candles and fairy lights
* snacks, tea & coffee – for you and your midwives
* bowl for water
* a dressing gown and socks in case you want be warm and cosy
What does your midwife bring to a home birth?
- equipment for a routine birth, which includes pads, surgical scissors
- specialist kit for bloodloss and baby resuscitation
- entonox will most probably be delivered in advance but your midwife will let you know about this
Looking after your home birth space
Chances are you are planning a home birth because you want a calm, familiar space to labour in, which you can have more control over. So it may be important for you to labour in a quiet space without disruption so you can focus on your breathing and be as relaxed as possible, without tension.
It’s worth telling your midwife this and writing it down on a birth plan so she can match your needs.
My experience of home birth
I had home births with my first two children because this felt like the right choice for me – where I felt safe and I knew I could transfer into hospital if I needed more pain relief. Both involved a birthing pool and they were straightforward – the first was over several hours, while the second was less than an hour and I’m really pleased I was at home.
What has surprised me most – from my first home birth experience 22 years ago (which was mine) to my last home birth experience (as a doula) – is how much chat there can be, how busy it can get and how the birth kit can take over the space, leaving it feeling and looking quite medical.
My tips are to:
- prepare well for the practicalities, writing your birth plan and birth confidence.
- talk to your midwife about these practicalities, what they might need and how they can support your calm birth space.
- have options with towels, sheets and waterproof mats so you can settle where you feel most comfortable
- consider your options if labour is fast, especially if this isn’t your first baby.
I am on hand with consultations to be on hand during your pregnancy and to help you prepare for labour and birth.
As a doula I work with parents from across Newcastle and Tyneside.
How can I help?
Copyright: Janine Smith