I love supporting home births. When a baby is born at home, it feels like Christmas morning… a sense of excitement and magic and peacefulness all at once.
There are MANY reasons why I believe in the importance of natural home birth, including the science behind home birth safety for healthy mothers having healthy pregnancies. But in addition to these, there are many extremely simple, practical reasons to consider home birth. In no particular order, here are just a few of them:
1. There’s no stress about deciding “Is it time to go?!”
There is a catch-22 in planned hospital births. On one hand, it is widely accepted that the less time you spend in the hospital, the lower your risk of medical interventions during your birth. Staying home as long as possible is often recommended by midwives, doctors, doulas, and nurses alike.
Of course, the longer you stay home, the closer you are to having your baby when you get in your car, drive to the hospital, fill out admissions paper work and find your room. At this point you are probably / hopefully experiencing strong birth sensations that are coming quite frequently. Usually, all you want to do at this point is stay exactly where you are and focus on birthing.
During a home birth, that’s exactly what you get to do! There is no anxiety about choosing the “right” time to go, avoiding going “to early” or “too late”; you call your support people when you want them to come, and when it is time, they stay with you until you have a baby.
2. You know where shit is
Driving around a parking lot trying to find parking and the correct entrance for admitting in the middle of the night. Wandering the halls of the hospital looking for coffee and hoping you don’t get lost for too long while your parter is birthing. Wondering if you’re allowed to get extra blankets or towels and who to ask or how to get them. These types of fun little adventures are made much easier in hospitals if you have a doula with you to show you the ropes, but can be avoided altogether during a home birth.
3. When the baby is born, you are already home
Don’t underestimate this one! When your new baby is born all you want to do is cuddle him or her, eat a home-cooked meal and have the best and most well-deserved sleep of your life after giving birth to a brand new person. In a home birth, you don’t have to do anything to make that happen! You are likely steps away from your cozy bed (if you’re not already in it), there is real food in the fridge that your partner or doula can prepare for you, you can bath or shower in your own tub and curl up with your own sheets and pillows.
4. There is more in your cupboards than snickers bars and stale egg salad sandwiches
Some births are quick, some births are long, ALL births require the birthing mother and her support people to be well nourished in order to keep energy levels up. Births often happen in the quiet of the night, outside of hospital-cafeteria hours. And even when the cafeteria is open, their food selection typically leaves a lot to be desired. Having a variety of nutritious, easy to digest foods on hand to eat during your birthing time is important. Partners (and doulas) can also keep their supportive stamina going for much longer if they have access to fridges, stoves and real food.
5. If you’ve chosen a good birth team, you will finish with a tidy house
When I attend a home birth, I don’t leave until the birth pool has been taken down, beds have been made, a load of laundry has been done and dishes have been tidied up. Home birth is not necessarily messier than a hospital birth; staying home for as long as possible always gives couples plenty of time to leave their house in a bit of birth-disarray before heading to the hospital. However, after a hospital birth, I don’t know of any doulas who will go back to your place to tidy up before you get home (and before she goes to bed to rest)! However, we’re typically keen to help tidy things up in a home birth while you and your family rest in bed and enjoy each other, and this is something all of my home birth clients always deeply appreciate!
6. You are free to roam around
Moving around freely and instinctively is a great way to facilitate smooth progress of childbirth. You can start to feel a bit like you’re on lock-down during hospital births, confined to your birthing suite. This isn’t entirely true; you are definitely free to pace the halls of the ward during your hospital birth, but it’s less private and comfortable than walking the halls of your own home.
7. You can actually have a water birth
Having a deep tub to use for comfort during birth and as an option for birthing you baby into is incredibly useful! The warm water and buoyancy provided by a deep tub often provides women with an incredible amount of comfort during childbirth. While your hospital may have tubs, they might not be available in all of the rooms and the size of tubs will often vary between hospitals and between rooms in the same hospital! Not only that, many hospitals are reluctant to support pushing in the water. At home, you can rent or purchase a big birthing pool (or your doula, birth attendant, or midwife may have one for client use). Most home birth attendants are extremely supportive of using tubs for comfort and for pushing.
8. If you have older kids, home birth = awesome
I cannot describe how amazing older siblings are at home births. In the comfort of their own homes, older siblings can play, rest, sleep and come check in on mom every now and then to show support (and they can be incredibly supportive!). Kids just seem to GET birth in a home setting. Hospitals are much more sterile and less cozy for older children to hang out in comfortably while they wait to meet their new brother or sister, often meaning they are at home being cared for by a friend or family member. *Note, even at a home birth, it is a good idea to have a person designated for childcare during birth, so both you and your child can have your needs met during the birth.
9. Wandering around in bare feet isn’t, umm, gross
Let’s face it. Hospitals don’t feel like the cleanest places in town. I love Jim Gaffigan’s sarcastic quote “At home?!.. Why?!… Didn’t you want to [birth] in that germ-infested building where sick people congregate?!”
Birth is primal. You are likely going to want to strip down, patter around in bare feet, or kneel down close to the floor where you feel supported and steady. At home you can do this without wondering about the eww-factor of having your body or bare feet on a hospital room floor!
For more posts like this one, make sure you’re following me on the Birth Takes a Village facebook page. And for more awesome birth photos, check out Apple Blossom Families on facebook, too. I love attending births along side birth photographers.
If you are looking for support during your home birth in Vancouver, consider contacting me to set up a free initial consultation. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about your options for childbirth.