Provider Member, N.E.W. Birth Options PMA

 
About Homebirth

What to expect at a homebirth

Whether planning an unassisted birth at home, or one with a birth attendant, the environment of a homebirth is very different than that of a hospital birth. At home you have control over such things as, where you labor, mobility during labor, laboring and birthing positions, lighting, environmental noise, eating and drinking, those in attendance, and much, much more. Giving birth in the comfort of your own home can relieve stresses and pressures that could otherwise impede the progression of your labor. Labors tend to be shorter and easier when women feel comfortable and are uninhibited. There is no need to impress and no pressure to progress within a certain time limit. A woman at home is free to be herself, to be intimate, and to be at liberty to do what she feels is most beneficial for her and her baby. Occasionally, midwives will have certain limitations on some of these freedoms, but usually only when they feel there is a risk to Mother’s or Baby's wellbeing.

The initial thought of birthing without the technology available in hospitals may seem intimidating, but the truth is that birth is safe. Natural, undisturbed birth is safe and it is when interventions are used that birth can become a medical event and therefore is risky. It is true that some women have preexisting concerns that may place them in a position where birth with medical technology is a good idea. But for most women, birth is safest when it takes place in an environment where mom is supported and loved and where she feels most comfortable.
Most likely the conception of this child began at home. It is only natural that the birth take place at home also. Childbirth is a natural process and when treated as such the outcomes can be incredible. Imagine what life would be like if we attended hospitals during conception. The thought of that is simply ridiculous because the process of conception is a natural part of life. So, too, is the birthing process, and absent of any predisposed limiting conditions, should always be treated as such.
What to expect once the baby arrives

Once your baby arrives, and assuming everything went well (as the majority of births do), chances are your midwife, if you have hired one, will keep your baby attached at the umbilical cord and hand him/her directly to you. This prolonged attachment ensures that your baby receives every possible benefit from the placenta, including nutrients, blood, and oxygen. This also gives your baby extra time to begin breathing on their own for the first time. The cord may be cut after it stops pulsing, after expulsion of the placenta, or may even remain attached while the umbilicus heals. Research “Lotus Birth” for more information. The placenta is an amazing organ, and may be kept for its many wonderful benefits to mother and baby. For more information on the placenta, click here.

With baby still attached to mom, you can be certain that your baby will remain right with you and not be taken somewhere for routine health checks. Your midwife will check your baby's initial condition and may encourage you to begin breastfeeding right away. Breastfeeding also helps to expel the placenta naturally and in a timely manner.

This initial and immediate bonding that takes place in the first few moments helps to solidify and encourage the natural, intimate relationship that quickly develops between a mother and her new baby. These babies tend to breastfeed better and become lovingly and emotionally attached to mom in a healthy way.

At home a simple health assessment can be done quickly by a midwife and the detailed newborn exam can be put off until later so mother and baby can bond. At that later exam a midwife may want to weigh and measure and do a complete assessment of your baby's health, but she does not want to interfere with nature's special bonding experience. These are the moments that most birth attendants cherish and respect.
If you are considering homebirth for the first time, do your research. Spend time learning all of your options. Look up information on the internet and in books about the safety and process of homebirth from those who have done it. Ask lots of questions, especially when you are looking into hiring a particular midwife. Realize that you are the person responsible for the decisions made and the outcomes of those decisions. Develop an honest and trustworthy relationship with anyone who will be in attendance at your birth. If there is friction at your birth, there may be delays in progression. All energy and attention will need to be given to the task at hand. Labor can be the toughest yet most satisfying job you will ever do, and it is important to muster up all your strength and energy for that moment.
A Mother's Suggested Supply List for Homebirth:

This is a suggested supply list for you to gather up prior to your 36th week of pregnancy. It is not necessarily a complete list, nor is every item necessary at every birth, but having things ready is helpful so that you are not searching for things in the hours/days following the birth. If you have hired a midwife check with her to see if there are other things that she may want you to have on hand.

- *Clean towels
- *Clean sheets
- *Clean washcloths (for hot compresses)
- Clean, frozen wet washcloths (for cool relief for Mom)
- *Pack of baby washcloths
- *Receiving blankets

- Working crock pot (for hot compresses)
- *Tongs (to grab thing out of crock pot)
- *Sharp sterile scissors (to cut cord)
- 2 medium sized buckets/bowls (one for nausea and one for the placenta)
- Table or cleared surface (to place things out on)
- Bottle of hydrogen peroxide (gets blood stains out of rugs and beds)
- Bottle of olive oil (good for baby massages and keeping first stools from sticking to baby’s bottom)
- Herbs to help with pain and clotting (see suggestions below)
- Light, healthy snacks and juices (for mom to keep her strength during labor) - Plastic sheet protectors (cheap shower curtain liners work great)
- Chucks pads (disposable absorbent pads)
- Maxi pads- (for the days following birth)
- Nursing pads
- *Peri-bottle (to keep vaginal area clean in days following birth)
- *Umbilical cord clamp or sterile cross stitching thread

- Large garbage bags (one for garbage, one for dirty laundry)
- Gallon Ziploc bags (double bag placenta until you can process it)

- Items to be included in hospital bag (in case of transfer)
All items should be clean. Items with a * should be sterilized and stored by placing into clean PAPER grocery bags. The lids should be folded down and duct taped shut until birth. Sterilizing helps to ensure that they are clean and ready whenever the big day comes. When sterilizing items such as sheets, receiving blankets, towels etc… run them in the dryer for an additional 30 minutes after they are completely dry.
Vitamins and Herbs
Helpful herbs that you may consider having on hand at the time of your birth…

Nettles or Dandelion Leaf Tinctures - Promotes good health throughout the pregnancy.
Olive Oil - Rub on baby's bum to prevent meconium from sticking to skin.
Vitamin K - (Mom can take for 8 weeks prior to delivery to help in clotting after birth. (Do not take if you are prone to blood clots) Mom can continue taking for 8-10 weeks after delivery (to pass along to baby through breast milk) in lieu of Vitamin K injection or oral Vit K for baby at delivery.
Shepherd's Purse tincture - Can be taken right after delivery to aid in clotting and help prevent hemorrhage. 15-30 drops in tea or warm water, 1-3 times a day for 1-2 days.
Mother's Wort tincture - Take as needed to ease pain and cramping through the first 3-4 days. 20-30 drops in tea or warm water 3 times a day.
St. John's Wort tincture - As needed for general discomfort and help with Post Partum Depression. 30 drops in tea or warm water 3 times a day.
Your Placenta - To learn of the many benefits that your placenta has to offer, please click here
It is of vital importance that each and every woman plan to give birth in an environment that she feels safe in and with support of the people/professionals that she desires.
Homebirth, hospital birth, birth center birth, midwife attended birth, unattended birth… they are all choices. No one way is right or wrong. It is my belief that choices should be made based on an awareness of available options and on understanding the benefits and risks associated with those choices. I wish you the very best as you discover your birthing options and make the choices that are right for you and your baby.


For more information about hospital birth, click here.

For more information about having the support of a professional doula at your homebirth, click here.

"300,000 women will be giving birth with you today. Relax and breathe and do nothing else. Labor is hard work, it hurts and you can do it."
- Author Unknown
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