About Homebirth

What to expect at a homebirth

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 the mother's or baby's wellbeing.

Initially the thought of birthing without certain technologies available 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 more risky. It is true that some women have preexisting conditions and birthing in the hospital 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 takes 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

Most homebirths go smoothly and when they do you can easily keep your baby attached at the umbilical cord and immediately hold him/her for as long as you want. 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 any time after it stops pulsing, after expulsion of the placenta, or may even remain attached while the umbilicus heals. Research "Lotus Birth" for more information.

With baby still attached, you can be certain that your baby will remain right with you and not be taken somewhere for routine work. At home 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 your midwife and the detailed newborn exam can be put off until later so mother and baby can bond. At that later exam your midwife will weight and measure and do a complete assessment of your baby's health. Midwives tend to be gentle while examining newborns, giving baby the feeling of safety and security and keeping him/her as close to mom as possible. Midwives do not want to interfere with nature and cherish these first moments between mother and baby.

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 to hire a 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 of your energy and attention will need to be focused on the task at hand. Labor can be the toughest yet most satisfying job you will ever do. Doing it your way will be not only rewarding but empowering to you as a mother and woman.

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... these are all choices. No one way is right or wrong. Your birth choices should be made with careful consideration of the benefits and risks associated with them. Explore the options that are available in your area. You deserve to be treated with love and respect during your entire pregnancy, delivery and postpartum period. This is a day that you will remember for the rest of your life so make your choices wisely.

Some scrolling photos courtesy of:
Gingersnap Studios