You are an expecting mother and want to know about how to give birth at home. Sometimes, it is always good to know how to do so, in case you are in a remote place where it is difficult to fetch a gynecologist or an obstetrician immediately.
Giving birth at home was the norm before the advent of hospitals and birth centers. As a matter of fact, it is a norm even today in a number of developing countries, where the woman may not have access to medical care or may not be able to afford medical care. Today, delivering at home can mean either attended or unattended childbirth. The delivery takes place in a non-clinical setting at home. Normally, natural childbirth methods are used for home birth as well. In attended childbirth, the help of a midwife or an attendant expert in managing the delivery is sought for.
There are many reasons why women in the developed world opt for home birth. The most prominent reason is that they want to give birth in familiar surroundings as opposed to in hospitals or birth centers. They feel more comfortable in the intimate atmosphere at home.
How to Give Birth Safely At Home
Giving birth at home allows the woman to be in better command over the birthing place and experience. Let’s see the steps you will have to take so that home birth is free of any complication.
Understand Your Medical History
If you are planning for a home birth, you will want to talk to your obstetrician or gynecologist about the same. You will have to check if you have any complications in your pregnancy. At the same time, discuss if child birthing at home is safe for your medical condition. Home births are recommended in low risk pregnancies, and also when the position of the baby is apt. If there is an umbilical cord around neck at birth, then you may not want to take the risk of home birth.
Looking for home-birthing assistants is an important step. They are professionals who are trained in attending women during births. They are able to provide limited medical care. These professionals are trained in administering oxygen, both to the mother and child in case of an emergency. They are also well-versed with handling conditions like shoulder dystocia, repairing perineal tears, resuscitating infants, postpartum hemorrhage, etc. Before you finalize on a professional, you may want to interview a few professionals. You may want to have a word with other women, who have been assisted by these professionals in the past about their experience with the concerned professional.
Coordination between the Home-birthing Professional and Doctor
It is important to have the home-birthing professional coordinate with your obstetrician/gynecologist. This will keep the health care provider informed about your health so that in case of an emergency, the obstetrician/gynecologist is ready.
Keep a backup plan in place after talking to both the home-birthing professional as well as your obstetrician/gynecologist. The plan will prove to be useful in case of any complication. No time will be wasted in arranging for basic needs, in case of an emergency.
In hospitals, basic requirements of the labor area are already set up. Although you want to go into labor at home, you will have to do so in a clean area. When you are close to the end of your pregnancy, get all the required equipment in place in the birthing area. The most common instruments you will require include birthing balls, cotton towels, pillows, cotton, bandages, antiseptic, cord clams, sutures, under pads, etc. You may want to place a plastic sheet on the bed so as not to ruin the bed in the process of giving birth.
Stock Up on Baby Items
After arranging for the supplies required in the labor area, you will also want to stock up on baby items, like diapers, baby clothes, baby blankets, bottles, formula milk, etc. Formula milk is better to be kept handy in case of problems, and if the baby needs more milk, etc.
Relax Till It’s Time
Once everything is in place, you will want to wait till the cervix dilates. Activities, like walking around, a warm bath, a back massage, etc., often tend to be useful in relieving contraction pain. The midwife will have to conduct a regular examination to know how far the cervix has dilated. When the cervix is dilated and you have reached the last stage of labor, move to the birthing area as you can deliver any time.
Complications and Possible Solutions
Baby is slow to breathe
Stimulate the baby by rubbing its skin, or provide manual suctioning through mouth/nose.
Blood loss after birth
If midwives aren’t able to control bleeding, which may be due to postpartum hemorrhage, they should call for an ambulance immediately, and in the meanwhile, provide manual compression of the womb and give intravenous fluids.
Labor is slow in the second stage
If the midwives assisting in home birth feel that the labor is progressing slowly, they should make immediate arrangements to transfer the pregnant woman to the hospital.
Looped umbilical cord
If the cord is looped loosely, it can be unlooped easily; however, if the cord is too tight causing distress to the baby, then it’s best to transfer the mother to the hospital.
These are some basic tips on home birth. The birthing style is different for different women. Some may prefer to lie down through the entire labor. Others may keep changing their positions, etc. Last but not the least, make sure you have consulted your obstetrician/gynecologist about home birth and whether it is safe for you to consider the option.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be substituted for the advice of a medical professional.