Home Birth experiences

Hi Ladies, happy Friday! Last week of the second trimester and starting to feel knackered and heavy so glad it's finally the end of the week!

I was planning to have my baby at a birthing centre but the more I read up about Home Births, the more attractive it sounds. I'm really all for no intervention unless baby is struggling and needing help and starting to worry about 'routine' early sweeps and inductions and even examinations in hospital and know that this is much reduced with a home birth. If anyone could share their experiences for or against I'd be really grateful.

Thanks as always :) xx

18 Replies

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  • Not my own experience but my friend has had both her babies at hone even though she lives about 40 mins from nearest hospital. She's had two 'textbook' deliveries with the last one only being 1hr and 45 mins! She loves being comfortable in her own home with all her luxuries at her fingertips and likes the fact that you have 2 community midwives all to yourself.

    It's obviously not for everyone but I think it really comes down to making the right decision for you and whatever gives you that peace of mind. Once you've made the right decision you'll know as you get a feeling of calm about the whole thing (I did anyway!) xx

  • Hi Genine, will it be your first birth? x

  • Hi, yes it will x

  • One of my friends recently had a home water birth, which sounded great - was quick and she found it more relaxing, being at home.

    On the other hand, and not meaning to scare you, but another friend was due to have a home birth, but after struggling, ended up in hospital (I honestly can't remember what the complications were, but they were minor complications)

    I know I've just mentioned a home birth which didn't go exactly to plan, BUT it's not often that it happens, and if (God forbid), there were complications, then the midwives are trained in these situations (and also know how to spot early signs of complications) and, if needbe, call an ambulance.

    I think that if it appeals to you, that you're not having any problems and if your midwife hasn't advised you not to do it...then I say go for it!!

    Sorry if this reply is of my usual rambling nature, but I hope it helps! X

  • I wanted a home birth first time, but didn't want to end up in my local hospital if I needed help, so opted for the midwife-led unit. Lo was back to back and slow to progress so I was ambulanced to the hospital which was about 15 minutes, with blue lights flashing, away. However, it was good news, because the bumpy ride helped me to fully dilate and I was 10 cm when I got to the hospital and with a small cut my lo was born naturally with just midwives in attendance.

    We have moved areas and I am really looking forward to having a home birth this time, I've got a birthing pool and am looking forward to having all my things around me and not having to get into the car whilst in labour. If I have to go to hospital, so be it, but hopefully because I am at home it will work out as I would like. I'm 34+2weeks and both my midwife and I think this lo is back to back at the moment, if you reply to this, I will keep the email and try to remember to let you know how I get on in 6-8 weeks time!

    I have a friend who has given birth at home to both her children and she had a wonderful experience.

    Plan to have a home birth, talk it through with your midwife (my mw is very excited I want one) if at the last minute you change your mind you can go into the birthing unit. It's your choice.

  • Hi, I am 38 weeks pregnant and I am hoping to have a home birth with my first baby. I have been low risk through out my pregnancy so far and the baby is currently in the best position (I wouldn't opt for a home birth if not). I have a heated birthing pool in my front room which I tried out for the first time last night. It was lovely and relaxing. I was really nervous when I first decided to have a home birth but the midwives have been so fantastic about it the last few weeks they have really put my mind at rest. I do live very close to the hospital (3 mins) but even if I was a little further away I think I would still opt for a home birth. When talking to my midwife she told me that the majority of ladies that end up being transferred into hospital from a home birth do of their own choice because they either change their mind or want extra pain relief, rather than because something has gone wrong. She also said that they monitor you extra closely when you are at home and are always over cautious about anything that could potentially go wrong, and will transfer you for the tiniest thing that they would not necessarily worry about in a hospital, which I think is a good thing. The reason I have chosen to have a home birth is because I really hate hospitals, I was really keen to have a water birth and I like the idea of being able to walk around with plenty of space in a place I feel comfortable. I also feel happier knowing that I have a midwife with me who is not going to run off and leave us on our own every 5 minutes. I understand that there is a 50/50 chance I would end up having my baby in hospital anyway, due to potential problems/induction due to being overdue/staff shortages etc, so I am going into this with the attitude that I may have to go in but if I don't then it is a bonus. Good luck to you and I hope we all have the safe, relaxing birth experiences that we want x

  • Following on from the above, I have 2 friends that both opted for home births. Both of them had to be transferred in for different reasons but they still say they are glad they chose a home birth and would chose a home birth again for their next babies.

  • Hi Genine, I have planned to have all of my 4 so far at home and except for my first where I agreed to be induced because 'overdue' (big regrets! - but a unique lovely birth in spite of the setting) they were all wonderful home births. I am planning my 5th home birth within the next few weeks too! Without a medical reason to be elsewhere I would never choose anything else for all the reasons you mention - I believe that birth just works better when you are less interfered with. My husband also benefitted a lot from the non-medical setting (he really struggled with hospital). There is a real issue of territory - at home the sense of your control in decision making is incredibly different. The sense of comfort you get from your own surroundings can't be underestimated - as Winnie says not having to get in the car is awesome, and your body can just get on with what it needs to do!

    Although there is a high-ish transfer rate with first births I think as people's stories have already made clear the decision to transfer in should be in your hands when your midwives explain what concerns they may have. My advice would be to look into what 'risks' you see as important in advance. For example a long labour would make some midwives very nervous but for many women (and even after 4 babies I am still one of them!) longer labours are normal and while the baby's heart rate is looking healthy and I am not exhausted it would never be a reason for me to transfer. There is nothing worse than having a nervous midwife undermining your own confidence on that kind of thing. Areas where there is a dedicated home birth team tend to have midwives who are comfortable with less management of birth and less clock watching. If you are getting a midwife who's main experience of birth is in a hospital setting she is likely to apply the protocols she worked under there to you at home (this many hours for first stage of labour... this many for pushing...) if you see what I mean. I've had 2 home births under a community/hospital team and one under a dedicated home birth team - it made a world of difference to how relaxed and supported I felt. The thing is even if you get a midwife who is more 'management' like that you are still very much in control of whether you want to follow advice or not but might need more critical faculties than you have in advanced labour so thinking it through beforehand and having a birth partner who knows what you want to do can be much more important.

    If you have concerns about safety I would talk to your midwife or home birth support group if you have one locally. People get very scared about emergency scenarios but as someone has said midwives are as ready to deal with those at home as they are in hospital and where as the number of women left alone in labour by their midwife in hospital made the news last year at home you will have two to hand all the time so a potential problem is much more likely to be spotted early. As you have said the problems caused by unnecessary interventions in hospitals are many and varied but no-one questions 'Ooh, hospital, are you sure it's safe!?'

    I am no authority - obviously this is just my own experience and informed a bit by my local HB group but if there are any questions you think I can answer I'd be more than happy (helps to pass the time whilst waiting for my due date to come and go!) either here or by message. All the best to you and other ladies here with all your plans. x

  • I have had both my babies at home with 2 community midwives each time (one for me and one for the baby), their service is excellent and I would thoroughly reccommend opting for home birth even if you then transfer to hospital because they have to stay with you.

    Luckily mine were both straightforward, first was biggish (9lb 6oz boy) and a midwife gave me an episiotomy and stitches, I had gas and air, and moved about a lot, had a bath etc. The second baby was a bit smaller (8lb 5oz girl) and I did not need stitches, it was all very quick - just over 2 hours from contractions to birth! The midwives were brilliant at cleaning as they go, and we had things ready in case it was messy - mattress on the floor in the sitting room, waterproof cover on it and old sheets and towels over that and the sofa! We thought we'd have to throw things away, but it all washed out. When my son was born the midwife gave him oxygen as he wasn't as pink as he should have been, but when my daughter was born 4 years later, they said they no longer do that because it was no better than breathing air. My husband felt part of it all, putting on music and candles (had to put them out when using gas and air!!!) getting drinks for the midwives etc. There is no limit on birth partners at home if you wanted your mum/friend/older children/milkman... But we sent our older child to a friend for a sleepover when I had the second.

    My husband and I were able to relax in our own home with normal food and cups of tea, it was peaceful and I didn't have to walk or drive anywhere afterwards. Once the midwives had gone, we could truly enjoy being our new little family. My own midwife (the one I'd seen through pregnancy) came later in the day to bring the paperwork and Bounty pack, and our GP came to do a newborn check each time - it felt very special having everyone come to us.

    In my area the midwives are aiming to increase home birth numbers because it saves the NHS money (a straightforward home birth is 60% of the cost of a hospital birth) and there is less chance of unnecessary intervention, although you can always be transferred in an emergency. I felt safe and well looked after, I was not ill, and my babies are healthy and beautiful. Go for it! Be prepared to go to hospital if you need to, and talk to your midwife in advance.

  • Lol milkman! made me giggle x

  • Milkman, haha! I didn't realise you can get gas and air at home - I'm now tempted by a home birth X

  • Hi Apple-tea - also pethidine in most places but you have to request it before hand as your GP prescribes it. I never bothered but not sure I would have braved it without the gas and air!

  • Excellent - I had no idea that it was available for home births, too! I'm only 21 weeks, but am 100% set on a water birth! now weighing up between home or risking one not being available in a midwife led unit....hmmmm! X

  • Yes, that is the great thing if you want water you can guarantee it (provided you have time to fill the pool unlike one of my friends who has super quick labours!) I had two home 'land' births before having my last one (and hopefully this one) in a pool and I wish I had used one sooner, it was amazing. Worth exploring the options and finding out what they have at your MLU - some have enough inflatable ones available on demand for each birth room. In other places it is much more of a lottery whether you get to use one or not. All the best with your pregnancy and plans! x

  • You're all voicing my internal opinions and thoughts so it's really nice to hear positive stories and support for home birthing. the more I read the more sense it makes to me. I was always very scared of the 'risks' of home birth but actually any reason to transfer will more than likely be picked up with so much time that it wont be an emergency. the more I consider it, the calmer and more excited I am about the labour. I feel really lucky to have no fear and to just be looking forward to the experience. Thanks so much for all your advice, really hopeful that I will be able to have a straight forward home birth and those others considering it, please do let me know how it goes and I have my fingers crossed that it will be the planned birth you're hoping for :)

  • You've probably found it already Genine but just in case and for anyone else who might be interested there is a really great website Homebirth UK with an associated yahoo group which is full of really useful information about all aspects of homebirth - definitely worth a look. Lots of stories too!

  • Because the hormones that are necessary for a straightforward labour are the hormones of love, particularly oxytocin which is released during lovemaking, ideally a woman would want an environment conducive to lovemaking (i.e.a familiar atmosphere, recognisable smells, lights dimmed, peace and quiet) it is much harder to achieve this in a hospital setting... Women who are labouring with ease getting up from their homes to move into hospital would be comparable to a man with a possible heart condition stopping making love before orgasm, grabbing his bags and popping down to a hospital ward to 'finish off' under bright lights with a multitude of medical staff present in case something goes wrong.... If you want to then try it at home :) remember to listen to your body, move and moan and go with your natural urges. You can also remind yourself that every woman ancestor of yours, back to the first humans ever has managed to successfully birth at least one child or you would not be here today... the moment when you think you can't carry on (if it comes at all) is often the start of transition which means you're soon to meet your baby... It's not only a child who's about to be born, it is the birth of a mother too :)

  • Thanks for your reply, my little girl is 4 months old now! Unfortunately we had to transfer to hospital because of complications but if I were to do it again I'd still opt for a homebirth. We managed to labour with hypnobirthing though and that was a wonderful experience. I was also so lucky that the midwives and doctors were really great and did everything they could to make the atmosphere as homely as possible :)

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