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Questions about Home Birth

Should I have a home birth?

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Homebirth with a midwife
Photo © Inga Spence/Getty Images

Home Birth fascinates most women, even if it's not a choice that they would make for themselves. There are many questions that people want to know about home birth as it actually plays out rather than the mere philosophy of the setting of birth. This will be an attempt the answer some of those questions.

Q. Isn't it messy?

A. Actually I've found home birth to be less messy in many cases. First of all there are not tons of drapes used, nor in most cases women aren't covered "nipples to knees" in antiseptic, this cuts down on the amount of mess. Since episiotomy is not routinely used, it can also cut down on the amount of blood lost. As for the fluids and water that are expelled during the birth, the blue, plastic backed cloths are very handy in catching the majority of these fluids. Many midwives also recommend using old sheets for the bed and having a layer of plastic under the old sheets.

As for after the birth, most midwives clean up what they've brought and anything messed up by the birth. My midwives even do the laundry and dishes before they leave. Be sure to ask what will be done for you.

Q. What do you do with the placenta?

A. Sometimes the placenta is sent with the midwife for disposal. Sometimes the parents wish to keep the placenta for various reasons. Keeping the placenta for planting can be done, even when blood is required from the placenta. The blood will merely be drawn prior to the midwives or doctors leaving the birth. The placenta will also be examined to ensure it is intact and has no anomalies.

Q. Who can we have at the birth?

A. This is between you, your family and your practitioner. Many midwives and doctors don't have a specified number of people you're allowed to have, but you do need to keep in mind safety precautions and emotional precautions. Don't fill the room so full you can't get around and don't invite people who would annoy you or make you worried about labor or birth.

Q. Do I have to have a midwife?

A. Some women will choose midwives, whether that be a direct entry midwife or a certified nurse midwife. In some places there are doctors who do home births. And other women choose to do what is called an unassisted birth, where there is no medical professional available during the birth.

Q. Can my husband catch the baby?

A. That depends on a couple of factors, including the preference of your practitioner and what happens at the moment of birth. Sometimes baby needs extra help or comes to fast and sometimes dad is busy helping you. Read more about this option.

Q. Can I have a home birth if...

A. Home Birth is only for low risk women. That said, there are some situations where one practitioner would say a woman is high risk and another low risk, for example a woman having a vaginal birth after a prior cesarean. This becomes a case by case basis to be worked out with your practitioner.

Q. What emergency equipment will my midwife bring?

A. That again, depends on the person. Some items that might be on the list: oxygen, IV equipment, medications for hemorrhage, suctioning equipment, catheter, suturing equipment, numbing agents for suturing, etc.

Q. What do you use for pain relief?

A. Yes, it's true, very few home birth practitioners use any form of drugs at home. They use water, massage, relaxation, positioning and anything else that seems to work.

Related Video
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