Yay! Mailbox Mondays! If you need cloth diaper advice, or have another question for me, please ask. Every Monday, I will answer a reader submitted question, and ask my readers to help too!
Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at change-diapers.com with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.
I know this time around you are planning a home birth. The idea intrigues me, but scares me at the same time. If my husband and I decide to have another little one (our newest just turned 5 months old), what would you say to convince my husband and I it is a good idea? Well, more so my husband than me. 🙂 What type of preparations do you need to do at home to get ready for this? Do you need anything special?
Hi Stephanie! I’m excited that you’re considering home birth!
Before I answer you, I have to say that while I’m sharing this information, I absolutely do not judge anyone who births in the hospital, no matter why they choose it.
If you missed my post about my journey to homebirth, please do read it. My path to home birth was a long one, and it really wasn’t a single thing that pushed me to it. I spent literally years reading and researching. I read books, medical studies, you name it. This may sound corny, but no one can really convince you. It’s hard to explain but as your views on birth change, it changes you. It’s really a process. Or, it was for me anyway. So, you have to take that journey for yourself!!
Luckily, you have plenty of time, and I suggest you begin by reading about birth as a normal physiological process. I suppose I’m really not a good homebirth advocate (or advocate for anything else for that matter) because while I feel it is the right choice for me, I don’t push my views on anyone, and I tend to not mention it unless asked. While I really do feel that normal, uncomplicated childbirth doesn’t belong in the hospital, I respect the choice to have a hospital birth.
So first off, I’d suggest that you read a few books like Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and just about any other books on my list that you can get from your local library. If you haven’t already, watch The Business of Being Born with your husband. As you start to learn about the history of childbirth in America and how birth operates when it is unhindered, I think your mind will start to open.
I’d suggest that you and your husband both write down what intrigues you about home birth, and what scares you. If you continue to read and do research, you might find that the things that once scared you, no longer do. A lot of the things that are thrown out about why birth belongs in a hospital really aren’t true when you read the (scientific/unbiased) studies. Many of the issues and complications with birth are caused by a doctor’s inability to wait for labor to progress, their desire to interfere and “fix,” and the fact that many really have no idea what a normal birth looks like. After reading several of the books I read, you may start seeing that some of the things that you think of as being childbirth dangers are in fact iatrogenic (doctor caused) and rarely present in an unhindered birth.
If possible, join a birth circle, or home birth group. Read home birth stories and watch as many home birth videos as you can find.
Find out what the laws are in your state, what your insurance will cover, and start interviewing midwives. Some states license only Certified Nurse Midwives, some have “rules” on when they are no longer allowed to attend a home birth (after 41 weeks etc.) Educate yourself on possible complications, and the steps to take in each situation. Take charge of your body and your birth. Figure out how far you are from the hospital, and how long it would take you to get into an operating room. (I’m talking in case of a true emergency such as cord prolapse when birth is not imminent, which is actually quite rare when membranes are not artificially ruptured.) Often times, you would be able to get to the hospital with an OR waiting for you, in the same amount of time it would take to have one ready if you were already there. Find out where your nearest responding EMS is, and how long it would take them to get to you.
I don’t feel that replacing an OB with a CNM and a hospital with a bedroom is necessarily any different or better, unless your only goal is to give birth at home. Ask the midwife how long she’s been practicing, how she was trained, if she is licensed, how many births she has attended, what complications she’s encountered and how she’s handled them. How often does she do cervical checks, break water, what is her transfer rate (and the reasons for transfer.) How does she feel about breech births and how does she handle them, what steps does she take for postpartum hemorrhage (and what does she consider a hemorrhage), what steps does she take for shoulder dystocia, does she test for group b strep (and how does she treat it), does she place a time limit on placenta delivery (if so, what steps does she take?) and so on. Also important is how many clients she will take on in the same time period, if she has assistants and/or partners etc. Also ask around and find out what the midwife you’re considering is actually like, how interventive she is, how happy prior clients were with their births etc. The old “bait and switch” can happen with any medical provider!
As far as what supplies and things you need, that’s intertwined with your midwife
interrogation interview. Is she certified in neonatal resusciation? Does she carry oxygen, vitamin K and pitocin with her? Does she carry any herbs with her? Typically, a midwife will give you a “birth kit” to order and hang on to (chux pads, umbilical cord clamp, sterile gloves etc.) along with a short list of other items, like an extra set of sheets, a clean towel, a large trash bag, a bowl for the placenta and such.
While I definitely recommend looking for a midwife that you are in line with and wholly trust, I also recommend taking full responsibility for your own care and researching everything for yourself. When you’ve fully educated yourself, you may find hospital birth to be a little scary.
I hope that this has helped you a little bit, and even if you do all the research and decide to go with hospital birth, you will be fully informed! 🙂
If you have had a home birth, what resources would you suggest to someone considering it?