Home Birth? – What About The Mess!

Another glorious week working as a midwife and another home birth. I’m sure you know by now that home births are something very special to me. Our home birth rate in our case loading team is between 30-40%. Way higher than the national average of a 2.26% (birthchoiceUK). Some of our women book with us knowing they want a home birth but some are also unsure so decide in labour. We have this great set up where women chose right up until they are in labour where they would like to give birth. For the majority of pregnant women, they want to birth where they feel comfortable and safe and often these feelings are only truly felt when labour starts. We offer a home assessment when labour has begun and that way women can make an informed decision.

I have noticed as I spread the home birth tales, a few odd faces pulled as I joyfully express my love for a home birth. I was never always like this, as I have in fact had 2 babies both in hospital . And I’m sure I’m not the only one receiving ‘unhelpful’ comments when discussing where to have your baby. A ton of you got in touch on Twitter telling me the hilarious and dam right ridiculous comments people said to you when you said you were planning a home birth. From ‘Wow you’re brave’ to ‘Really? Yuck’ and ‘What about the cat?’ and the most popular ‘What about all that mess!’ One woman said to me she would never have a home birth because she has cream carpets. Well one thing all us Mama’s know is that cream carpets get pretty ruined when having kids, so you might as well rip them up and reveal some lovely original wooden flooring. Problem solved!

A month back I attended a wonderful home birth where the woman decided to labour (and birth) in the upstairs newly built loft conversion. Us midwives tried several times to tempt her down stairs to her living room where her birthing pool awaited but nope she was staying up there. The room was so newly decorated that a tray of used paint brushes and a tin of Farrow and Balls ‘House White’ lay in the corner of the room. And did I mention the cream carpet and white en-suite? The birth was entirely ‘mess free’ not one single drop of ANYTHING touched the carpet, walls and bedding. My colleague and I were as proud of that as, we were of her amazing birthing achievements.

photo (27)And this was the only bag of ‘mess’ carried away by me at last nights home birth. 1 household size bin bag.

You see home birth is really not that messy. We as midwives respect your home, we are your guest and we do everything to to ensure nothing goes on your soft furnishings. We recommend that you get hold of some plastic sheeting such as some tarpaulin or a shower curtain to put over your bed or sofa if you end up birthing on there. However many women choose to have a birthing pool at home which is becoming a popular option with most home birthers. Any normal amount of bodily fluids that may be released are then all contained in one place! Simples.

Some of you lovely people have kindly shared their home birth photos, just to show how ‘un-messy’ it really is. And in case you need any more clarification, I wore a white t-shirt to a home birth and it remained as white as when I entered the house as when I left.

For more information about home birth visit homebirth.org and homebirthersandhopefuls.com

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14 thoughts on “Home Birth? – What About The Mess!

  1. Clemmie I am so happy you have written this! I was talking to a friend if mine today about home birth after watching ‘one world birth’ firstly she said ‘but home birth isn’t safe is it? What if something goes wrong?’ It took me about three minutes to explain that it is unlikely something will go wrong and home birth is perfectly safe in the majority of cases. Then she proceeded to say ‘ok then, I’d have one- but what about the mess?!’ I’ll have to show her this! Another great piece x

  2. Hi Clemmie,
    I commented not so long ago on your entry informing everyone of Midwifery Assistants & how it gave me hope for my own future under my current circumstances. I’m still glued to your blog, & happily ‘babble’ on about your blog & lovely birth stories to anyone who will listen! I am also now following you on IG (acrasias incase you’re wondering who that very strange person is who likes / comments on your pictures!)
    I understand you’re a busy lady catching these beautiful babies, but I’m wondering if you could help answer a question for me? Or rather, put my mind at ease over something that has been bothering me for a good few years now? I’ve (quite happily) been single for 5 years now, I’m 27, but I’m only just contemplating (only just, mind!) putting myself back on the dating scene. Children aren’t in my near future, but have always been very dear to my heart having worked with them for several years in nurserys & looking after nieces & nephews – so I’d like to think they’re IN my future. I found out 3 years ago I have PCOS – which of course doesn’t mean I am infertile, but sadly I do have other health problems, some related, some unrelated. I fear I would be classed as a ‘high risk’ pregnancy, but my fears lay with the thought of being strapped to the bed on various monitors, chained to a room with no outlet. Eek! I’ve always imagined myself with a wonderful birthing pool, relaxing music, & generally a very relaxed atmosphere with lots of encouragement – regardless of whether this is in a hospital or not, isn’t necessarily the problem, but I am yet to see – or hear – of a woman who has a ‘high risk’ pregnancy have the opportunity to give birth as naturally as possible (whether due to a scheduled C-Section, inducement – careful monitoring). I have type 2 diabetes in relation to my PCOS, I only take metformin twice a day, no insulin injections – although I fear this may mean a ‘high risk’ pregnancy due to diabetes. I know this sounds incredibly ridiculous & complicated, but I guess I feel, despite it being in the future, the decision has already been taken out of my hands, especially in the area where i live (unfortunately). Have you ever come across a case where a woman is able to birth more naturally – whether in a hospital, birthing centre or at home, during high risk? (Side note; This does not mean I will not be swearing for gas & air ;) )
    Thanks Clemmie, sorry to have taken up so much of your time. Keep up the lovely blog – cant get enough!
    Laura xxxx

    • Hi Laura,
      sorry to have taken up lots of your time it’s been super busy at work so many babies I’m not quite sure how much sleep I’ve been averaging.
      To answer your question anything is possible with the right midwife and obstetrician fulling supporting you. Being type 2 doesn’t mean you have to be induced (although it is a recommendation in some hospitals) you also may only have to check your sugars hourly once in established labour so that can be done at home or hospital unless they go over 7 (I think) then it’s recommended that you have a sliding scale of insulin. But if your sugars are well controlled you should be fine.
      Also continuous monitoring isn’t a necessary if all is well with the baby so you may be able to use the pool. Again all this will depend on your midwife and doctor.
      Hope that helps!

  3. This did make me smile – I had a planned home birth and it was brilliant – even in a one-bedroom flat in London (luckily our neighbours were out and the builders across the street happened to be cutting concrete that day, so that took care of any nasty noise issues) – but it did get messy much to the horror of my lovely midwife. She was mortified and said, ‘but I never have messy home births!’
    My advice is: put those tarpaulins down EVERYWHERE and if all else fails, hydrogen peroxide gets most stains out. And you can always buy a new bed…

  4. Well said – even with a fairly big post birth bleed (& one precipitate birth where we didn’t have time to put anything down) the mess wasn’t anything more than could be chucked in the washing machine and sorted shortly after

    And the best thing, a bath in a nice clean bathroom afterwards

    • That is so true, getting into your own bed and using your own bathroom is such a treat. I love nothing more than tucking Mum, Dad and their new baby up in bed after a beautiful home birth. Thanks for sharing.

  5. You put forth some wonderful perspectives about home birth and are actually on the verge of converting this staunchly-pro-hospital birth reader! As a doctor (not an obstetrician so my knowledge of this area is limited to say the least) my biggest concern would be with massive PPH – to my understanding this can happen to anyone and is not really predictable. I’m interested to know what home midwives bring to a birth that would allow them to instigate initial management in this event – I presume you have cannulas, some IV fluid, along with the usual uterotonics? Has this situation ever happened to you? Genuinely very interested! Love your blog!

    • Hi Nicole thanks for commenting. Glad to hear my readers are considering their options re birth, hospital isn’t always the safest option.
      For ‘low risk’ women having their second baby, home birth is considered safer than hospital birth. This is from the Birth Place study where it was found that hospital birth increases the intervention rate 8 times. Including ventouse, forceps and c-section. A PPH at home is very very rare (in fact I haven’t been at a birth when this has happened yet) but is more likely when the labour is usually long, the use of syntocion drip is used to increase uterine contractions, and forceps and a ventouse is used to delivery the baby. Of course none of these situations are possible at home. However in the very rare situation that a PPh does occur, we are all trained to deal with this appropriately. We cannulate, put up IV fluids, carry syntocinon and syntometrine and would always call an ambulance and transfer in. To be honest the management of a PPH at home and in hospital aren’t that dissimilar. Most PPH’s that occur in hospital are managed in the room and the protocol is the same as it is in hospital. Hope that pits you mind at rest.

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