Do Only Hippies Have Home Births?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have seen and read the headlines last week about NICE encouraging low risk women to opt for a home birth. These new guidelines have had mixed responses from women and midwives all over the UK. It raised a lot of questions from some of my pregnant women who previously hadn’t considered a home birth as an option.

I decided to ask a few of my friends who have had a home birth to tell me why they choose a home birth and how it exactly made them feel.

‘I wanted to have my baby at home where I felt calm, relaxed and in control. I had complete confidence in my midwives and felt like it was just a natural process that I could best do in my own environment. The best thing about having my baby at home was being able to get into my own bed straight away, cuddling our new baby, introducing her to my two young boys and having a lovely cup of tea and toast.’ Natasha Mum of 3.

‘I had a home birth because I believe giving birth shouldn’t be too medical; it’s a natural process & a home environment can provide a perfect setting to keep calm & relaxed. I also had full confidence in my midwife & my husband that they could support me through it. Having a home birth made me feel incredibly proud of my body and my mind. It gave me an enormous sense of empowerment & encouragement if we decide to do it again! I loved the feeling of being safe at home & I could climb into my own bed afterwards with a cup of tea & cake!’ Sam Mum of 2.

I had home births because I knew home was the place I felt most comfortable. By feeling comfortable I knew I would feel more in control and therefore relaxed. The more relaxed I felt the less pain I would feel. Giving birth is a natural & normal process one which doesn’t always need medical intervention. Having my babies at home enabled me to be in control during birth and to relax immediately afterwards.’ Ali Mum of 2.

This next home birth story is by Zoe. I had the pleasure of attending both of her births both in hospital and at home. Here she explains why she also chose a home birth for her second baby Delphine born earlier this year. (She’s defiantly not a hippie in fact she’s one of the coolest Mums I know)

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I know I’ve been lucky with both my labours, i actually feel guilty talking about them sometimes as so many other women have had bad experiences.  But I guess its good to know that labour isn’t all bad or scary – yes there are some toe-curlingly painful moments but they pass pretty quickly (then come back) but sometimes it can be ok.

I prepared for labour by doing pregnancy yoga classes and i learnt about the stages of labour, i read some amazing inspiring stories about women giving birth in the back of trucks in the 70s in a book called Spiritual Midwifery, i read a bit about the principles of hypno birth and reminded myself that everyone had been born, its a natural thing so whats with all the hype!? By the end my pregnancy i was really looking forward to giving birth.

I would have liked to have had a with my first baby but we moved house to a new area on my due date, he arrived 4 days later (once we’d unpacked and i was relaxed) so it wasn’t an option i could plan for.  Instead we had him at the hospital in a birth room and had as similar experience as a home birth as we could in the hospital it was amazing.  We registered ourselves at the hospital in the morning when i was 1cm dilated, then went back home until later that evening when i returned at 6-7cm.  The birth room was really nice – there were coloured lights, a private bathroom, birth balls and a large bath which i got into and had him about 5 hours later with no pain relief apart from gas and air.

For me the actual labour part of being at the hospital was great – I had amazing midwives (Clemmie) who were supportive and really listened to what i wanted and who definitely didn’t panic/ pressure me, they made me feel relaxed and able to focus on my labour.  However once we were moved down (I guess around 1am) to the ward it wasn’t so fun we were given a curtained off bed and a chair for my husband, next to some guy who was singing (not very well)  to his new baby, people watching tv, talking, and lots of crying babies.

We had to wait there until 5pm the following day for a midwife to give me a Anti D injection (i am rhesus negative) then at last we could go home.   That day was horrible – we were tired and hungry and just wanted more than anything to take our baby home.

As I had such a straightforward first birth we decided to go for a home birth with our second, obviously as any mother would be i was worried about if anything went wrong what would happen but i thought this was a chance i was prepared to take in order to have the reward of having my baby and family at home straight away – with my bathroom, bed, clothes, music etc.

As my due date arrived the thing i was most anxious about was having my toddler in the house while i was in labour and felt that I couldn’t relax while he was there so he went to stay with my parents and a the next day I went into labour

I was having mild contractions throughout the day bouncing on my birth ball watching Orange is the New Black, my husband working upstairs feeling relaxed that I didn’t have to go to the hospital or anywhere else.   After having a sweep in the afternoon things moved quickly I remember leaning on my banister at the bottom of my stairs with my Tens machine on finding it to be the only place i wanted to be as my contractions were getting stronger.  I told my husband to get off his conference call and come downstairs. Clemmie arrived at about 4pm, I got in the pool and we talked about shoes!! And then I felt like pushing – my baby daughter was born about 20 mins later.  My placenta came out naturally in the water, then I got out and I lay on my sofa with a baby, cup of tea and a biscuit – it was amazing!  We even used the water in the pool to water the garden!!

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When I would tell people that I was planning a home birth they would mostly react with ‘ooo you are brave’ – why? my Mum was born at home, Call The Midwife?  I think its all part of the negative ideas that are attached to labour and the fear that its a horrible, painful and scary experience.

Women need to go into labour focused, relaxed and informed – be strong and not scared!

5 thoughts on “Do Only Hippies Have Home Births?

  1. Agree with all of this. I had both my children at home and can’t imagine labouring, and giving birth, anywhere else. After my second we were transferred to hospital and I had to stay in for a few days – that just reinforced for me what a great experience a homebirth is and how, given the choice, I’d always opt for a homebirth in future x

  2. I agree too. I had my first baby at home in April. I felt very lucky to have been able too, and very empowered afterwards. It just felt like the right place to have a baby. I’m lucky to have a wonderful hospital, but nothing would beat my home. My baby was back to back through out my pregnancy, but turned in labour. Having the midwives there, was the best pain relief, as they trusted me and I trusted them. Being at home kept me calm, and it was amazing how my body just knew what to do. I very much hope to have any future children at home too.

  3. I’m now due in March, and having been a fan of this blog for a while have become open to the idea of home birth- possibly for future births as I wouldn’t want to take any risks with the first. However my husband, and now it turns out my parents, have a very definite ‘over my dead body’ approach to it. My husband’s view is all about what could go wrong, and knowing what he’s like he would feel responsible/awful if there was nothing he could do. He understandably says at this point the one thing he knows he has and loves is his wife and he doesn’t want to risk losing that (aww).

    My parents have a similar view, but with the added experience that they were both born in an era when home birth was what everyone did, with all the attached issues and complications (which would be largely avoided these days as we know and can monitor so much more!). But in their view having somewhere to go fully equipped with staff, expertise and all the drugs etc you could want is the obvious choice.

    So much as I welcome the recent ‘news’ that women are being encouraged to make home birth a definite option, it isnt entirely her choice as there are (hopefully) a lot of people around who love and care for her and the unborn baby and their feelings are also part of the equation. I can only hope that in future education and more women sharing their positive experiences will help make home birth (for those that want to consider it) a no-fear option.

    I am glad that for me, our local hospital has a midwife led birth centre alongside the traditional obstetric dept which is the best compromise all round.

  4. I wanted home births. My partner was a little worried as I had a PPH after our first. my second was back to back but problem free, and then our third was easy too. But all very fast, 3 hrs then 57mins, then 45 mins. so I have no idea why I didnt just stay home. Midwives advised to go in due to previous PPH. I would love the confidence to have a home birth next x

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