Home is where our ancestors brought new life into the world. Today, birthing at home is coming back full circle, as more and more women are empowered to trust their instincts and bodies to do so. Imagine a birthing experience where you can move naturally and be in your own bed, tub, or physically wherever you like. With your choice of music, dimming of lights, candles or aromatherapy and overall familiarity of space and family. A birthing experience where you can feel comfortable and at ease, free of urgency. Having an intimate and connected experience with loved ones, in addition to midwives and doulas who will continue to offer support as you navigate this new chapter as mama with your new babe.
What is a Midwife?
The origin of the word “midwife” is derived from Old English meaning “with woman”. In French, it translates as “wise woman”, which seems very appropriate to describe these intuitive and calming people that aid in the prenatal, birth, postpartum experiences. The practice of midwifery can be traced back thousands and thousands of years. Historically, midwives were mothers themselves having gone through the initiation and transition into motherhood whilst having previously witnessed births of family members and neighbors. Today, many midwives' credentials vary, although the practices are similar. The midwife is there to safeguard and help support women through the birthing process, with the health and safety of mom and baby at the forefront. The uniqueness in midwifery is to remind women of their own strength and magic in doing what only they can do… birthing their baby.
What Are Some Benefits of a Home Birth?
Home birthing allows the freedom to choose your labor positions and to have more control of the setting and experience. Laboring in a tub of water set at body temperature being one of them.
There is no pressure to use medications. By leaning on breathing techniques and other natural methods, women can listen to their body’s natural cues and know how to push when they feel it’s time, and when to back off. The benefits include more trust in your body and gratitude for its instruction, less genital trauma and tearing, quicker recovery from birth.
There is a very high chance of a vaginal birth. Planned home births have reduced rates of interventions, such as C-sections, instrumental delivery, episiotomy, and other possible unnecessary medical interventions.
Full expression of the laboring woman’s “ecstatic hormones”. These critical hormones are: Oxytocin (the love hormone), beta-endorphins (the hormones of pleasure and transcendence), epinephrine and norepinephrine (the hormones of excitement), prolactin (the mothering hormone). This helps give mothers and newborns an optimal start.. From unlimited skin-to-skin contact with baby after birth, to increased rates of breastfeeding, and improved parent-infant bonding and attachment. An overall gentler start possible for the baby.
More support and individualized care and decreased incidence of postpartum depression.
Is it Safe to Have a Home Birth?
According to the best national research, giving birth at home is a safe choice. Good candidates for home births need to be “low-risk,” meaning no major problems present before or during pregnancy. The risks depend on your situation. Generally, high maternal age or previous C-section delivery have higher risk factors. Medical experts recommend that home births be within 15 minutes of a hospital, in case any unexpected medical emergencies arise. However, long time working midwives stress that most transfers are not emergencies, rather labor exhaustion, very long labor or needing pain relief. The best way to know for sure is to consult your medical professional.
It’s important to check in with yourself and gauge your comfort level with the idea of a home birth. It can be an incredibly delightful and a warm way to give birth, but certainly isn’t for everyone. It’s a personal decision that only you can make. Take time to gather information and explore your options as much as you need. Keep reading others' birth stories and absorb all the collective knowledge of women who have been there before. Celebrate this sacred time and trust that you’ll make the best choice for you and your family. Mama always knows best.