Tigerlilly Quinn: Why have a home birth?

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Why have a home birth?

why have a home birth

I've been meaning to write this post for months and months but somehow never really got round to it. I think it was because actually I wanted to do a video also to explain my reasons for choosing to have my babies at home but it turns out I'm not much of a 'vlogger' so I thought I might as well just get on with writing out some of my thoughts instead.

I should start by saying that the perfect place for you to have your baby is where you feel the most comfortable. For some that might be a hospital, for some a birth centre and for some at home. Personally I don't feel particularly relaxed in a medical environment and much prefer the comfort of my own home.

There is often a lot of talk about if homebirths are a 'safe' option and I totally get where people get this worry or misconception from.  The media and programs like OBEM sensationalise birth and it's often treated like a very risky and medical situation when in reality medical interventions should really be the exception and not the norm. Clearly some pregnancies and births are not straight forward but for a low risk pregnancy NICE guidelines actually recommend the safest place to have your baby is a midwife led unit and the safest place for second time births is actually at home.

Susan Bewley, (Professor of Complex Obstetrics at King’s College London who chaired the group responsible for the NICE guidelines) says '"Some women may prefer to have their baby at home or in a midwife-led unit because they are generally safer - that is their right and they should be supported in that choice. But, if a woman would prefer to have her baby in a hospital because it makes her feel ‘safer’, that is also her right. Giving birth is a highly personal experience and there is no ‘one size fits all’ model that suits all women.
“What’s important is that women and their families are given the most up-to-date information based on the best available evidence so that they can make an informed decision about where the mother gives birth to her child.”

That aside my decision to have Wilf and now this baby in my own home was mainly based on wanting to be in control. In my own home I can light candles, burn aromatherapy oils, dance around my living room, walk up and down my stairs, lean on my sofa, use my pool, or my bath or my shower and most importantly for me, be tucked up in my own bed after giving birth with a cup of tea and mince pie! (I have Christmas babies). I also remember reflecting after Wilf's birth that I was so 'in the zone' during labour that having my labour be interrupted to transfer to a hospital or birth centre would have totally thrown me. I had basically created some sort of birthing Christmas grotto with cushions and fairy lights whilst listening to Leonard Cohen on my birth ball. To have to leave that to face broad daylight, sit in a car and talk to other people was a really hard vision to imagine. 

I think the main thing with birth choices is to be informed, whatever type of birth you are having be it a c-section or a home birth I think it's really important to know your rights, even if it's just little things to make you feel more comfortable. A friend of mine recently had her second planned c-section and told me she had previously no idea she was allowed to ask to have skin to skin, only discovering the things she was able to ask for after hearing about 'gentle c-sections'. Another said that discovering she was allowed to dim the lights in the hospital room helped her feel more relaxed but she wouldn't have known she was allowed to without finding out before hand.
It's interesting preparing for a second home birth, the first time round I did often feel like I was often defending my choices. Not actually to health professionals funny enough but more just the general public, family and friends. I was mostly met with 'yer you wait and see what it's like' or an abundance of horror stories. At 25 I felt like people thought I was young and niave and that my positivity towards birth was something that I would regret or should feel foolish about. This time round I've not had anyone question my choices or suggest that my birth experience will be anything other than I how I envision it to be. That's not to say that it might be different, birth is unpredictable and you can never guarantee how it will go, however I do think it's important to approach it with a positive mental attitude and to remember that this is what our bodies are designed to do and that you will be able to do it! 
I've written about Wilf's home birth here and also my experience of practising hypo-birth for a calm and pain free labour. 

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