At 37 weeks pregnant I have been in full-blown nesting mode for some time now. It wasn’t until recently, though, that I started making mega preparations for the home birth I hope to successfully have.
My reason for choosing a home birth is because I am confident in my ability to birth a baby. I thoroughly loved my birthing experience last time and want to recreate that same empowering experience in my home. I personally believe in birth as an experience as opposed to a medical process (unless of course there is an emergency) and one that can safely be carried out at home under the care of experienced midwives.
Now, I need to start this blog off by saying I am in the care of some fantastic midwives who attend home births regularly. Their care includes protocol for hospital transfer if medically necessary for the health of mother and baby. They attend home births often and I know many women who have had beautiful and successful home births with this collection of midwives and I am truly grateful. If the baby or mother is in distress they won’t hesitate to make the call for hospital transfer. That being said, if a home birth isn’t for you, that’s okay too! Everyone has their own opinions, comfort level, preferences and experiences and all perspectives are important.
I have heard everything from intrigue about home birth, to horror at the fact I’d give birth at home, to full on support saying babies should be born at home. It is really interesting to field people’s reactions to this decision but, the safety is all backed up by midwives and by science!
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way… there are many studies that conclude home births are no less dangerous than hospital births. This study by McMaster University compared almost 11,500 planned home births to the same number of planned hospital births in Ontario over three years to determine serious events among low-risk women. It found that the risk of stillbirth, neonatal death or serious neonatal morbidity were low and was no different from those who gave birth in the hospital.
Source: https://fhs.mcmaster.ca/main/news/news_2015/home_birth_study.html Published December 21, 2015.
Okay, so, now to the hopefully interesting part! What the heck do you “need” for a home birth!? I definitely didn’t think about all the stuff I would have to acquire for a home birth but obviously you need to have things on-hand to give birth at home. With my first son, I had a wonderful, natural and unmedicated birth at the hospital; you can read the birth story here. The hospital close to me is wonderful and they had an abundance of helpful supplies so it really didn’t occur to me all that I should have on hand.
Once I got started on the list, it wasn’t so bad to get everything together.
Firstly, I rented a birth pool from a local doula collective who take care of absolutely everything for you! Warm water helped so much with pain management last time, I wanted to incorporate it into my home birth and hope to birth in the pool if my labour allows for it. I think a large part of labour is going with the flow, trusting your body and not having things set in stone in your mind. If i give birth on the bed, that will be okay too! The birth pool will be delivered early next week and we will set it up when I go into labour. It comes with everything you need! Birthing a baby in water is gentle and a natural transition from the womb and provides many benefits to water birth for mother and baby as outlined by the American Pregnancy Association.
In addition to the birth pool, I purchased a birth kit from my midwives which included pads, homeopathic remedies including Easy Birth, a sieve for catching anything that might come out into the water (yes, we all know that can happen during labour), as well as calendula tincture and a peri bottle for after the birth.
One of the main things that I needed to source was towels, receiving blankets, and old sheets. Birth is messy so, having an abundance of these items on top of the dryer for the midwives is essential. I was lucky in that a local mama who had recently had a home birth herself donated all of these to me.
Another item that is essential to have on hand is padiscles. These are wonderfully soothing for after baby is born. The hospital supplied them last time. This time to make them I used the Earth Mama new bottom cooling mist, Thayers soothing witch hazel with aloe, calendula, and a bit of lavender essential oil.
Other home birth prep items include:
- Advil, Tylenol
- Vitamin C
- Homeopathic Arnica
- Vitamin D drops for baby
- Shower curtain liners to protect the bed
- Large ziploc bags for the placenta
- Garbage bags for clean up
- Vitamin K, Newborn Eye Ointment, Oxytocin, and Ergometrine as prescribed by my midwives
- Essential Oils
- Everyone Hand Sanitzer
- Earth Mama New Mama Bottom Spray
- Thayers witch hazel
- Calendula Tincture
- Mothers Milk Tea
- Rumina Naturals Supplies
It’s no secret that I love essential oils! I used them for my birth last time and I definitely think they made a huge difference!
Some that I have on hand for pre-birth, labour, and delivery are:
- Clary Sage – to help induce labour if I get to that point
- Basil – to help with contractions
- Wild orange – to diffuse because it makes me happy
- Peppermint – to inhale for nausea and to diffuse
- Lavender – for relaxation
- Frankincense for skin after birth and protection for baby immune system (used on the bottoms of the feet)
Do your own research about essential oils and decide what might work best for you. Be aware that some hospitals are scent free environments.
The midwives come well-prepared to a home birth and travel with everything that would be in a level 1 hospital room. They have to re-certify their emergency skills each year. they can start IVs – including administering antibiotics for GSB+ women, insert catheters, suction and ventilate baby’s lungs, monitor heart rate/tones as well as administer medicine to help control bleeding or to expel the placenta.
As i get closer to my due date, I am feeling increasingly excited about a home birth and increasingly anxious to meet baby.
I am excited for my next update to be the birth story! Have you had a home birth? Share your experience below!