A hundred years ago most babies were born at home. Now a woman who plans to give birth at home is likely to be viewed as eccentric, reckless or even selfish by those who are not well-informed.
A study published in the June 2005 edition of the British Medical Journal found that for low risk women in the United States, planned home births are as safe as hospital births, and accomplished with much less medical intervention, compared with low risk hospital births.
But choosing to give birth at home is usually more to do with feelings than statistics. Conception, pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding are natural processes, and many women are reluctant to see labor as a medical event. Giving birth naturally can be a profound, life-transforming experience, and yet the intensity of the process can be challenging for many women. The key to a healthy birth is the ability to relax, as it allows spontaneous labor to progress without interference. The greatest obstacle is fear, for it generates tension and resistance, which makes coping with contractions more difficult. Generally, the more relaxed the mother, the easier the birth. Mothers birth best where they feel most comfortable.
For many healthy, low-risk mothers, home provides a supportive and safe environment in which to give birth. In the privacy and sanctity of her home a mother can surround herself with those she loves and trusts. Assisted by capable, well-trained midwives, the family has the freedom to create the experience they desire and welcome their new child with love and dignity.
A woman giving birth at home experiences continuous care with the same midwives throughout her prenatal, labor, delivery and postpartum periods, facilitating trust and competent decision-making. She is free to explore a variety of creative comfort measures as she works with her own natural body rhythms – not subjected to “routine” procedures – and she will give birth in a position of her own choosing.
Babies born at home are welcomed as gently as possible. The healthy baby remains with the mother, preserving the mother-infant bonding so crucial for the development of attachment. Breastfeeding is easier to establish when the baby can nurse immediately and on demand.
When birth takes place at home it becomes an integral part of family life, with father and/or siblings able to participate in as complete and appropriate a manner as possible. This helps postpartum adjustment for all the family members.
Frequently Asked Questions About Home Birth
What do I need for a home birth? Is my house suitable?
Your midwife will help you make sure you have everything you need. Most of the things you will want to have on hand are pretty basic (eg: receiving blankets for the baby, sanitary pads). Your midwife will also make home visits to help you prepare – but as long as you have basic amenities and live within 30 minutes of emergency care, your house is most likely suitable – considering that you are planning to raise your baby there!
Isn’t birth terribly messy? What about all the clean-up?
We have found that the average birth produces 2 loads of laundry and one bag of trash. By the time your midwives leave you, the laundry is usually almost finished, the trash is out and your house restored to normal……
What if something goes wrong?
You and your midwife will make an Emergency Care Plan during the latter part of your pregnancy. Consultation with an Obstetrician is available, and should you need to transfer to a hospital, your midwife will go with you to provide support and assistance. Midwives are trained and equipped to deal with emergencies during labor and birth.
How do we get a birth certificate for a baby born at home?
Your midwife will complete and file a birth certificate with the State of Florida.