Home Births, baby delivery at home, home cost for an baby delivery in pregnancy, Pictures of birth

There is no evidence that well-planned home births with an experienced midwife or doctor in attendance are less safe than hospital births for women with an uncomplicated pregnancy and no risk factors for labour. Indeed, there is a lower rate of medical intervention than in hospital, but this is at least partly due to the fact that only women with a low risk of complications tend to deliver at home. The facilities for supporting home births vary from place to place and you will need to check with your doctor or midwife whether a home birth is possible and whether it would be suitable for you. About 15 out of 100 women who plan a home birth are advised to switch to a hospital delivery because of pregnancy complications.

What are the advantages of home births?

Home births let you stay in your own surroundings. This familiarity can help you feel more relaxed and in control. You can control the ambience through your own choice of room, furnishings, music and light. A home birth can be as private as you wish, rather than a ' public ' event, surrounded by hospital staff. Your other children can see the baby as soon as it is born.

What are the disadvantages of a home birth?

Giving birth can be messy so you will need to identify a suitable room, ideally near the bathroom, and cover the birthing area and your mattress with protective plastic sheeting. If you are planning a water birth, you will need sufficient space for the birthing pool, a strong floor (the weight of the pool filled with water can be quite considerable) and easy access to a tap. The same range of pain relief will not be available. Epidurals are not possible at home, for instance. However, you can still have TENS, opiates and gas and air, as well as using techniques such as massage. If problems arise during the labour or after delivery, full medical back-up will not be immediately available and you may need to be transferred to hospital as an emergency. The usual reasons for a transfer being necessary are either a very prolonged labour or concern for the baby's well-being. In first pregnancies about 30% of women having their labour at home will need to be transferred to hospital during their labour, but this is much less common if you have already had a straightforward vaginal delivery. Occasionally after delivery either you or the baby may need to be transferred to hospital for treatment of complications.

Is boiling water really needed for home births?

Boiling water was used in the past to sterilise instruments. Nowadays instruments come in sterile packs, so there is no need to boil instruments to sterilise them. However, warm water is needed to clean you and the baby after the birth.

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