Home Birth - Home Birth Stories, Videos and Pictures
Changes Through the Years-Home Birth
Before the 20th Century, virtually all babies were born at home. During the last century, with the advent of pain relievers and the belief that the hospital was the safest place to have a baby, the birthing process was handed over to doctors (most of them men). Pregnancy moved away from being a natural part of life to being classified as a pathology - that is, an illness - and was treated as such. Women were divested of their innate understanding of how their own bodies worked and were informed that they didn't really know or understand much about pregnancy and birth. That misbelief lives on to this day in the minds of most in Western culture.
I Am Woman-Where to Give Birth
Thankfully, the end of the 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st have seen a move toward returning to the place of women insisting on having the say in the birth of their babies. More and more women are having home births and there seems to be a new thread of home births that are unassisted. An unassisted birth essentially means the woman who is giving birth does so without the help of a midwife or medical person. The idea behind unassisted birth is the thought that women know intuitively how to have a baby. Their bodies know what to do and if given the right framework, a woman can give birth to her own baby without any outside help. There are advocates of this type of birthing process who say it is the best way to have a baby. Many unassisted births occur in the form of a water birth, where the mother sits in a pool of warm water and the baby is birthed into the pool, relaxed and without stress.
There are home birth videos and many home birth stories on the internet for both assisted and unassisted home births. There are also books by women who advocate for both, along with home birth pictures and information. If home birth is a consideration, then it's a good idea to become familiar with the processes, and become informed. By learning everything possible, confidence and a sense of commitment can be established which will be of great help when the time comes to have the baby.
The Role of the Midwife
Most home births are attended by a midwife who has worked with the pregnant woman and her family throughout the pregnancy. The midwife monitors the progress of the labor, how mother and baby (and Dad) are doing, and coaches the woman through the labor. She is there to help during the delivery, ensuring everything is okay with the baby - no cord around the neck, and no tearing.
Sometimes there is a concern about emergencies during a home birth. Midwives are trained to deal with certain emergencies. If there are problems with either the mother or baby that she can't handle, then she is able to get the necessary medical assistance or have them moved to a hospital. In a normal pregnancy that has been without complications, the need for emergency action during a home birth is remote.
But, having a home birth isn't for all women. If the pregnancy has been difficult or if there are concerns about placenta privia, uterine concerns, or other pregnancy related problems, then the birth will be best handled in the care of a birthing center or hospital. In such cases, having the baby in a hospital provides the kind of safety net that provides for extreme situations where either the life of the mother or the baby is at great risk.
What if There is an Emergency During A Home Birth?
As with anything, there is always the chance of an emergency. That includes an emergency home birth which ends up being an unassisted birth. If the plan is to have the baby at home anyway, then it's a wise idea to learn how to deliver a baby unassisted. Create an emergency kit that contains all of the necessary things to birth a baby. Keep the midwife's number on speed dial and a list of emergency numbers in the phone or by the phone.
If there isn't time to get to a hospital when labor begins, or travel is not an option, call the emergency numbers for help. Make sure the doors are unlocked for rescue personnel and call a neighbor. If alone, stay on the phone with emergency help to be talked through the labor and birth. If the labor is moving very fast, stay at home - it's better than having the baby in the back seat of a car. Slow labor allows for time to get help from a midwife, or to get to a birthing center or hospital.