Prior to the 1900s, women giving birth outside of the home was unheard of. Around that time, the number of births that took place inside a hospital setting started to increase dramatically. A better understanding of the human anatomy, modern medicine, the mechanics of childbirth, and technology have all contributed to a decrease in the number of hospital births.
A home birth will typically include a trained midwife or a nurse-midwife, and possibly a birth doula, for pregnancies that are low-risk and healthy. But, what is a doula exactly and what can they do that a midwife can’t do at a home birth? Learn more about the difference between a midwife and a doula in this article.
As home births continue to rise in popularity, there are more studies providing a greater understanding of the risks and benefits. This blog is intended to provide you with information regarding home births so you can make an informed decision for yourself and your baby.
Is a home birth right for me?
A home birth might be a good option for you if you meet the following criteria:
- You have a healthy, low-risk pregnancy.
- You want to avoid an episiotomy, cesarean section, epidural, and/or other interventions.
- You want to be able to share the experience with close family members and friends.
- You want to have the freedom to be able to move around, change positions, shower, eat, and drink freely throughout your entire labor.
- You want to be able to relax and enjoy the comforts of your own home.
On the other hand, a home birth isn’t right for everyone. A home birth likely isn’t right for you if:
- You are diabetic.
- You have chronic high blood pressure or toxemia (more commonly known as preeclampsia).
- You have experienced, or are at a higher risk for, preterm labor.
- Your partner doesn’t fully support your decision to have a home birth.
If you have made the decision that a home birth is going to be the right choice for you, you can expect your midwife and birth doula to work together to give you the birthing experience you want. Here are a few things you can expect your birthing team to have on hand:
- Oxygen for the baby, just in case
- IV’s for the mom in the event that she becomes dehydrated or requires additional nutrients
- Sterile gloves, gauze pads, cotton hat for baby, drop cloths, waterproof covers for the bed, a thermometer, a pan for a sitz bath following birth
- Fetoscopes or ultrasonic stethoscopes
- Medications to slow or stop hemorrhage
- Items necessary for suturing tears
If at any point during the birthing process the midwife feels it is going to be in the mother and baby’s best interest to move to a hospital, transportation will take place. Here are a few reasons why women are transferred to a hospital to finish delivering their baby:
- Mother is exhausted and does not want to continue
- Premature rupturing of membranes
- High blood pressure
- No progress with labor
- Fetal distress
- Cord prolapse
Giving birth at home with a doula and midwife can be a rewarding and amazing experience. If you are considering having a home birth, talk to your doula. Express any concerns or fears that you might have. She will be able to address your fears and concerns, helping you to feel confident in your decision to have a home birth. If you want to learn more about what is a doula, talk to one of International Doula Institute’s certified birth doulas or contact us directly.