We are expecting our first child in september of this year. I am very disatisfied so far with the midwife practice we have chosen that is based out of a hospital in our home town. So we are now looking into home birth. But I am unsure being that this is our first child if homebirth is a good choice for us. Any suggestions?

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My first suggestion to all women who ask for advice is read, read, READ. Maybe you have already done some reading, but if not, I have a few suggestions.

Pushed, by Jennifer Block
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, Ina May Gaskin (http://www.inamay.com/)
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer
and of course, You Best birth.

I am pregnant with my first child, too (due Sept. 2nd), and am strongly considering a home birth. My main challenge is finding a midwife - they are all very busy in my town! The Ob/Gyn practice that I go to has 4 midwives and 4 MD's, but after all of my reading, I feel that a home birth is best for us.

It's a personal decision, so I have to ask what it is about having a home birth with your first that causes you to be unsure? Are there midwives who will attend home births in your area? Are you afraid of the unknown (I am, a little!)? Is your pregnancy higher risk in any way? Are you afraid that your family or friends won't support you? If you tell us what you are unsure about, maybe we can help. This forum is a very supportive place! :-)
As Amanda said, I think the fear of the unknown is highest with your first and that is really your biggest hurdle. If your friends and family are shocked and horrified by that choice then they may scare you into thinking that its a bad idea for a lot of reasons that they have absolutley NO research on. Obviously you are not uneducated in the factors going into you making the choice for a homebirth! THey are... so don't let only their fear-mongering sway you from your choice. Their "something bad" could go wrong at ANY birth 0 hospital or home, and a midwife is just as good at what she does as an OB (maybe even better considering all thl disparity in their experiences with natural childbirth!)

At the very least, you can (and probably should) plan to labour at home for as long as possible, even if you do decide on a hospital birth, with a midwife or OB. But you should feel peaceful about your decision whatever it may be (IMHO of course!)

You CAN have a homebirth for your first - and you should if you feel that is where you should be. What does hubby think? If he feels the same way then I say totally go for it!
I would recommend having a consultation with a homebirth midwife in your area. She can let you know if you would be a good candidate for a homebirth. My midwife does this initial consult for no charge and it also allowed me to get to know her. You absolutely can have your first at home, I did and anymore babies will be born at home also.
Congrats on your pregnancy Amanda. Thank you ladies so much for your input. My pregnancy is not high risk. I am really healthy and so is the baby. We are looking into home birth with a midwife in our area and she does do consults for free at the home. Which to me is so reassuring that they come to you and we dont have to go to the hospital or some unknown place. I will have to read more. I have read some research on home birth and the more I read the more I fall in love with the idea of not being in a stressful hospital with doctors and nurses telling me what I should and shouldn't be doing. i.e. getting induced or pumping my child with vaccines. I am aslo trying my best to pump myself full of ammo for those family members that I know will not support a home birth. They are not educated on the ideas of homebirth and feel that there is no safer place than a hospital. Which may be true when a high risk pregnancy is taking place. But I am not high risk. My husband is scared of the idea but the more information I share with him the more he opens up to meeting with a midwife and discussing the reality of home birth versus a hospital birth. Neither of us have ever known anyone to have a home birth. So that is scary too. Everyone we know has had their children in the hospital.

Thank you agian so much for your input. This is such a great place to be a part of. Its so nice to get support from other women especially when what you want to do is out of the so called "normal" thing to do.
Hi Natalie!

Gratz on your first pregnancy! I know that this can be both an exciting and scary time for you.

I'm pregnant with my second child and am planning a home birth. I had a hospital birth for my first nearly three years ago, mainly because I had no idea how to have a home birth, didn't feel like I had the time or energy to research it, and was reassured by my OB that I had the possibility of having a natural birth in the hospital. Though I was able to have a vaginal birth with my son, it was far from natural - intimidated into having an induction with pitocin because he was a "large" baby (9 lbs), being required to choose b/w having an epidural or a c-section when I failed to progress after 12 hours, and nearly making me go with a c-section anyway since I was approaching the 24 hour mark. My son was born after about 23 hours of labor. I didn't get to breastfeed right away. They gave my son to my husband to hold before letting me hold him. I was so exhausted and felt like screaming, but was so out of it from the drugs and exhaustion that I couldn't voice my feelings or needs. That has always saddened me. I wish I could go back and make more informed choices and take more time to learn about my options. But, instead I got in the "birthing" line and went through the system.

Don't let fear of the unknown stop you. Take the time to learn about birth. Make the investment (time is usually 10-12 weeks and the fee is a little more than hospital classes, but sooo worth it IMO) in Bradley classes or other classes that promote natural childbirth (I am combining Bradley with a little Hypnobirthing this time around). Read "Childbirth without Fear" by Dr. Grantly Dick Reid (not sure if I spelled his name right) and the other books recommended above. Read stories about women who have given home birth both here and elsewhere on the 'net.

There is no reason to not have a home birth with your first, particularly if you are not high risk. I found my home birth midwife through my Bradley class instructor. I found the Bradley instructor via the Bradley website (BradleyBirth.com). You can also do a search on Google for midwives in your area. I had a difficult time finding people via some of the midwives associations, but you may have more luck in your area. Note that when you talk to a potential midwife, they will ask you some questions to determine if they are willing to take you on as a client. They will only take you on if they are comfortable with your personal risk factors. This should give you some comfort - it did for me! I have a herniated disc that gives me some concern, but my midwife (whose husband had the same surgery on the same disc) is very familiar with the condition and doesn't feel like it is a serious risk factor to worry about for home birth. The midwives I am switching from (who are affiliated with an OB and deliver at hospitals only) really don't know anything about such back concerns and as a result, aren't able to support me or take my concerns into much consideration when making decisions (such as an epidural may do more harm to the disc).

I also know how you feel about needing ammo for the friends and family members who don't support this decision. I am fortunate that my mom is educated about home birth and has chosen to support me (though, she's not a nurturing person and won't be there for the birth). But, we haven't told my in-laws yet because they will think we are nuts! lol. When I was pregnant with my son, I had mentioned that I would like to have a home birth and the utter look of horror on their faces spoke volumes! Though they politely asked a few questions to my face and then dropped the subject, they talked to my husband later with great concern. Since then, my husband has watched the Business of Being Born with me, participated in other research, and now is an advocate of home birth and is a fantastic support to me. I know he'll be able to defend and support our decision to his family, if and when we tell them. But, we may just keep it a secret, until after-the-fact, from those who we believe won't be supportive. Though I'd love to talk about it more with them, I really don't need the stress! So, we'll be playing that by ear.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy pregnancy and a wonderful birth! Keep us updated on what you decide to do!

Regards,
Rachel
My friend has a wonderful website with info about homebirth, how to prepare and what to expect. It also has homebirth stories, including my daughter's at www.bringbirthhome.com. Check it out, I think it will be helpful.
I am due next month with my first child and I am having a homebirth. If it is something you're interested in I agree with doing your reachsearch and meeting with some midwives in your area to see if its the right fit for you.

For me I knew homebirth was a better fit for me and so far I couldn't be more happier with our choice!

HTH and good luck to you!
Go for It!!!! If not now, when?????
I suggest you interview local home birth midwives. (In my town they don't charge for this service). Then follow your instinct. You will know when you find the right person and/or situation. Trust it.......
Hi Natalie,

Kaitlin Rose here, my good friend Cindy Lerner (thanks Cindy!!) suggested checking out my website, Bring Birth Home. If you do visit the site, I hope you find it useful. There are beautiful home birth stories, a 9 Steps to Home Birth Prep Newsletter and I just finished publishing a series about Why Birth Experience Matters - all of this you may find helpful while thinking about your birth journey.

I had a home birth on February 4th, 2009 - it was my first birth and I too had to ponder whether a hospital or my home was the best place considering I had no idea what labor and delivery would be like.

When I didn't think too hard about it, my gut told me home was the place for us to be. Then the more I read, researched and talked to women, the more confident I felt in the choice I was making.

I took a independent natural childbirth education class with my fiance and hired the doula who taught it. I hired a very experienced home birth midwife and spent every waking hour thinking about, planning and envisioning my home birth.

Here is my home birth story if you'd like to read it: Kaitlin's Home Birth Story

There are many home birth moms who choose to birth at home after experiencing a negative hospital birth. I didn't want to be one of them. Why wait to have the birth you want to have?

As Amanda commented, finding a midwife can be tough - they usually are booked heavily. If you're considering home birth, find and interview midwives as soon as possible at least to get on their radar screen.

I hope the best for you and will stay up to date on this discussion!

~Kaitlin

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