Suggestions for helping the home birth "comfort level" for family...

Hi Girls,

I was just wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how I can help make my husband and family more comfortable with the idea of me planning a home birth.

I know that the more they learn, the better it will be, so I am doing my best to "teach" my mom, sister and husband about the real statistics and information about birth.

I have sat him down and watched "business of being born", and actually just bought the DVD so I can show my mom & sis. Even after the movie, he is still at a "4" on a comfort scale of 1-10 (10 being totally comfortable).

I also have bought him the Penny Simkin book "The Birth Partner", which is collecting dust on the coffee table. (I even put a cute "read me" post-it on it.

How do I get him to read the book over comcast sportsnet??? Any suggestions?

On the other hand, mom & sister seem to be progressively coming over to my side. I think after they watch Riki's movie they will understand better, we'll see.

Any suggestions from ladies who have been through this would be great. Since this is my first child, I keep getting comments about how "i have no idea what it's like.." blah blah

Thanks for your help!


17weeks this week!

Views: 27

Replies to This Discussion

Hey Amanda,

Congratulations!  I can totally relate to what you are saying.  My husband thought I was nuts when I told him I wanted to have a home birth.   He was an EMT for many years and his experience with women in labor consisted of driving really fast and hoping the baby didn't come in the back of the ambulance.    

He agreed to go and speak with the midwife with me and he spent over an hour asking her questions about her experience, what she brought with her, her transfer rate, what she would do in an emergency situation, etc.   By the end of that inquisition, he felt much better about me birthing at home with this particular midwife.    He did still have some reservations about it, I never got him to a 10, but he was more than willing to be supportive of the home birth since that is what I wanted.  After the fact he was completely amazed by the wonderful experience we had and now will talk to anyone about it like it's no big deal.  

All of that to say, that honestly, I don't know if you will be able to get your husband to a 10 before the birth.  If you can get him most of the way then you have done good.  

Has he had a chance to meet with whoever is attending your birth, if you are having someone attend?  That might help if he can talk to that person.   Also do you have any friends who have had homebirths?  Maybe he can talk to the husbands.  

As far as getting him to read the book, I know my husband is not really a reader.  So I would either read stuff to him in the evenings or I would copy a couple of pages and give him those.  It was much less stressful for him to read a couple of pages at a time instead of looking at a big book and deciding to pick it up and start reading.


Hope that helps

Kate, Thanks a lot, that does help..

He has already come with me and talked to my midwife and my doula. My doula is really awesome and I think she got him from a 2 to a 4.. lol. He is just really worried about me and doesn't want to risk having anything happen to me.

The other problem is that we don't really know anyone that has had a home birth. The only person is my doula.. so everyone that we mention it to thinks that I'm (we're) crazy, and why on earth would I want to go through labor without any drugs??? So, maybe he is also just reacting to that.. who knows.

The idea about just copying pages for him is a god one, I am definitely going to try that.

Another obstacle is that he is kind of germ-a-phobic.. and he is really grossed out by the whole thought of the mess of it in our house, and just the fact that he thinks it's going to be gross. I think that talking to someone who has had a home birth would really help in that regard.. ;-)

Thanks for your comments, I will keep you posted!


congrats what made my partner comfortable with the idea of a homebirth was speaking with our midwife and being completely honest about all questions and concerns and just reassuring him that this is whats best for you and your guys baby and that your a 100% confident in your ability to birth. Another good movie for men to watch to just to kinda get a kick outta what he thinks birth is is laboring under an illusion mass media childbirth vs. the real thing i just watched a screening of it locally in my town with the creator of the movie and it was great hope what i said was helpful! best of luck!!
Great link, thank you!

Hi Amanda,


Prepare for the home birth, and have a hospital on 'stand-by' may provide some ease for your husband.  Also, can you hire/ask someone to clean your home post-birth as a comfort to your husband?



Hi Amanda!  Gratz on your first baby! 


It sounds like you are already doing a lot of helpful things.  I was interested in home birth and natural birth (no drugs, vaginal, no interference, etc) with my first pregnancy/delivery (2007), but my husband was completely against it.  After we had a terrible first birth experience, from being scared into induction, nearly 24 hrs of induced labor, a required epidural due to exhaustion and lack of progress, and nearly avoiding a c-section, when we got preggo w/ baby #2 (2010), he was more open to the idea.  Fortunately, the BOBB was out and I bumped into it somewhere.  He actually watched it with me and became interested in helping me have a better (less traumatic) experience. 


We also, at that time, knew no one around us who had had a home birth.  So, it was really difficult to talk about with our friends and family - nearly all of which were quite clear that they thought we were nuts.  :)  But, we knew we didn't want a repeat performance.  So, we either didn't talk about it with most people unless they asked about it.  When someone asked, "What hospital are you having your baby?"  I'd answer with a beaming face and voice: "Oh, we are planning to have our baby at home!  We are so excited because it is such a safer, more relaxing way to give birth.  I hope I never have to give birth in a hospital again!"  If they voiced concern and were obviously entrenched, I would just say, "Well, it is something we have researched thoroughly and the evidence indicates that home birth is as safe, or safer, than hospital birth and the process is so much nicer.  I get personal attention from my midwife, who stays with me the whole time.  And there are certain protocols for emergencies."  Starting a conversation from a point of "evidence" will either open people's minds or force them to hold their piece - they can't argue with published, verifiable, evidence. 


About your husband: don't expect him to read the book.  Most guys learn and process things differently than we do.  Despite having a supportive husband, he never read a single book.  I'm not sure he read a single page in a single book about home birth.  What I found to work best was to read the info and then draw him into conversation with something I thought might interest him.  I might tell him about an interesting statistic I had read, or a technique for labor that was supposed to help me relax, why relaxing is so important in labor, what I learned about how contractions worked (Hey, honey, did you see this neat diagram on how the abs contract during labor and why pitocin messes with you so much?  No wonder my contractions were unbearable when I had pitocin!).  You know your husband better than anyone else, so you have to find ways to tap into his interest. 


Another thing that helped was for us to go to birthing classes together.  We did the 12 week Bradley classes.  That was a big commitment, but INCREDIBLY helpful for us because my husband is a hands-on kinda guy and he needed something like an interactive class to keep his attention. 


I also found that reputable articles, shared with friends and family on facebook and/or via e-mail, was helpful in opening minds and conversations about home birth.  Reading great home birth stories online (I really like and watching home birth videos (though sometimes graphic, very helpful in terms of preparing you for what to expect) was also very helpful because these show how amazing home birth can be. 


One thought to deal with the comments about how this is your first birth and "you don't know what it is like": ask for that person's birth story.  Listen politely, even comment on how rough she probably had it if that is what her story is about, or comment on how it's great that she had such a nice experience in the hospital.  Then counter with what you are looking for in a birth. 


For example, I wanted a peaceful birth where I could lie down, move around, get in the water, etc. with no restrictions (we can't do that in a hospital b/c we are always tied down to the IV, a port at the very least, along with the constant monitoring - yeah, you can ask them to not do all that, but who wants to fight a hospital when you are in labor?  I'll take less stress, thanks ;)).  I didn't want to wear a stupid hospital gown that made me uncomfortable and feel exposed (which consequently increases tension, which increases pain, see the book Childbirth Without Fear by Dr. Grantly Dick-Read).  I didn't want pressure to induce unnecessarily or have an IV (or even a port b/c I always have an allergic reaction to the adhesive that holds it in place).  It was important to me to be able to work with someone (my midwife) who believed natural birth was not just a hopeful outcome, but who believed it to be the normal, expected outcome barring some unforeseen challenge.  (side note: my OB with my first birth told me a natural birth was admirable to shoot for, but not to get my hopes up)  Sure, I had never experienced a home birth before, but I had read a lot of stories and seen videos of home birth.  I had read articles and statistics.  I believed that home birth was the best option for me.  And, if something happened and I wasn't able to have our baby at home, then that was okay too.  But, it was important to me to do my best to have our baby at home. 


When you put it that way, there's not a whole lot someone can say.  A good exercise is to write down your ideal birth scenario.  Prepare yourself for it not to be exactly how you plan it, but don't be afraid to read all you can about birth (the good and the bad, because knowledge can eliminate fear) and think about what you would want to do based on various scenarios.  For example, under what circumstances are you comfortable with switching to a hospital birth (urgent or otherwise).  Understand what can happen and how these scenarios might play out by reading other's stories and talking with experienced midwives.  Share this info with your support group (right now, the wonderful ladies on this forum, your husband and your Mom/sister).


Home birth is absolutely amazing.  I hope to have two more children and, God willing, I will have both at home.  There is no comparison!  I could be stressed out, making sure I have everything packed for a hospital excursion, deal with the nurses who assume you want pit' and all the "advantages" of the hospital, endure the poking and prodding in private areas by people I've never met before, wearing uncomfortable clothes and feeling like I have to "perform" on someone else's time table. 


OR, I can chill out at home, eating snacks, taking a moonlit walk breathing fresh, cool summer night air, chatting with my family while rocking on a birthing ball until the contractions are strong enough for me to get in my heated birthing pool where I can then chill out in amazing comfort, talking, listening to music, drinking water whenever I want it, and feeling everything my baby is doing as she prepares to enter this world.  Then, I can take a warm bath in an herbal soak with rose petals, fit for a queen, cuddle with my baby and go to sleep comfortably in my own bed with no interruptions other than my baby's needs.  I can wear my own comfortable clothes, breastfeed when I want/need to, light soothing candles if I feel like it, etc.  There is absolutely no comparison to the comfort and peace of a home birth. 


Sorry for the ramble!  If you would like to read my home birth story, complete with planning and postpartum, you can check it out on my blog at




Rachel, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. You have no idea how helpful you have been and how much this means to me. Thank you.

I am a first time mom and am due in December.  I do not know anyone who has done a homebirth, either.  I started looking into doing a homebirth after my sister tried to have a natural birth in the hospital, but she had to fight for it every moment and when the baby was crowning, the room became full of people (doctor, intern, nurses, nurse students) and was rushed and chaotic.  I decided that maybe there was a better way to achieve a more intimate, calm, natural birth.  Thankfully, BOBB came out and that is what steered me towards looking at homebirth.

When I tell friends and coworkers about my plans for a homebirth, I tell them that homebirth is my ultimate goal--it will happen if the pregnancy is healthy and no high risk factors come up.  I say that I do intend on using the hospital if there is a need and I live 20 minutes away from one.

Your husband and family will need to have more reassurance.  Be sure they know that you want to pursue homebirth if everything leading up to it is going well.  It might be good to show them the list of reasons you  could no longer plan a homebirth and reasons why a transfer is needed on labor day.  As you know, the midwife is specially trained to identify when homebirth is safe... and when intervention is needed; most of those decisions are able to be made before you are in active labor.  She has equipment for emergencies such as postpartum hemorrhage, oxygen, resuscitating tools for mom and for baby.

As far as mess, the midwife knows just what to do to clean up after a birth.  Also note that hospitals are not as clean of an environment as your home.  MRSA and C-Diff is commonplace in hospitals.

I find that looking at a few homebirth/waterbirth videos are good and then compare them to the hospital birth.  I am assuming that you do not want to be laboring on your back, legs spread apart for MP convenience, and your doctor and nurses telling you to push, push, push.  Let your husband know that you want to be able to be on your feet, your side, in bed, in a bath, in a calm and quiet environment, and be able to push and rest when your body is telling you to do so.  My favorite birth video is 

P.S.  I do want to point out that in BOBB, when Abby goes into labor 5-6 weeks earlier than expected... her midwife encouraged her to get to the hospital as soon as she could.  For some reason, Abby stayed at the apartment for a while longer and labored with Ricki... THEN she left for the crazy taxi ride.

Thank you!! I love the video.. I emailed it to my mom, sisters and MIL. (And shared with hubby too of course).. thanks again!



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