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Could I Have a Home Birth?

Home births are increasing in popularity again, with many parents warming to the idea of baby arriving in the comfort of the home environment.  Not to mention the ability to freshen up in your own bath and snuggle with your newborn in your own bed.  So is home birth  for you?

When is it Safe to Consider a Home Birth?

Mercifully the majority of women experience a straightforward pregnancy, labour and birth.  If you are healthy and your pregnancy is going well, then a home birth should be possible, and a safe option for you to consider.

You are considered to be at low risk of complications if:

  • you have no known medical conditions that may affect pregnancy
  • you are under 35 – the risks of genetic complications such as Down’s Syndrome are known to increase more rapidly beyond this age
  • your baby is developing well and no problems have been identified during scans

Your midwife is well placed to advise you on your choices, and even if the pregnancy has experienced a few hiccups it may still be okay for you to choose a home birth.  If your medical carers advise against it your wishes should still be respected, but you may want to consider the following cases where home birth is really not advised.

home birth

When Home Birth May not be the Best Option

Giving birth outside a hospital environment has obvious risks – if there are complications that require significant medical intervention it will take longer to transfer you to hospital.  Pain relief options are also limited at home – you cannot have an epidural for example.

In the following cases it is not advised to consider a home birth:

  • First babies – research has shown that first-time mothers can be up to 3 times as likely to suffer complications in a home birth environment, although the overall risk is still very low
  • Previous complications – if earlier pregnancies have not been straightforward you are deemed to be a higher risk of complications in future birth processes
  • Active infections – the presence of, or recent exposure to, infections such as HIV, Hepatitis B or C, chickenpox, German measles or genital herpes can put you and your baby at risk and the sanitised hospital environment may be the best option here
  • Current pregnancy complications – including multiple births, placental praevia, pre-eclampsia, babies in breech position or gestational diabetes, can all increase the risk of problems for you and your baby during labour and birth
  • Previous caesarean – if you have already had a caesarean birth the risk of requiring this intervention in subsequent pregnancies is greatly increased, so a hospital birth is generally advised

Your medical carers will be able to advise you on your suitability for a home birth.  It is always possible to change your mind at a later date.  Independent Midwives can offer more flexibility in your choice, but you are always advised to consider all of the risks before you make your final decision.

Home birth can be a very rewarding experience.  Provided you have all the facts and are aware of the potential risks, you can feel confident in making a decision that is right for you.

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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