Birth Options Series – Natural birth at Home
Welcome and thank you for listening!
Marishka is a digital marketing manager, surfer and follower of Jesus. She recently gave birth to her first child and shares her experience with us in this interview.
A home birth follows the more age-old traditional way of birthing a baby; taking place in your home, assisted by a competent and caring midwife. Many women choose a home birth because they had a disappointing hospital birth, are anxious about hospitals, or simply want to bring Baby into the world in the most relaxed, natural way possible!
How safe is home birth?
Birth is a natural, well-designed process, not a medical procedure. If done properly, a home birth can be safer than a hospital birth. Midwives do not take on high risk pregnancies – like pre-eclampsia or twins – and there are always back-up plans in place with an obstetrician and hospital for emergencies. Throughout the birth, the midwife will monitor Baby’s heart rate and progress, and Mom’s pulse, temperature, blood pressure, and cervical dilation.
Midwives are qualified and equipped to deal with birth concerns such as:
- Baby not breathing
- Mom bleeding heavily after birth
- The umbilical cord wrapped around Baby’s neck
- Baby not descending
- Episiotomies or tearing
Is There Pain Relief?
Midwives use natural pain relief methods. Stronger pain relief is possible at home, but you’ll need a doctor’s prescription ahead of time – plus an antidote in case the medication affects Baby. However, pain is related to stress; anxiety tells the body to slow the labour, but the body is already telling the uterus to push – this clash is painful! Because home births aim to be more relaxed, there is usually less fear and anxiety, and therefore less pain.
Midwives will use effective natural methods like massage and homeopathic remedies to help you. Most importantly, a midwife encourages and supports you, which is essential to a good delivery!
What Are The Benefits?
- The relaxed atmosphere can make labour progress easier
- You get to establish a relationship with the midwife before the birth, and get daily check-ups afterwards
- Hospitals often focus on efficiency, while home births focus on the mother’s needs and preferences
- Moms feel empowered; they decide what position to deliver in, when to eat, and whether to walk around
- There is freedom and privacy; Moms cans strip if they like, or walk around the garden
- The familiar environment is comforting; and afterwards Mom can relax in her own environment and bed
- Mom and Baby are never separated
- Visitors and family members are allowed – even for the birth itself, if you want that!
Choosing A Midwife
Ensure that your midwife:
- Has a good rapport with you, and makes you feel confident
- Is registered with the South African Nursing Council
- Has 3–5 years post graduate experience, including home birth
- Has a maximum workload of 10 deliveries per month
- Has a working relationship with a back-up doctor and midwife
- Brings the necessary equipment for any interventions that may be needed, like oxygen, suction, intubation equipment, intravenous access, oxytocins, catheters, and suture materials