According to a study carried out in the Netherlands in mid 2013, giving birth at home is becoming more popular. With advances in midwifery and new equipment being developed, a home birth is just as safe as having your baby in hospital. Birthing pools have been around for a while now, and new materials and techniques make home birth much easier and can help alleviate any problems.
The British Medical Journal support the report and the view that planned home births are potentially less risky than hospital births. The findings of a Dutch study were that severe risks of home births were one in 1,000 in comparison to 2.3 in 1,000 for hospital births.
The Royal College of Midwifery recognised the study and said that it supported the general opinion that there were safety benefits of having your baby at home. The study also found that that this was particularly true for second births. However, some warnings from some obstetricians were that the system of home births in the Netherlands was different from those in the UK.
There is a wide disparity between countries as to the approach to home birth. In many African countries, for example, having the baby at home is the norm. Different countries have different ways of dealing with things, so if you are having your baby outside the UK, you will need to study their practices.
Having your baby in the comfort of your own home with a midwife in attendance is less stressful than having such a personal procedure in an alien environment. It is a very individual decision whether to have your baby in hospital or opt for a home birth. Professional bodies such as midwives and obstetricians are in full support of women with non complicated pregnancies having their babies at home. A statement from the Royal College of Midwives and (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in 2007 made it clear that there is plenty of evidence that a home birth is both safe and satisfying.
Your doctor or midwife cannot deny you a home birth so you may need to be insistent and persistent. If you have already decided to have a home birth and your doctor or midwife is not in favour, you can write a birthing plan, find out what equipment you will need and get organised. Great preparation is the key. Mitigating the risks by good planning and looking at “what if” scenarios are all part of the planning. You and your family will need to know what to do if there are complications and you have to ultimately go to hospital. Simple things such as having a bag ready with everything you need is important so that family members do not have to go searching for items you have forgotten at the last minute. Having plenty of clean towels and hot water is fundamental and are part of the package.
Whether you are having your first or subsequent babies, the feeling of achievement however many you have will be second to none.
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