“…advocates of home birth have never suggested that *all* women should give birth at home, only that it is a reasonable choice for some women. Given that rather modest claim, the force and vehemence with which home birth is opposed by ACOG seems out of all proportion.” –Elizabeth Armstrong (Princeton University)
Where Birth Has Been
Until the last century or so babies were born at home. In the past century birth has gone from a women’s domain taking place at home to a medical condition.
Doctors assumed the role of midwives. Midwives had traditionally been the professionals to handle pregnancy, birth, and well woman care. Doctors were the ones to handle more complicated and high risk cases where their surgical skills and training may be needed. Doctors certainly are crucial and important to the wellbeing of babies, but normal pregnancies and births are best handled by midwives.
Most women have low risk pregnancies and are able to perfectly safely have a prenatal care administered by a midwife. Midwife care is women centered, and focused on the whole women and the pregnancy is seen as a normal function of the body.
By viewing pregnancy as normal women are able to learn to trust their bodies and their babies to do exactly what they should when they should. This inherent trust often translates to healthier pregnancies emotionally and physically.
Most home births are attended by midwives, there are some doctors who do attend them though. There have been studies that show a home birth is actually a safer place for low risk women to birth her baby than a hospital is. A big part of this is the decreased risk of infection.
Women should consider a home birth if they know they want a natural birth experience, have anxiety around hospitals, or do not want to worry about hospital policies interfering with her needs.
When a woman hires a midwife or doctor to attend her homebirth she will often be given a list of items to have on hand for her labor and birthing.
What do I need?
Usually the midwife or doctor will ask that there be some form of waterproof mattress cover in place. This can be a vinyl cover for the mattress, a shower curtain liner, a plastic drop cloth, whatever as long as it will protect your mattress.
One of the best ideas I saw was a waterproof cover with regular sheets and towels over it. That way the towels absorbed the fluids and muffled the annoying crinkling sound of the cover.
Chux pads these are waterproof absorbent pads. Think puppy training pads. Some people have actually used puppy pads. However, you can order these from a birth supply company pretty cheaply.
You will also need:
A Peri Bottle- for use after delivery.
Cord Claps or Tape
Sterile Scissors (if you chose to cut the cord Lotus Births avoid cord cutting)- your midwife may supply these.
A stainless steel mixing bowl
Several large dark colored trash bags
A working flashlight and extra batteries
A bottle of rubbing alcohol
Clothes for mother
Clothes for baby
Diapers for baby- if using cloth diapers choose 100% cotton, babies bums can be sensitive.
Your practitioner may supply these things or may ask for several more things- it depends on his or her preferences. If you have anything you prefer feel free to suggest it.
Babies are born on his or her time table- they come when they come so have your supplies ready about three weeks before the birth.
Hospital Births are sometimes the best choice for high risk mothers or mothers who prefer the setting in a hospital, they may feel better having access to medical technology at a moment’s notice.
The hospital will provide all the necessary supplies for the actual delivery. However you will still need to bring a bag with some of your preferred items as well as preferred items for your baby. Don’t bring too much as you have to take it all home with you as well as the baby!
About Cristobel: Diapers, Diapers, Diapers, are one of Christobel’s favorite topics as long as they are cloth. One of her favorite brands is Charlie Banana. She shares reviews of cloth diapers as well as insights about being a grandmother. She lives in London, England.