Planning a home birth? Some tips to better understand this unique experience

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Have you sworn that you are never going to give birth in a hospital, preferring to endure the pain (without epidural) in the comfort and warmth of your own home? A decision to which you have surely given a great deal of thought, and that isn’t without risk if everything doesn’t go as planned. That said, if you have a delivery with no complications, it could turn out to be a rich emotional experience. Here are a few tips to ensure that everything goes as well as possible.

90% of women worldwide give birth at home. That is to say that it is very common. However, in the UK, this type of birth is fairly rare, and it counts for only around 2% of births. The fact that this practice is nowadays considered “archaic” by certain specialists only feeds the controversy.

What are the necessary conditions to give birth at home?

Obviously, if you hope to give birth in the intimacy of your own home, you need to have a pregnancy without complications. The following types of pregnancies are unfortunately not suitable for home births:

  • if the child is in breech position
  • having twins
  • if the mother has diabetes
  • if the mother has high blood pressure
  • placenta praevia
  • multiple births

What are the risks associated with home births?

As with every delivery, there are risks (risk of haemorrhage, you may need a caesarean, etc.). However, if you have everything well prepared and the birth is supervised by an experienced midwife or a doctor, there should be no more risk than with a hospital birth. Keep in mind that it is always possible to have a transfer to a maternity hospital organised as a plan B, if things don’t go according to plan. Plan for emergency transport, staying in contact with ambulances for example, who are ready to intervene in case of a hitch.

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There is no epidural, only the medical supplies the doctor or midwife brings

When we decide to give birth at home, we commit ourselves to feeling everything right through to the end! Because the epidural is only authorised in maternity hospitals. Something to know before making your final decision…. On the other hand, the midwife (or the doctor) who has been following your pregnancy will arrive armed with a resuscitation kit, products for infusions if necessary and a device for monitoring the baby’s condition. The parents need to provide towels, basins and compresses.

How much does a home birth cost?

Most independent midwives in the UK charge between £2,000 and £5,000 to help you through your pregnancy, labour and birth. This is roughly the same as the cost of private health care throughout a hospital birth, although previous studies have shown that home births can be more cost effective.