How can a first time mother give birth at home?
So much about pregnancy, labor and birth is unknown to a first time mom.
There are so many questions, curiosities and worries.
Like, “How will I know when contractions are really starting?” or “Will I know how or when to push?”
And those are just the part about the birth.
What about after? What about nursing? What about the first night? Wouldn’t it be easier if there was an instruction manual, or even better, qualified staff to answer these questions for you?
Of course it would! But the journey is full of learning, self-discovery and can be a lot of fun!
Preparing for labor and birth is well worth it. Even though the actually feeling of contractions cannot be defined and varies from woman to woman, understanding the process of birth can answer a lot of questions.
For women planning a home birth during their first pregnancy, questions are coupled with dream-like visions of candles and bath water, a birth ball and their own bed to sleep in the night they give birth.
That scene may sound crazy to some women. Actually, to the majority.
To women considering home birth however, it is hospital births that seem odd. Home seems more natural.
It isn’t always perfectly black and white. Sometimes women are interested in home birth but something is holding them back. In this article, I’d like to offer a few tidbits of advice to help prepare a woman for home birth as a first time mom.
In the United States, birth is more often regarded with fear than trust and relaxation.
Replacing fear with trust is the first step for a new mom to feel comfortable with home birth.
There are several ways to learn how to trust the process of birth.
One of the best things to do is read about the statistics of home birth vs. hospital birth.
Research from around the world shows that planned home birth with an experienced professional (a midwife) is as safe as hospital birth.
That is only the first line as part of a popular pro-home birth slogan. Here is the full sentence:
“Planned home birth with an experienced professional is as safe *if not safer, if considering the rate of unnecessary medical interventions* as hospital birth.
Take a minute to digest that. Really think about it.
Home birth is as safe as hospital birth, if not safer when considering the rate of unnecessary (dangerous) medical interventions.
Studies on home birth are showing that the outcomes of birth are better for mom and baby when less medical intervention is introduced. By medical intervention I mean, cesarean section, the use of forceps or vacuum to assist delivery, labor induction and/or augmentation, and continual fetal heart monitoring.
Another way to discover the uniquely peaceful qualities of home birth is talking with women who have given birth at home before.
This is just as powerful, if not more so, than reading stats! Home birth mamas are eager to share their stories. You can find a lot of home birth stories on this site and hook up with plenty of home birth moms on BBH Facebook.
Once a woman has read through and believes the benefits of home birth outweigh the risks, the emotional battle is usually won.
That is where trust replaces fear.
The next possible emotional challenge is discussing, or not discussing, plans to give birth at home with family and friends.
Some women are perfectly comfortable shouting loud and proud, while others may keep the news to themselves and their significant other.
There is no rule book to follow on this one – it’s up to your personality, your personal relationships and preference.
Here are a few affirmations or mantras to help you trust birth:
- Trust home birth is safe
- Trust your body knows what to do, even when it doesn’t know
- Trust that your midwife is a capable, caring and experienced professional
- Trust you are strong and can confront challenges with bravery
- Trust the gigantic power that is birth and it’s place, meaning and purpose in the world
- Trust your body knows what to do when your mind does not
Above all else, trust your gut!
Did you give birth at home to your first child?
Share your experience and advice with other moms who might be reading this post!