Home Birth Safety

What to do When You’re Unable to Birth at Home

15 Comments 28 March 2010

When a woman is planning to birth at home and circumstances arise that prevent her from doing so, it is natural to feel disappointed.

Whether hospital birth is necessary due to health issues with mother or baby, transfer due to emotional reasons or maternal fatigue, or even in the case of true emergency, it’s a let down.

A woman may feel as though she failed. Or that her body failed her. She may doubt her inner strength. And all of these thoughts can quickly lead to an emotional downward spiral in the midst of one of the most amazing and precious moments of a lifetime – childbirth.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Don’t beat yourselves up, mamas!

Have an empowering hospital birth experience.

If your intention was to birth at home and your plans went awry, your first inclination when thinking about birthing in a hospital may be down right nauseating. I understand.

You sense your shoulders rising as you hold your breath imagining the scenario of nurses coming in and out of your birth space, asking, “would you like your epidural now?” after you and your birth partner have repeatedly said NO pain med talk please.

Will they allow you to move around? Will you be able to labor in the tub? What if you get tired, will they suggest hooking you up to an iv?

While these thoughts, questions and fears are completely valid, let’s make them productive rather than super scary.

Talk about how you feel.

During your next prenatal visit, say exactly what is on your mind. Spell it out. List your fears, concerns, points of anxiety and the like. Tell your doctor, whether they have time or not, are listening or even care – just say it.

Tell him or her that you were planning on having a home birth and have discovered through whatever your unique experience is that is disabling you from giving birth that way, that you’re making the best choice for you and your child to birth in the safety of a hospital.

That being said, you would like to create the most positive, peaceful and enjoyable birth experience imaginable, given your circumstances.

Go into the hospital empowered and excited that you are about to give birth!

You CAN have a wonderful natural birth in a hospital!! (repeat 10x)

Seriously, you can. Many women have before you, and many more will after.

Don’t get so wrapped up in the thought that you’re not giving birth at home that you forget to take care of yourself emotionally.

And…

If you are giving birth in a hospital due to a medical reason, and need assistance, help or a various form of medical intervention, please try not to beat yourself up over it.

Although it may be completely natural to grieve your experience, don’t blame yourself. Guilt is useless, will make you feel less powerful and may seriously compromise your relationship with your infant.

If you feel judged by others, know their opinions are theirs and have nothing to do with you. A true friend will never look down on you for doing what you need to do for the benefit of you and your child.

Remember that the thoughts you tell yourself are the thoughts you will believe. So if you find yourself talking negatively to yourself, stop and start saying nice things. It will make a huge difference.

Create a home-like hospital birth atmosphere.

What can you bring with you to help the hospital room feel less like a hospital room and more like your home? A framed picture, candle, or a favorite blanket? How about making some affirmation cards?

Here are some powerfully positive birth affirmations:

  • Home is where my heart is.
  • My baby and I are full of light and love.
  • My body knows how to birth.
  • There is no hurry to birth – baby will come in its own time.
  • I will surrender to the awesome power of my body.
  • Birth is a wonderful, safe experience.
  • I trust my body.
  • My body and my baby are strong.
  • Relaxed mind; relaxed body.
  • Muscles work in harmony to give birth.
  • My birth will be gentle.
  • Breathe easy, full and deep.
  • I will let go and simply be.
  • Conserve energy between contractions.
  • Love love love love love love love.
  • I am one among thousands of birthing women.
  • My baby and I are working together.
  • The way I give birth is right and unique.
  • My body is wise.

Make a sign or card to congratulate you when you arrive back home – to the home that will be so sweet.

Recommended reading for home birth-minded mamas

Homebirth in the Hospital: Integrating Natural Childbirth with Modern Medicine written by Stacey Marie Kerr, MD. Here is an excerpt from the first page:

“Normal birth is not a medical procedure. Normal birth a miraculous and sometimes stressful time for families, but it usually does not require medical intervention. In reality, we find that the more we intervene in an uncomplicated birth, the more we end up taking over for Mother Nature…”

Gasp! Could Stacey be a Midwife in Disguise?! ::wink::

Your Comments

15 Comments so far

  1. Great list, Kaitlin! I attend many really lovely hospital births, it’s certainly do-able. I might add to your list, “if you haven’t already, hire a doula”. A skilled doula can help SO MUCH to make the hospital experience more positive! You can’t ever have a home birth in the hospital, but she can help you make it as close to home as possible. :) Thanks for all you’re doing for moms and babies!

  2. Great post! One of the most beautiful births I’ve attended as a doula was at a hospital. They had hoped to have a home birth, but because of medical history were unable to. I agree with Jessica. Doula doula doula! It’s amazing what a skilled doula can provide, especially in a hospital. I WISH I would have had one for my first (and only) hospital birth. It’s what motivated me to become one!

  3. This is such a great post Kaitlin, thank you.

    I love quickly changing a labour & delivery room, into a personally tailored birthing area. I find music to really help, and those cheap dollar store battery powered tea light candles in a pretty votive.

    Such simple things can really make a world of difference. Another that seems to help, if asking to wear your own clothing, keeps the mothers sense of self.

    Thank you!
    Amber Morrisey (@BirthRoutes)

  4. mamapoekie says:

    Another wonderful article. Like the affirmation cards, shring again

  5. emt training says:

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, I bookmarked it.

  6. Rick says:

    Another wonderful article. Like the affirmation cards, shring again

  7. Brad says:

    Great post! One of the most beautiful births I’ve attended as a doula was at a hospital. They had hoped to have a home birth, but because of medical history were unable to. I agree with Jessica. Doula doula doula! It’s amazing what a skilled doula can provide, especially in a hospital. I WISH I would have had one for my first (and only) hospital birth. It’s what motivated me to become one!

  8. labortrials says:

    Just now read this, and I may refer to it in a post I’m contemplating writing. I was planning a HBA2C but felt kind of forced into a VBA2C. I’m thrilled that my baby came vaginally, but I do have some regrets, and I’m very disappointed in my midwife…

  9. Loraine says:

    Love this and you posted it a perfect time. I was planning a homebirth and due to medical reasons may have to birth in a hospital. I have been feeling very down and upset about it. After reading this though, I feel a small bit of hope. Thank you for this article!


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    [...] I’ve written about this topic before when I wrote about the ability to have a peaceful, natural birth in a hospital. [...]

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    [...] What to do When You’re Unable to Birth at Home [...]

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