First Days Maternity Supplies Ltd

International Home Birth Day – 6th June

Home birth

Have you considered birthing your new baby in your (and their) home?

home birth

What do you think about the above fact? Were you expecting that percentage of babies to be born at home? As mentioned above, the home birth rates in some areas are significantly higher (and naturally some lower) due to the teams within the NHS Maternity Services that actively encourage home births. 

Most women in the U.K. get all the way through their pregnancy without even the slightest suggestion that home birth is a possibility for them, this is a shame and something that many areas are trying to improve. 

We know not everyone is a suitable candidate for a home birth, those with some medical complications or those women who prefer to use a pain relief that isn’t available at home, such as an epidural or opiates (you can have Entonox/’gas & air’ at home). However, home birth is a real possibility for most women, especially those who haven’t had any pregnancy complications and are having baby number two or more.

home birth

The Netherlands has long been at the very top of the leaderboard when it comes to the number of babies born at home, however, this number is falling very quickly. It is difficult to find concise information as to why the decline is so steep in a country that once had three-quarters of its babies born at home. There are suggestions that negative media coverage of home births has made ladies doubt their home birth choice, women that have more health complications than in previous generations, and the simple fact that women want the stronger pain relief that is now available in a medical setting, for example, A BMC research article states In 2012, 17.6% of Dutch women who had a natural birth used an epidural compared with 5.4% in 2003. Although the numbers have fallen, The Netherlands still keeps its place at the top of the home birth leaderboard and there isn’t another European country about to even get close.

home birth

As it says above, Poland has the lowest home birth rate in Europe with just 0.01% of babies born in their homes. Poland generally has a very medicalized approach to birth, with an article by Kopacz et al. (2011) stating that only 10% of hospitals ‘offer women the freedom choose position during childbirth‘ and 27% ‘allow.. unrestricted contact between mother and baby following childbirth‘. Whilst these statements are alarming, many Polish women believe this is the norm and do not have reason to challenge it.

home birth

Have you considered having your baby in the comfort of your own home, surrounded by your own belongings, with the people you choose to be there, your choice of music playing in the background? Older siblings, your best friend, your husband, wife, dog and cat are all welcome to watch the newest member of your family being born, if you wish for them to be there, of course. Where would you choose to give birth? In a birthing pool in the lounge, the kitchen, on your bed? The choice is entirely yours. What would you do after having the baby? All snuggle up in your own bed an hour after the birth? Order in your favourite take away food or enjoy the summer breeze with your doors and windows open whilst you get to know your new baby in the comfort of your favourite spot on the sofa.

Home birth is not for everyone but it is certainly a real possibility for many, and something that is worth exploring. You could ask your midwife what provisions are available in your area, many areas now have dedicated home birth teams who truly do a wonderful job in helping to facilitate home births. There is no obligation to follow through with it, you can even change your mind where you’re going to birth when you go into labour.

If you do wish to explore more about birthing your baby at home, you can start with the NHS websiteNCT and asking your local midwife. There are also countless other websites and home birth support groups online.

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