Healthy Home Delivery: Giving Birth at Home

Woman in labor at home

Giving birth at home is a safe and satisfying choice for families who want the best possible start for themselves and their babies.

Families who choose homebirth have a much higher chance of enjoying a natural, physiologic birth, and a much lower chance of experiencing unnecessary medical procedures, with outcomes that are just as safe, compared to healthy mothers and babies birthing in the hospital.

Other homebirth benefits include:


  • Fathers can have a closer and more intimate involvement in labor and birth, which can be difficult in a hospital setting.
  • Siblings or other family members can be present and involved. In contrast, hospitals may not offer the flexibility that families seek.
  • Homebirth mothers may want to avoid hospitals because of a previous bad experience, or fear of a bad experience, which may even be brought on by a visit to a hospital or medical professional.
  • In special circumstances, hospitals may be unable or unwilling to offer gentle or personalized choices, such a preference to avoid routine monitoring and drugs; accommodating the needs of older or younger mothers who want a natural birth (and tend to be subject to higher intervention rates); families seeking a natural birth after cesarean.
  • Women who book for a homebirth have an exceptionally low chance of needing a cesarean.
  • Many homebirth families may have an awareness of the baby’s experience of birth, and a desire to provide the most gentle start possible for the baby
  • Families may be seeking the personal and intimate support provided through one-to-one care with their chosen midwife, Midwifery care usually begins early in pregnancy and lasts through to several weeks after birth
  • Staying home is usually a much more attractive option in labor than a cramped car ride to the hospital!
  • According to a recent US survey, safety is the number one reason that couples give for choosing homebirth.

Reasons why some mothers deliver at home


  • Some mothers do not make it to the hospital to have a baby.
  • Reason vary from lack of money, ignorance, belief, taboo or distance; and sometimes emergency delivery occurs before getting to the hospital. In any of the above cases, it is important to alert a local traditional midwife. If possible months ahead of time in order to prepare for the delivery.

Most midwives are known to do a good job and most can detect signs of danger before it is too late. In such cases, they recommend hospital delivery. Some traditional midwives help the mother with housework and also with the baby until the mother is strong enough to be on her own.

Whether the mother delivers at home or in hospital, the environment must be very clean. All things needed before and after delivery must be prepared ahead of time and stored in a safe place.

Preparation for home delivery


Requirements:

  • A clean sterile razor-blade or a pair of scissors for cutting the umbilical cord.
  • Sterile clean thread for trying the cord.
  • Sanitary towels or home-made pads for the mother.
  • Plastic material or mackintosh for protecting the beddings during delivery.
  • Clean clothes for the midwife and her helper, to change into.
  • Plenty of boiled water which has been cooled and well-stored to keep sterile.
  •  A bed where the mother will lie during delivery, although some mothers deliver on the floor.
  • Some antiseptic for use in cleaning the hands, equipment and mother’s private parts.

NOTE: The birth attendants must be healthy and clean. They must tie a clean cloth around the mouth and nose when delivering. Before delivery, the woman should be cleaned with antiseptic especially around the thighs and pubic area. She should be monitored very carefully. After the head is out, the midwife should make sure that the cord is not coiled around the baby’s neck. After the baby is born, mucus should be cleaned from its nose and mouth to prevent it from choking.
Assisting in childbirth--First Aid Guide
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