Publicly announcing your plan to birth at home can unleash a lot of powerful emotion from family, friends and even strangers.
People tend to think giving birth anywhere other than in a hospital setting is dangerous, irresponsible and alternative.
While the larger population tends to label home birthers as ‘crazy hippies’, the growing popularity of birthing at home paints a different picture.
Far from being the domain of hippies, women who choose to homebirth are from many walks of life – including celebrities, lawyers, doctors and businesswomen.
Here are 5 things homebirth mamas have in common:
#1: They Know How Important The Place Of Birth Can Be
Ask a woman where she gave birth and she’ll likely tell you her local hospital. Ask them why they gave birth in a hospital setting, and the answer is usually because it’s ‘what you do’. Women are conditioned to think hospitals are the only place to give birth safely. Studies have long proven homebirth to be a safe option for low risk women.
Homebirthing women have a vision for their birth. They may have many reasons why they want a homebirth, but they all have a similar vision – for their baby to be born safely, gently and naturally. They strive to be empowered by their birth support and their role as decision maker respected at all times, without having to fight for respect or autonomy.
Women with this vision look at all the birth settings available, and know that birthing at home offers the right conditions for their needs to be met.
#2: They Trust Their Bodies
Women in today’s culture are taught their bodies are faulty. For the last 100 years, childbirth has been managed, so a woman’s instinctual ability to give birth has been undermined.
Homebirth mothers know all too well that birth is unpredictable and things can change. Just like with any birth, they know there will be some risk they may have to face. They know birth is normal and natural, and because it’s natural, it’s not 100% infallible.
Women birthing at home are confident their bodies are capable of birth, and they respect that birth will be what it will be.
#3: They're Often Educated
The choice to birth at home is often based on avoiding intervention based care common in a hospital setting. Homebirth mamas invest a lot of time researching their options, educating themselves about birth, and are aware of both the risks and benefits of all types of birth settings.
Women who research the rates of interventions, their risks and outcomes, are more likely to choose to birth in a setting that avoids the medical maternity model.
A homebirth mama is aware of the signs and symptoms of potential problems, and is willing to seek medical intervention when needed. Women birthing at home are likely to immerse themselves in learning about birth as a normal physiological process, learn about optimal fetal positioning, enrol in a pregnancy yoga class, or undertake independent birth preparation sessions.
According to a survey in the US, over 60% of women choosing to homebirth are college educated. In Australia, a researcher identified that 75% of women birthing at home are likely to have a tertiary education. This highlights that women who are choosing birth at home are not women who are reckless and uneducated. In fact, they are well acquainted to doing research.
#4. They Choose A Great Birth Team (And Know Why It's Crucial)
Women choosing to birth at home are committed to investing time and energy into their birth support team. This usually includes homebirth midwives who are supportive of their choice for birth, as well as doulas, who provide non-medical support.
It might take more than a few interviews and listening to their gut instincts (as well as the confidence to trust them). Homebirth mamas want to know about their care providers’ circumstances for transfers, support limitations, experience and training, back up plans, and their emergency equipment.
Homebirth mamas often have an instinctual feel for the ‘right’ midwife and doula. The relationship developed during her pregnancy is central to her care and wellbeing and will support her during labour. Her birth team is invited into and become part of the fabric of her family. What her team knows about the physical and emotional needs of a homebirth mama will come into play during labour, birth and postnatally.
#5: Safety And Wellbeing Always Comes First
Many pregnant women put the safety and wellbeing of their baby at the top of their priority list when it comes to maternity care.
Homebirthing mamas understand their own emotional and physical needs are key to ensuring the birth of their baby is as safe and as positive as possible. Nutrition, sleep and emotional wellbeing are recognised as important ingredients to growing a baby.
Homebirth mamas tend to have more focused care from their midwife during pregnancy. This continuity of care is specialised for their personal situation and takes into account their daily life and any particular emotional issues. Having a strong connection to a midwife enables women to feel safe and nurtured during times of challenge.
Choosing the place you will give birth in is one of the most important decisions a woman can make, and can have a significant impact on her birth outcome. While the majority of women in advantaged countries give birth in a hospital setting, homebirth is gaining momentum and research is showing that it’s a safe choice for low risk women.