Alright, so you want a homebirth. Before you decide what is best for you and your family, we should probably break down the process a bit.
So mamas and papas, everyone both and in between, let’s explore the mystical, the magical, the sometimes gross but always awesome world of homebirths! (Not to be confused with homebrews or homeboys, which are typically described these ways also.)
A homebirth is quite literally a birth at home. It is performed at home because of personal convictions, or a desire to have your home environment be the first thing your child experiences. A midwife, or other medical practitioner is typically also at your home during the birth, because whether it’s an emergency or a party: it’s nice to have a professional of some sort with you through every step of the experience.
The pros and cons are extensive, and hopefully this article isn’t all you’re consulting, (it shouldn’t be). This is a huge, much debated-over topic that I highly recommend you do research on and talk over with your family and medical providers before you make any sort of decision or step forward.
It is typically reported that in developed countries, infant mortality rates are roughly the same for home births as they are for hospital births. But still: there needs to be some sort of qualified person there with you. Pregnancy is not DIY.
Caveat: This is in areas where there are standardized midwife services are available. If there are not standardized midwife services, then you really need to get to know whoever you chose as a professional. Then and only then, decide if this is the best thing medically for you and your family. If there is a total lack of midwives/doctors in your area, or your chosen professional has not wholeheartedly expressed willingness to be at your home birth- for the loves of Zeus go to a hospital or a birthing center for the birth.
If you have had a C-section before this birth, many birth professionals recommend not attempting homebirth. C-sections increase the risk of prolapse. (Your uterus falling down or even out, to put it in layman’s terms.) Although some people have successfully given birth at home post C-section, you may want to consider the risk vs. reward.
In addition: If you are having multiple births or a potential breech birth, it is medically advisable to go to the hospital. Multiple births and potential breech births carry a much higher risk of complications and maternal/infant mortality.
Have a backup plan: Do not have a homebirth unless you have a plan laid out for how you will quickly and safely get to the hospital, or place of care. If there is an emergency, you will need to have this plan already laid out since people tend to panic and make mistakes under extreme duress.
You need to let whoever else lives in your primary living space know when/where this homebirth will most likely happen. I can’t believe I have to say this, but it has happened.
If you have any pre-existing conditions that would make childbirth complicated, I advise going to a hospital for the birth. If this isn’t an option morally or financially, then you need to let your primary caregiver at the birth know and educate yourself about the risks.
While it is said that homebirths are less painful than hospital births because of reduced stress levels, keep in mind that home birth situations do not typically provide pharmaceutical pain relief nor pharmaceutical labor induction. If this is a huge problem for you, then a hospital is most likely the best choice for you.
You need to have a clean area ahead of time for this birth. Infections are a thing.
No state prosecutes a mother for giving birth outside of a hospital, and it is legal in all states to hire a certified, professional midwife. No matter how awesome your Aunt Peg is, unless she has been certified, she is not a certified professional midwife. Sorry.
The above point is very important because while there is nothing wrong with not being certified, (pieces of paper do not necessarily imply skill,) it is legal in only 27 states to hire a direct entry midwife, aka someone with no midwife certification of any form. If you hire a direct entry midwife, or work as one, you are able to be prosecuted. Check out your state’s rules to make sure your baby isn’t the cause of a misdemeanor.
Still with me? Good. What’s important to know is that whatever you chose, you’re not alone. Don’t feel like homebirths are just for radical, hippie folk or anarchist punks. (Even if you are. And if you are rock on, and if you’re not, that’s chill too.) Some very stereotypically normal people have had homebirths, along with some less than vanilla folk. Examples: Ani Defranco and Cindy Crawford. Alanis Morissette and Tabitha King, wife of Stephen King. Lucy Lawless and Jade Jagger. The woman in the fur coat next to you on the bus reading Southern Living and the PETA protestor outside the bus stop, who will in a few moments throw paint on that coat.
It’s natural. It’s normal. But it’s very, very, very important to be smart and safe.
For additional information on home births, try the following resources:
yo automatically labelling every guy wearing a dress genderqueer/trans* is harmful, because what you are basically saying is that no man can ever engage in femininity - whereas women have been wearing trousers and suits for years and yet those traditionally masculine items of clothing are ‘gender neutral’. you’re trying to break down archaic gender roles but you’re just enforcing them in a different way. masculinity is not neutral. c’mon.