Homebirth is a gentle choice for you and for your baby. The benefits of being in charge of your own birth go far beyond your comfort. Home is the ideal environment for most babies to be born into.
Better for Baby
Your baby has a birthday that is perfect for him or her. Though some home birth midwives might recommend harsh methods to “induce” labor, generally labor begins on its own (I would strongly recommend you decline herbs, castor oil, etc. to begin labor – those are literally inductions).
This means that your baby comes at the right time! A healthy, well-nourished mother and baby pair work together and labor starts at the optimal time for your baby’s development.
Labor at home is generally not rushed. If you have a midwife who trusts in the birth process, or if you’ve chosen and unassisted birth, you can labor on your own timetable. Sometimes labor stops and starts, or slows for a time to give you (and baby) a rest. Sometimes it moves rapidly as you and baby work to get to each other 🙂 These rest times and the work you need to do with your baby to get him or her born are honored and respected (even if they don’t fit a “textbook” labor). This can mean a lot for your baby’s safety during labor.
Babies born at home don’t have unnecessary drugs flooding their systems and their placentas. This means that baby is more alert and aware from the start. Drug impaired babies may not be as ready to interact with you. They may also suffer from decreased respiration (have a harder time breathing) and trouble starting breastfeeding.
An attentive, alert baby is ready to bond with you, and both of you are benefiting from the natural hormones of labor (such as oxytocin) to create a strong bond right from the start.
Your baby’s doesn’t have the pain of a monitor screwed through his skin and into his skull. He is not forced into a single position that may cause him distress – because you are able to move around.
Your baby doesn’t have to deal with uterine contractions that are too hard pushing on him, as he might if you were given synthetic oxytocin (pitocin) to speed or strengthen labor. He doesn’t have his body deprived of nutrients it needs because you are allowed to eat and drink what you need for both of you.
He is not pulled out by a pair of metal forceps. He is not sucked out by a vacuum extractor. His head is supported as it is born. He is placed directly on your chest. He isn’t suctioned or bothered unless he needs immediate care. His cord is not cut until you decide that it is ok to cut it – so he gets the last of the rich blood from his placenta. He is allowed to be with you as the two of you check each other out 🙂 It is beautiful.
You Make the Decisions
At your homebirth you are allowed to choose the positions and places best for you. You are not confined to a bed. If you want to walk around you do so – you’re not left uncomfortable, cramped, and contracting. You can stretch out, you can curl up. You can even get into a tub of warm, relaxing water!
You do not have uncomfortable belts strapped to you. There is no pain from an IV stuck in your arm, or even a heplock. You do not have a hungry stomach. You are not thirsty – food an drink are given to you if you ask.
As you enter the second stage of labor, the homebirth atmosphere is even more pronounced. Nobody is staring at the clock instead of you. Nobody is shouting at you to “push, push, push!” In fact, your midwife may be encouraging you to go slowly.
Support all the way
She uses hot compresses to support the tissues of your perineum. If you’re in the tub, the water is providing a simple equalizing pressure to your tissues. Your baby’s head is allowed to move slowly down the birth canal, giving your tissues the time to stretch around the baby’s head.
Sometimes your baby will come fast and furious, no matter how slowly you are trying to go, but with a homebirth there are no forced episiotomies, no forceps, and no vacuum extractors. Any tears are repaired properly, without sutures that are too tight (some midwives may have to take you to the doctor or hospital for sutures.) Some small tears are left to heal on their own, without the pain of stitches.
Your baby’s placenta is not pulled out of you. You are allowed to birth the placenta gently and when you feel the urge.
Lack of strained and ridiculous pushing and the ability to birth in whatever position you wish during the second stage, along with freedom of movement in the first stage, leave you feeling better postpartum. You will feel less muscle soreness in the early days postpartum and your bottom may feel less sore than if you’d been forced to be in one place and to birth a certain way. If you had a water birth, you may not feel much muscle soreness at all.
Home birth is an experience that you will never forget. Almost all women who have a homebirth are exceptionally pleased with their experience. It truly is the gentlest way to bring a baby into the world. Nothing could be more natural than giving birth in your own home. It’s a wonderful, sweet option for you, your baby, and your new family.