Should you choose a home birth and is home birth safe?
Up to 50% of our clients opt for home birth once they become informed about it on our courses and of the services that are available locally. The average annual rate locally is about 5% and the National rate about 2%.
Many women and couples like the idea of giving birth in the home environment. It is a place where you are more in control and if you feel that there is no medical need to give birth in a hospital then a home birth may well suit you and if you are a resident of the UK, you are entitled to have the presence of an NHS Midwife at your home birth. Certainly if you plan to have a waterbirth, then in order to guarantee access to a birthing pool, you may want to have a home birth, as not all hospitals in the UK have enough for pools for every woman who would like one.
On the Wirral the local Trust actively encourage home birth for low risk women. Here is what they say:
"We actively encourage home births to women with low risk pregnancies, as home has been shown to be the safest place for childbirth for these women.
We have a dedicated team of community midwives on hand to support you through this process and we are on call for you from 37 weeks to 42 weeks of your pregnancy. If you go into labour outside this 5 week period we would advise you to deliver in hospital as this is considered the safest option for you and your baby.
We can also provide you with a pool, free of charge, if you choose to labour and give birth in water. All equipment is delivered to your home when you are 36 weeks pregnant, and is usually removed within 24 hours of the birth.
Babies born at home will be visited by a Community Neonatal Midwife within 72 hours of birth.
Your baby’s hearing screen appointment will be sent to you within 2 weeks.http://www.wuth.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/hospitals/wwch/having-a-baby/labour-care/community/homebirths/"
Obstetric Healthcare providers often claim that a hospital birth a safer than a home birth, but there is little evidence for this with a normal pregnancy with no anticipated problems. Of course if your baby is breech, you are expecting twins, have pre-eclampsia or any history of medical problems around birth, then you will want to consider the medical advice that you are given for the safety of yourself and your baby. However, in a hospital environment you can still use the Hypno Birthing techniques as it will help you remain more relaxed and in control in any birth environment. The most important factors are that you should feel confident, safe, respected and supported in whichever birth environment you choose.
There follows a sample piece from Sarah Wickham. She describes some of the salient issues around the choices of place of birth. While we at Sussex Hypno Birthing agree in principle with her comments, we also feel that she does generalise about the hospital birth environment and so the article has to be taken in context.
Homebirth: What Are the Issues?
This article is copyright to Sarah Wickham at withwoman.co.uk
It is well understood that sensations of pain in labour are regulated by hormones released by the woman’s body. During labour, oxytocin—the hormone that causes contractions and helps the baby be born—works in harmony with endorphins—the body’s own pain relieving hormone.
During a homebirth, the woman’s body will release these hormones according to her needs and she will usually cope well with the sensations of labour.
When a woman attempts to give birth in another environment such as a hospital, however, this process may not work as well. Even if a woman feels rationally that hospitals are “safer” places in which to give birth, her subconscious mind knows that this is not the case, and she feels insecure. This causes her body to secrete the hormone adrenaline, which causes the levels of both oxytocin and endorphins to drop. She experiences far more pain than she would in her own home. Women experience lower levels of intervention at home.
There are two main reasons that women experience lower levels of intervention at home. The first concerns the hormones described above. Adrenaline inhibits the release of oxytocin, and labour may well slow down. Although this slowing of labour is a natural safety mechanism designed to let the woman know she needs to find another environment, it is interpreted by many medical professionals as “failure (of her body) to progress.” Rather than suggest that the woman talk about her fears or find a different environment, they will turn instead to drugs to speed up the labour. This drug can cause distress in the baby, among other effects, and often itself leads to a “cascade of intervention” which may result in an instrumental delivery or a caesarean.
The second reason is that hospitals are systems that need to run efficiently. They need to have procedures in place for workers to follow so that chaos does not ensue. Unfortunately this often means that hospitals have policies where a certain number of interventions are carried out on all women who choose to give birth there. Often there is no evidence to support these interventions, and many of them are known to be harmful when used routinely. Every intervention is useful to a small number of women when used appropriately, but when applied to all women they often cause far more harm than good.
Sara Wickham, excerpted from “Homebirth: What Are the Issues?”.
One to One midwifery care
Is available o the Wirral and this means that you care will be undertaken by normally one dedicated midwife rather than a team of different midwives. They encourage also home birth and support Hypnobirthing. Working in partnership with the NHS, One to One work closely with the wider NHS health care team, including GPs, obstetricians and health visitors, to deliver a free enhanced, innovative maternity service within local communities.