How to have a homebirth in hospital

This is a post that I never thought that I would need to write, but it isn’t a new concept!  To give you some context – I was born at home.  My mother is a great advocate for homebirth, but I was a first time parent – I thought I knew better! Does that sound familiar?

Why did I want a ‘homebirth in hospital’?

My mum was so disappointed that I’d chosen to give birth in hospital, but I was under the misconception that it was safer.  So having decided on a hospital birth, I assumed that I would have a natural birth in the hospital.  After all, I was just going in to have my baby! 

Why should you aim for a ‘home birth’ if you choose to go to hospital?

Physiologically mammals give birth fairly easily, quietly and with little fuss.  Optimal conditions for human mammals to give birth are most likely to be found at home, where you feel safe, secure and with the support of those who know and care for you.  The environment at home is conducive to normal straightforward birth that progresses without interference.

A managed birth is just that, it is ‘managed’ by the Doctors and Midwives that look after you.   Protocols will put you on a timeframe, monitoring will impede your movement.  Drips will speed up your labour, instruments or surgery may be needed to deliver your baby.  

It is really important that you understand the difference and do not confuse the two.

I want a normal birth, what can I do?

Its 2022, we had a pandemic, the maternity services are now running with a staffing crisis, home births are often unavailable (and cancelled completely in many areas). The midwifery led units are also often also closed due to lack of staff available to run them.

So actually, now more women than ever are going into hospital to have their babies, even when they had planned to birth at home.  Women who plan to have home births are being asked to transfer in for Midwifery care. Some of these women will choose to stay at home and birth without a midwife. More on that in a future post!

5 things that you can do to optimise your chances giving birth naturally yourself without medical support.

  1. Doing your birth preparation and practising your hypnobirthing techniques will make all the difference to how you feel in labour.  When you and your birth partners are calm and fully understand what is happening and how to deal with it makes for a peaceful experience.  There is no need for panic!
  2. Setting up your home environment is really important as you will be spending a larger proportion of your labour at home.  Setting it up for your comfort and to promote optimal hormonal response will help keep you in the labour zone.
  3. Choosing when to go to the hospital is probably the most important consideration.  Spending as much time as you can at home before leaving for the hospital gives you the best chance of birthing your baby vaginally.
  4. Transferring elements of your environment with you can make all the difference.  Battery tealights, smells from home.  It all makes for a relaxing hospital environment.  If you are relaxed, your care team will be relaxed.  Relaxed bodies birth easier!
  5. Having a robust birth plan, detailing your wishes, your quirks and your ‘need to know’ will advocate for the birth that you hope for.  
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So what happened to me?

How did my ‘home birth in hospital’ go? 

I was one of the lucky ones. My first birth did not cascade to a whole lot of intervention despite an unnecessary rupture of membranes (ARM), I did actually go on to have a vaginal birth albeit with a nasty second degree tear.  I was supported (poorly) to breastfeed and stayed in hospital for 4 nights to recover.  I was one of the lucky ones, knowing what I know now.  I can see how easily this birth could have ended up in a theatre delivery. 

There is good research that birthing at home with the care of midwives is the safest option for all uncomplicated pregnancies. In fact very few women actually need the care of an obstetric team during birth. It is really important to understand that location matters and the very fact of being in hospital makes it more difficult for your body to do its thing.

Published by Medway Hypnobirth

My name is Gill and I am the founder of Medway Hypnobirth. I am a former Midwife with over 15 years experience in antenatal, labour and postnatal care. I have a passion for birth and hope to share my passion for birth with you. I have 3 grown up children (the first of whom followed a long journey of infertility and IVF) who were all born in hospital. I followed my birthing plan which literally stated that I wanted a 'homebirth in hospital'. Throughout my Midwifery journey, I have been present at a fair few homebirths and seen many more babies birthed in hospital and in theatre. Birth follows its own course and I have seen hypnobirth techniques helping many women stay in control of their birth however it happens. I absolutely love teaching hypnobirth, as I can see how it positively affects my clients birthing experiences. The personal support that I can give you at your birth is another key service that I provide. My doula clients get to appreciate that extra level of emotional support that having a doula give you. If you want to find out more about any of the services I provide. Do not hesitate to contact me.

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