• Amy Fairbrother

Home Birth Awareness Week 2018

Happy Home Birth Awareness Week!!

Now, you may ask why this is a thing because "doesn't everybody know about home birth?". If this is your response, that's great because it means that you already know a bit about home birth being an option, however, lots of people believe that they have to give birth in hospital, that they have no choice. Of course, there are situations where birthing at home would be a risk if you have certain complications during pregnancy, however, the point here is that everyone should be made aware that it can be an option, and I aim to shed some light on the positives of home birth.

Did you know...?

In England, about one in every 40 births (2.3 per cent) is at home, in Wales, about one in every 30 births (three per cent), in Scotland, about one in every 100 births (one per cent) is at home and in Northern Ireland, fewer than one in 300 births (0.3 per cent) is at home. That's really not very many! Starting in the 1900's, having your baby in hospital has increasingly become the norm and from that shift, a negative view of home birth has bloomed.

These statistics are so low, but not all that surprising really. I have seen the reactions on faces of friends and family when their loved one announces that they have decided to birth at home, and it's very rarely a positive one!

We're so used to seeing hospital births in TV shows and films that it's easy to forget that women have been birthing since forever. So what is it about home birth that seems so "out there" to so many people? Because we never see it depicted in the media. Sometimes it isn't even listed as an option of where women are able to give birth.

In an attempt to try to lesson the negative stigma, here is a list of reasons why someone might choose a home birth:

Pro's of home birth:

- Your house, your rules. Being on home territory can empower women and help them to feel in control.

- You can have as many people present as you like, whereas a lot of hospitals have a limit on birth partners and specific visiting hours.

- Access to your home comforts. Never underestimate the simple joys of being able to use your own toilet and to sleep in your comfy bed if things slow down in labour.

- If a woman doesn't want any medical pain relief, having a home birth is one way of increasing the likelihood of her going without. Although it's still possible to have things like gas and air or pethidine at home.

- If the idea of being in a hospital strikes fear or anxiety for a woman, the adrenaline would likely slow down the process of labour, so being at home where she is relaxed might make for an easier labour and birth.

There are many more positives about home birth but I won't list them all because I am not, by any means, trying to persuade everyone to give birth at home. Everyone is totally different, in different situations with different past experiences. For a lot of women, being in a hospital will make them feel relaxed and at ease - making for an easier labour for them.

My main point here is not that home birth is the best choice, but that home birth is an option! And if someone decides to birth at home, it's not because they are trying to "beat" someone else's birth (it's not a competition) but because they are doing what feels right for them.

Quite often home birth is discouraged by friends, family and even sometimes midwives, due to their own opinions and not necessarily based on evidence.

Let's start supporting each other's decisions! And for those of you who have had a home birth - share your story. You might just give someone else the support they are looking for.


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