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  1. #1
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    Home or Hospital? Is there a 'best' birthing option?

    Hi all

    One of the questions many women contemplating homebirth will ask themselves is what the 'best' choice is. With conflicting media coverage, the weight of public opinion, and family and friends who may be opposed to the idea of homebirth it can certainly be hard to know which way to turn.

    Sometimes when considering this choice in the present it can be good to consider how we, as birthing women, arrived here from our past. I watched a great lecture recently by Caroline Homer, a well-respected and published midwife and advocate for home birth. With a good dose of humour thrown in, it takes you on a whirlwind ride through the history of the home versus hospital debate, how we got here, and what makes a 'good' birthing option.

    You can view it here: Home or Hospital? Is there a 'best' birthing option?

    If you opted for a homebirth, was it all you hoped? If you chose a hospital birth were you satisfied with you decision? Would you choose different 'next time?'

    Regards
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  2. #2
    Thank you for this interesting post and lecture clip.

    My two births have both been hospital births. The first was in a midwife led birth centre and the second was in the midwife led section of the labour ward. However, with my second birth I didn't go into hospital until I was around 9cm dilated and then my baby was born around 40 minutes labour. With this birth I had a doula to support us as I laboured at home (for around 7 hours of active labour - I am estimating being I did not have any internal examinations until I got to hospital) so, to some extent, a lot of this labour was a 'home birth'.

    Sometimes, when my mind is wandering and I am thinking of the future, I wonder if I would like to have a home birth in the future. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this - because every woman (and every family) is different. I would like to have a home birth because I would be in my own, comfortable environment. I feel this would help me to relax more and to breathe through the contractions better than if I was in an unknown hospital environment. However, in both my labours I can distinctly remember being pleased when I was in hospital that I was close to medical care if I should require it.

    Now I know the statistics and I know that (especially for me with my medical history) I am very unlikely to need medical interventions in labour (particularly urgent medical interventions) but I still know that my labouring mind likes to know that it is available.

    So, I guess my answer to your questions are

    * yes, I am satisfied with my previous decisions to have hospital births
    * 'would I choose a different next time?' - maybe...! As I learn more about home births I am more inclined to go down this route as I feel that it gives the most chance of having a natural, smooth labour.

    I'm interested to hear others' thoughts on this, particularly women who have experienced both a hospital and a home birth.

    Best wishes,

    LJ

  3. #3
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    I have only had a home birth. I researched my options extensively and became convinced it was the best way to have my baby. I have no regrets and will do it exactly the same way with the next one. If anyone has any questions about home birth I'm happy to answer them.

  4. #4
    It's fab to here that you had such a positive birth experience with your first child Moomin.

    I'm very interested to know more! Did you use a birthing pool for your home birth? How did you prepare for your birth in the final trimester? At what point did your midwife join you?

    I wish you a wonderful birth for your second baby,

    LJ

  5. #5
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    Hi Dolanrader

    The issue of safe hospital birth is an interesting one. There are a number of studies which demonstrate that there are certainly some downsides to hospital births which can bring about interventions and outcomes which would not occur at home.

    This has led many women to consider home the safer alternative. Certainly there needs to be more objective research, but there are strong indicators thus far that suggest that for a woman considered low risk, birthing at home does not present an increased risk of a negative outcome.

    It is important for every woman to be supported to make informed choices about where to give birth. It is important too to remember that in choosing 'hospital' it is not so much the choice but the first step in the choices - Will you birth in a birth centre? Will you go through the system as a public patient? Will you hire a private OB/GYN? Will you hire an Independent Midwife? These are all decisions which impact on likely birth options and outcomes beyond choosing between home and hospital.
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  6. #6
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    Hi Moomin

    Wonderful to hear you planned and succeeded in a homebirth. My first daughter had a glorious homebirth. My second daughter was a planned homebirth which ended in a less than glorious emergency cesarean.

    Like you though, I have no regrets. I fought hard for a homebirth, felt supported during pregnancy and labour by my wonderful Independent Midwife and in the end I have accepted the outcome. There are certainly things I would change if I could turn back time, but I have made peace with what happened.

    The experience was a learning experience for me. Even though nothing went to plan or ended how I had hoped, I was able to make peace because I had been empowered throughout. I was able to look at the experience and say in complete honesty that I did all I could and was fiercely advocated for. This has enabled me to put behind me the disappointment and embrace the joy that is my daughter.

    I will never forget the moment before she was born. I lay in the operating theatre staring up at the blue curtain... waiting... and contrary to how I had expected to feel, I felt completely at peace. I remember thinking to myself - 'I did all I could. I am where I was meant to be... I just want to hear her cry.'

    And then she did and it was the most glorious sound, which quite literally shattered all that had come before.

    In the days and weeks after, late at night when sadness would start to creep in and I would begin to experience grief for my lost homebirth I would think of that moment and it helped me to refocus on all that I had gained.
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