Guidelines for Home Child Birth

A home child birth, just like a hospital or birthing center birth, is not risk-free. However, you can lessen the chances for complications by making the necessary preparations beforehand. Some of the most pertinent include:

  • Selecting an experienced, skilled birth attendant with experience in home childbirth.
  • Making routine prenatal care visits with your birth attendant, direct entry midwife or certified nurse midwife.
  • Maintaining proper nutrition and appropriate weight gain to avoid complications such as high blood pressure. Although you may often hear that pregnant women are "eating for two", the reality is that during pregnancy your body requires an average of only 300 extra calories per day, or the equivalent of an apple and a glass of milk.
  • Informing yourself and your family through discussions with your birth attendant, classes, readings, videos and other such resources.
  • Securing enough support for labor and the postpartum period. Many women planning a midwife-attended homebirth will also hire a doula. Studies show that women who receive direct support from other women during labor have easier, shorter labors with fewer complications and lower rates of intervention.
  • Creating an emergency plan with selected contact persons responsible for contacting your chosen alternate birth site or hospital with phone numbers clearly posted by the phone.

If you do have a high-risk condition such as Type I diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, ensure that both you and your care provider are well-versed in the precautions specific to your condition. Many women have successfully had a twin homebirth when the required precautions are put in place.

In most any situation, a mother can successfully and safely birth a child at home. As with all things, preparation is key. Once you've taken the necessary steps to ensure your home childbirth runs smoothly, you can relax and get down to the real task at hand - giving birth naturally.

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