Practical tips for drawing up your customised home birth plan.
Whether you would like a midwife to attend your home birth or whether you and your partner prefer an Unassisted Childbirth, you should investigate your options and have a clear idea of your ideal birth.
Preparing a written home birth plan gives you and your partner a starting point when labor starts. Creating a birth plan enables you to discuss all the options and possible variations of the plan, with your partner and midwife to clarify what your ideal preferences are. This is important, as your partner may need to speak on your behalf later in your labor.
When you have decided on your own birth plan, it would be a good idea to then interview a few midwives and find the one you think will be most suitable for your birth.
Discuss your wishes with her and also give her a written copy of your home birth plan. Ask her if there is anything in it which might cause a problem for her. If there are conflicts, try to resolve them before you go into labour.
You may need to have more than one meeting with her before you are satisfied that you both understand the role she will be playing at your birth. Some midwives may take control at home births, while others may see themselves as a more unobtrusive back-up, who will only intervene when necessary.
You need to discuss with her how you wish her to serve you.
The bottom line is that you will be paying her for her services and that it is your body, your baby, your birth, and you are the decision-maker.
On a practical level, you need to plan where in your home you will give birth. Have option A, but be prepared for other scenarios too. (Twice I have ended up giving birth in a (bath)room, which was not the planned place of birth!)
Make sure you have plastic covers for carpets or floor surfaces that can't easily be cleaned. It is a good idea to be near a bathroom. If you are planning a water birth, you will need to decide on the best spot to set up the birth pool.
If this birth is not your first baby, you home birth plan needs to include options for the other children or members of the family. Do you want them present and if not, you need to have some possible plans for them, depending on the time of day that labor may commence.
With my own 5 homebirths, which have been unassisted births, my other children were aware that I was in labor. However, I found that, most of the time, I wanted to be alone to focus on my contractions, or else only be with my husband. Although we called them immediately after the new baby was born, I wanted privacy and intimacy with my husband at the moment of birth.
Many homebirthers are quite happy to have their children watch the actual birth, but bear in mind that you might not feel like having an audience when that moment comes, so plan for both options, if you can.
If your labor is during the night, you might want to leave them asleep. Alternatively, you may plan for them to have a babysitter, a movie to watch or an outing, if you don't want them present.
It is a good idea to have an adult available who can tend to young children or take them elsewhere, should they be disturbed by any part of your labor and birth or in the event that you need to transfer to hospital.
If you wish your other children to be present for the birth, you should prepare them for what they might witness.
Long before the time you should tell them all about what happens at birth. Read books together, look at pictures or even watch some childbirth videos together.
You MUST first preview the birth videos so that you do not show them anything that may disturb them.
Prepare them for things like blood, nudity and expressions of pain, which they may witness. Explain to them what is normal and put them at ease as much as you can.
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