Top 5 myths about homebirth

Visit my website to learn more about my services. 1. Home birth is unsafe

Study after study has shown that a home birth is as safe (if not safer) than a hospital birth for healthy, low-risk women, whose pregnancies are normal. This is provided that the women are attended by a registered midwife for the duration of their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period and that they have a back-up plan in place, such as a back-up hospital booking and good referral and consultation mechanisms in place in case an obstetrician is needed.

2. Home birth is messy.

Many homebirths are waterbirths. In this case, the water is simply drained out and everything stays very clean! Your midwife will provide you with a list of homebirth supplies that you will need for a homebirth, and this will include such things as towels, sheets and plastic to protect floors, lounges, beds, carpet and so on. Garbage bags are always available and midwives always leave the house as they found it after the birth.

3. What if something goes wrong? "I / my baby would have died if we had had a home birth!!!"

How many times have I heard this? Maybe it's in the wording. many couples will say, "we're having a homebirth". Maybe it's better to say, "we're planning a home birth" or, "it's our intention to birth at home if all goes well", because planning a home birth does not mean that the couple stays home regardles of whatever risks or situations pop up along the way. That's the whole point in having a registered midwife who can assess normal versus abnormal, and advise the couple accordingly. Of course, if something "goes wrong", we simply head into hospital. Most things that "go wrong" actually go wrong in the pregnancy, things such as high blood pressure, bleeding, baby not growing well. The other aspect is that on booking, the mdiwife will do a full medical, surgical and birthing history, and often this history will alert the midwife to issues that s/he needs to be aware of in the pregnancy, so there's always advance warning.

If things take a different path in the labour, the midwife is often able to manage most issues with simple measures. If more complicated measures are needed, with the back-up hospital booking and ready access to an obstetrician, the midwife will take the woman into hospital - no fuss or drama.

Most births go smoothly and mother and baby are fine. In most studies, home birth transfer rates (including throughour pregnancy, birth and postnatal) are between 10% and 50%.

It's important to look at these figures closely, because there's a wide variation. Is the midwife with the 10% transfer rate unsafe? Is the mdiwife with the 50% transfer rate too cautious? Well, not necessarily. Other issues could be at play. The 10% transfer rate midwife may only take on very low-risk women who are very unlikely to transfer, while the 50% transfer rate midwife may take on women with risk factors and take a wait-and-see approach. Transfer rates are also affected by local policies and professional guidelines, and of course the woman's preference.

Typically, midwives bring a range of safety equipment and supplies to a birth. These include: - Oxygen - Suction equipment - Suture material and local anaesthetic for tears - Medication to stop any excess bleeding after the baby is born - Vitamin K for the baby - A doppler to monitor the baby's heart beat - Blood pressure equipment - Urinalysis sticks - Scales to weigh the baby - Resuscitation equipment for the baby - An oxygen mask for the mother - A catheter in case the mother is unable to pass urine - General equipment such as gloves, a mirror, needles and syringes, sterile water and normal saline, gauze, cotton wool, tape, cord clamps (unless the family prefer to use a cord tie) and so on. It's quite a big kit when it's all put together.

4. Only hippies have home births.

This couldn't be further from the truth! The general profile of a homebirthing family goes something like this:

- tertiary educated - in their 30s - already has one child or has been researching birth for many years - works in professional or managerial industries And many are from a health background.

5. It's expensive to have a homebirth.

Costs range from $3000 to $6000 which is very little when you consider that it covers, and the fact that it is spread over about 9 months of care.

What is includes is such things as: - antenatal (pregnancy) care - consultations are often around 1-2 hours, in the family's home - postnatal care for up to 6 weeks - labour and birth care at home or in hospital - an on-call fee (the midwife needs to be on call - that means no drinking, weekends away, always having the mobile on her and being ready to leave for a birth at a moment's notice - for a 5-week period) - a booking fee - phone and email support - access to a library of books and DVDs - subscriptions - medications - oxygen hire - midwifery supplies and equipment - petrol, parking, car servicing costs and so on.

When we work out an hourly rate less expenses, well, you'll understand why midwives don't live in fancy houses and drive Porsches.

Visit my website to learn more about my services.