When and how should I start planning for a home birth?

Interested in home birth, hospital birth or private midwifery care? Questions or comments? Email Melissa Maimann or call 0400 418 448. I am 13 weeks and have thought about home birth with a midwife. When should I start the process, and how should I go about it?

This is a commonly-asked question. Many women will ask me when they ought to "book in": as soon as they find out they're pregnant? At 12 weeks? Just before they're due to give birth? They are also interested to know what's involved in booking a midwife for a homebirth.

I encourage women to make contact with me as soon as they know they’re pregnant so that preparations can begin. The relationship between the woman and midwife is central to the care that is provided, and for this relationship to build, time is needed. That's not to say a great relationship can't be established in a couple of weeks, but generally relationships develop of time. Hence pregnancy lasts for 9 months.

Many women will commence their pregnancy care with one care provider and then want to change to private midwifery care or homebirth later on in the piece. This is usually not a problem and will simply require the transfer of your records and test and ultrasound reports. The only issue with transferring late in pregnancy is that I may have already committed to other clients and may therefore be unavailable to new clients. Hence it's best to make contact as soon as you decide to engage a midwife.

Once I am contacted by a woman, we will speak on the phone and arrange either a free first meeting or an initial consultation. An initial consultation is always attended prior to booking, so many women will skip straight to the initial consultation. Once this has been attended and you have decided you would like to proceed with a booking, a booking fee is taken which secures my services. From then on, we schedule a booking visit where we go through - in detail - your health, medical and surgical history, you'll be provided with an information pack and a list of books that may be borrowed, we commence all the paperwork for pregnancy and birth care and information will be provided that is specific to your situation. Ongoing care is then scheduled.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448