Pets and home birth

I am sometimes asked about pets and home birth.  I am an animal lover and I think that our pets are an important part of our families, so my views below might be a tad biased, but here goes: I find that most pets are fine during a home birth.  You'll know if your cat or dog loves the water a bit too much (so much that they'd hop in the birth pool with you), and in this case, some people prefer to have their pets in a separate room.

Dogs always seem to know what pregnancy means (ie, that a baby is on the way) and seem to be protective of the pregnant woman throughout her pregnancy.

I think dogs tend to know when labour is about to begin, and sometimes their behaviour changes very subtly.

During labour, dogs tend to be quiet and respectful, and I find that cats just tend to do their own thing.

If you have other pets, such as fish, rabbits, chickens, birds and so on - these animals tend to be fine during home births.

The main things with pets would be to ensure that they have enough water and food, and if you think they might need their own support person, to consider this ahead of time and have someone handy in case they are needed.

Melissa Maimann is an eligible midwife in private practice in Sydney.  One of the first eligible midwives in Australia, Melissa offers a range of care options for women.  Visit Melissa's website to learn more about her services.