Sounds interesting? Can it be possible that simply birthing at home can make labour easier?
It's well-known that women labour best where they feel safest and with whom they feel safest. For most people, hospitals are associated with disease, injury, accidents, pain, operations and even death. Some people find that hospitals have a particular sterile smell to them, or that they feel clinical, cold and devoid of positive emotions. Our homes are totally the opposite. They are our safe haven, the place we go to for comfort, peace and pleasure.
So when it comes to birthing in a hospital, for many women, the associations with disease, injury and accidents are quite strong. When we are feeling scared and anxious and we are not in our own comfortable surroundings, the hormones of labour that assist the contractions to be strong and powerful (effective, yet less painful) are disrupted by the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline can impact the ability of the uterus to contract well by affecting the hormones of labour.
Being at home can reduce your need for medical forms of pain relief because being at home can help you to feel more relaxed, which in turn allows labour to progress more smoothly and with less pain.
For many women, using water in labour and birth is a very helpful tool to aid a natural labour. Yet, in many hospitals, baths are either not available at all for labour and birth, or else their use or access is restricted (eg hospital policy or availability of rooms with baths in them). When you are at home, you have your own bath or birth pool, so there is no chance of it not being available for you when you need it.
By choosing to birth at home, statistically you are much less likely to need or use any interventions, regardless of where you actually end up giving birth.
In addition, homebirth means being cared for by your own chosen midwife with whom you would have formed a close relationship throughout your pregnancy. This feeling of trust, connection and openness can lead to feelings of safety and security, also contributing to a shorter labour.
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.