Thursday, 17 March 2011
Booking a home birth is not as simple as it should be. When I set out to book my home birth in 1990 I had to go through my GP. Thankfully this is no longer the case and you should be able to book a home birth with your midwife at the booking interview. Useful web sites include www.homebirth-manchester.org/ and www.homebirth.org.uk/ where advice is available on how to go about ensuring your chance to choose. My GP said "No way, it is far too risky". So I went to my local library and looked up GPs in my area. I rang round till I found a GP who would accept me for care in the pregnancy and birth only. When my GP found out that he would not be getting paid for my care I was called into his surgery and given a right old telling off. I would however not change my mind as after my third birth I had vowed never to present at a hospital in labour again. Statistics for home births in the UK remain quite constant at around 2.5%. This figure could change with the current government's love of cuts. There are not enough midwives to cover all the hospital births so home births will be seen as a luxury that the NHS may not be able to support. If you have trouble arranging your home birth you can contact Beverley Beech at AIMS (Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services) who has promised to look into any obstacles. Beverley can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post at 5 Ann's Court, Grove Road, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 4BE. As a student midwife I was constantly offering women a home birth at booking when they were low risk. This behaviour was not looked upon with glee by my mentor who was not known for supporting women wanting a home birth. You have to be pushy and keep asking. Go to meetings run by homebirth-manchester and gain confidence from other mums with the same quest. You are more likely to have a pain free labour if you are at ease in your own home. If you have been practicing the relaxation techniques in pregnancy then you will feel more comfortable continuing the relaxing in labour in your favourite chair. Hopefully you will know your midwife from visits in the pregnancy and had a good chance to discuss the birth in detail so you know what to expect. Pregnancy and birth is not an illness for most women. Having a baby at home is not as scary as people will lead you to believe. In fact, home births can be wonderful. My forth was born at home and was my second pain free labour. Awesome.