Having a Home Birth in the Hospital

Having a Home Birth in the Hospital

by Nicole Buratti, HBCE, CLD, CCBE, RPYT, RYT

So you found out you’re pregnant and you are thinking about where to have your baby.  You would love a home birth but aren’t sure if it’s for you. You would feel comfortable in a hospital knowing all the medical bells and whistles are there if you need them but still want to keep everything as natural as possible. Or, you want a hospital birth and know that you want the drugs waiting for you as soon as you arrive. No matter what type of birth you are planning, it can still be a comfortable, relaxing experience that is as close to home as you make it.

How to Have a Homebirth in a Hospital

We are mammals and mammals don’t give birth when they are afraid. Mammals don’t birth under bright lights nor amongst cheering and chaos. Women have stopped trusting their bodies. They’ve handed it over to the medical profession. Birth doesn’t have to be so powerless, so rushed, no matter where or how you birth. Every woman gives birth differently and that is okay!

When you enter a woman’s birthing space whether it is a home birth or a hospital birth, a natural drug-free labor or a medically managed one,  you are entering a sacred, private space. When I am at a hospital birth, the nurses and staff are always wooed by the mood the client and her partner has set in her room. On the other side of the door, where the nurse or staff member just entered from, there are bright flourescent lights, loud noises and voices, machines that go bing and a typical work environment. But when you enter the room of the laboring woman accompanied by one of our Doulas or the room of one of our students who has taken a  Positive Birthing or HypnoBirthing® Class at Bend & Blossom, what’s happening on the outside of that door, stays on the outside of that door.

The birthing room of our clients is different even amongst the sterility of the hospital. When one enters  the room of one of our birthing families, he or she knows they have entered a personal space. With the stream of lavendar oil  floating like a soft mist from the diffuser and filling the air with a sweet calming scent, soft flickering lights from the battery-operated candles, a shrine of framed family photos, and peaceful music gently playing in the background, the voice entering the room instantly lowers along with her stress level. The environment you create not only keeps you relaxed, but also brings the focus in the room to where it belongs–on the laboring woman.

As Ina May Gaskin once said, “If a woman doesn’t look like a goddess in labor, then someone isn’t treating her right.”  You’ve waited your whole life for this day, for your birthing day. This is the day you will meet your child for the very first time.  I want you to gently close your eyes for a moment and envision this moment of your gaze meeting your baby’s gaze for the first time. What is that like for you? What does it look like around you? What does it feel like? It’s pretty awesome, right? You are so elated. So confident. Your eyes are sparkling.

Now, let’s make that vision a reality…

How can we bring that wonderful feeling of the best day of your life into your birth room? I’ve listed 5 Keys to Having a Homebirth in the Hospital:

1. Choice ~

You do have a choice in care providers. This is a decision that I suggest taking your time making. Having an annual exam is very different than having a baby. So what? You’ve seen the same OB since your were a teen.  Honestly, she’s not as attached to you as you are to her.  This is your choice and a lot of thought and research should be put into this decision.
Find an OB or a Midwife that delivers at a Baby Friendly Hospital for the best postpartum and breastfeeding support as well as a supportive birthing environment. Next, research your local hospitalsCesarean rates, and if you’re planning a VBAC, the local VBAC rates. The lower the Cesarean rate and the higher the VBAC rate, the better your odds of having the birth of your dreams. Traveling beyond your sip code to the right hospital is so worth it.

2. Communication ~

Once you have chosen your care provider, either an OB or a Midwive, make an appointment to meet him or her. Bring lots of questions. They like questions and if they don’t, keep searching for the right provider for you. Keeping the lines of communication open with your birth team is important in knowing what to expect and how comfortable you will be in their care.

Many care providers are in large groups. Meet each care provider in the group and be sure all the care providers, not just your favorite one, are all supportive of your choices for your birth and for your baby. Having a favorite in the group doesn’t mean that he or she will be who’s on-call the day of your labor.

3. Continuous Support ~

Not because I am a Doula, but because  American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) highly recommends having the continuous support of a trained professional and yes, actually because I am a Doula, I highly recommend hiring a {Doula}!  “Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a Doula.”, ACOG, 2014

Your birthing day is your day, and your partner’s day. It’s a celebration of life. It’s a day for your partner to be just that–your partner! So relax and enjoy this day together. Hiring a Doula is like having a Pregnancy BFF who comes to your birth without an agenda of her own, brings only positive energy, and isn’t emotionally attached to you the same way your partner, your mother or sister, or your real-life best friend is. Your care provider and your nurse will not be with you continuously during your labor. They will be in and out to check in on you and will be with you during the actual birthing, but not with you through every breathe and every contraction.  Your Doula will be!

4. Confidence ~

Don’t be afraid of anything. YOU are in charge. Don’t rely on others to tell you what to do. You know how to birth your baby. Your body was designed to do this and you are strong.  Listen to your instincts. Get educated by taking a quality out-of-hospital Birthing Class or HypnoBirthing® Class. Try a Prenatal Yoga Class, one that is an actual class designed for pregnant women that focuses on preparing for birth through yoga.

5. Protocols

All hosptitals have protocols, meaning every patient gets the same treatment. Pick your battles. If not having an IV is your greatest challenge, good for you! However, be open to compromise and have all the answers of what protocols to expect at the hospital well in advance of your birthing day.  For example, if every patient must have continuous fetal monitoring, ask for telemetry monitoring or for 20 minutes every hour and the rest of the time be able to move about freely.

We wish you nothing but the best in everything birth and postpartum. We are here to answer any questions and help you address any concerns you have during your pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. We have a new Consulting Service for those who need a little less or a lot more support. We look forward to supporting you!



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