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Home birth

preparingforhomebirth

Preparing for a Home Birth

preparingforhomebirth

Should you prepare for a home birth?  While it is true that you are more likely to have a natural birth when birthing at home, there are still many things that you can do ahead of time to prepare for a fabulous experience. In truth, a home birth requires just as much preparation as any other birth. Here are five tips on how to prepare for a home birth.

Step 1- Carefully choose your midwife-

All midwives are not created equally. They vary in their qualifications, certifications, experience, and even legality from one state to the next. It is important to know what your midwife has to offer and if that is what you want and feel comfortable with for your birth. (This post has a list of questions to ask a home birth midwife.)

Some women really crave a motherly confidant, others somebody who totally trusts birth. Some women prefer somebody with a similar faith to them, while other women are most concerned with emergency supplies and skills.

Here are some things that may be important to you as you choose a home birth midwife:

~Applicable medical skills, experience or certification. Asking about their skill and ability in resuscitation of the newborn, stopping hemorrhage both with pharmaceuticals and with herbs, suturing, and starting an IV, are all important.

~Relationship and connection.  Pick somebody who you not only trust to handle any emergency that might pop up, but who you also like and feel comfortable while very vulnerable.

~Experience and education are important.  Where did she receive training? How many births has she attended? Is she CPR certified? Can she start an IV easily? Do those things matter to you?  What laws governing midwifery care will apply to your birth?  What is she uncomfortable or unskilled at?  Will these things merit transfer? This link has a basic break down on the different types of midwives and what they do.

Step 2- Take a good birth preparation class-

There is a pervasive idea that you don't need a class if you birth at home because nobody is standing at the ready with an epidural in your house.You still have to labor and birth no matter where or how you have your baby. For this reason, a comprehensive childbirth class is an important part of preparing for a home birth. Knowledge is powerful, not just in improving your experience, but in helping you be more prepared for any outcome possible.

There are many reasons a home birthing couple can still benefit from a childbirth class.

~It prepares dad. Not all dads are excited to read volumes in preparation for a home birth, but a class can be incredibly beneficial in communicating that information in a fun and informative way. A birth class that prepares him well can do heaps of good not just for his comfort, but also your enjoyment of the birth. It is a sad truth that sometimes the birthing woman feels a little resentful of a clueless partner after a hard labor and many a dad feels useless and helpless when he isn't prepared. (We love this post full of photos of incredible birth partner dads. Birth can be an empowering experience for both people in the relationship!)

~Many women, even those who home birth, need to learn to relax.  They also may need to learn how to navigate the hospital system in case of transfer. Sometimes a transfer to the hospital is necessary. This doesn't happen too often, but the experience can be much less traumatic if your birth class also prepared you for things outside of your plan. In fact, our resident midwife advisory board member has noticed that her clients transfer less often if they are well prepared with a Birth Boot Camp class.

Step 3- Prepare your home-

Home birth requires mom to prepare some things in advance on the home front. Even if you have helpful family and friends, it is still nice to have an organized house with lots of things set aside in the freezer.

One of the most helpful things you can do is prepare or purchase meals in advance before your home birth. This can be fairly painless if you simply choose one meal a week to double in the months leading up to your birth. Using a disposable pan for the mean going in the freezer can make clean up after baby even easier.

Some recipes that can work well are: shepherd's pie, homemade macaroni and cheese, stuffed bell peppers, lasagna, and enchiladas, chicken and rice with veggies, or various soups.  Even if you have numerous meals delivered by friends and loved ones after the birth of your baby,you may have a few days before anybody knows you had a baby where those frozen meals come in handy. In addition, after the baby comes and the meals have stopped, it is nice to have something ready for those days when baby needs extra attention and feeding.

Getting your birth kit ready and organized in an easy to access place, having a clean bathroom and clean sheets (with a spare), having your midwives number programmed into your phone (and your partner's phone) are all additional ways you can prepare your home for the new baby.

Step 4- Take healthy pregnancy nutrition and exercise seriously-

Another important part of preparing for a home birth is nutrition and exercise. It is amazing the impact our own nutrition and exercise can have on the comfort and low risk status of our pregnancy and birth. Choosing to birth anywhere means you are responsible for preparing your healthy body and staying low risk. If the words "eat healthy" or "exercise" frighten you a little, your birth class will be incredibly helpful on this front too. The food log contained in your workbook and the incredible exercise program developed by Katie Dudley for Birth Boot Camp, are helpful for both the beginner and the expert.

You can get started now with a few of the many pregnancy exercises that Katie covers, by reading this blog post. She has also found great relief for women through foam rolling. You can read more about foam rolling during pregnancy here.

Step 5- Hire a doula-

A doula is a welcome addition to a hospital birth, but they are also an asset in a home birth setting. The time that your doula spends with you before the birth during visits, during the birth, and after during the postpartum period, is not just helpful, it can be sanity saving. The time of labor and birthing is a time in life where more support is always needed.

At Birth Boot Camp DOULA we strive to also give our doulas exceptional education regarding breastfeeding and how to succeed. This knowledge on the part of your doula is one of the greatest skills she brings postpartum.

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No matter where you are planning on having your baby, education, trusted relationships, nutrition and exercise, a prepared home, and a supportive doula are a wonderful addition to your preparations. Birth is designed to be one of the most amazing experiences of your life. Embrace it.

doctorbirth

What Your Doctor Wants To Tell You About Birth, But Can’t

doctorbirth

Too often, medical doctors are portrayed as the bad guys in the birthing world. In truth, there is a lot we don't see and which they really can't talk about. We are excited to share this guest post today from Jessicca Moore, a family nurse practitioner and filmmaker in Petaluma, CA. Jessica is currently raising money to help finish a film all about medical personnel who birth at home. (There are more of them than you would think!) You can read more about her film, "Why Not Home?", on their website. Her words are wise and incredibly helpful. Happy birthing!

If you’re planning a hospital birth in the US, you’re likely seeing an OB/GYN. Some of you are seeing a family doctor or a certified-nurse-midwife (CNM) who will attend you at the hospital.

Doctors and nurses are trained not to impose their own values and beliefs onto their patients. To the woman who says she doesn’t want to feel any pain during labor and wants an epidural as soon as possible, our training tells us to accept this as her choice and support her in it. To the woman who says she wants an unmedicated natural labor, our training tells us to accept and support this choice as equally valid.

Your provider is supposed to maintain some professional distance and remain unbiased toward her patients. Because of this, she likely won’t tell you about how difficult her recovery from her c-section was and how she couldn’t pick up her toddler for weeks.

She won’t tell you about the intense rush of emotion and joy that came over her when she gave birth to her daughter after a long 30 hour unmedicated vaginal birth. If she did, you might feel like you should do it the way she did, or do it differently, depending on her story.

In your 10-15 minute visits, it can be hard to delve deeply into all the possible risks and benefits of each decision, the research, and your personal values and preferences. Even if you did, the chances that that provider is going to be the one attending your birth are pretty slim.

So much of birth is out of your control. Once you’re in labor, things can go any number of ways.

If you want to have a natural birth, here are some things you can do to stack the deck in your favor.

  • Get prepared. There are lots of great childbirth preparation programs out there. Try a few and see what fits. Knowledge is power when it comes to birth.

  • Read birth stories. Positive ones. Listen to your friends who had great births. Focus on those. Your birth can be great too.

  • Get support. Hire a doula. Don’t think you can afford one? Call and talk to a few. You may be surprised. If you can’t get a doula, ask friend who has experienced birth and knows your plan to be there to support and advocate for you. Your partner will be having their own experience. Don’t rely on them to be everything for you.

  • Get informed. What is your hospital’s c-section rate? Trying for a VBAC? What’s the VBAC success rate at your hospital? Birth by the Numbers has a great site for getting this information. www.birthbythenumbers.org

  • Ask questions. Especially if something doesn’t feel quite right. Is the induction necessary? What if we wait 2 more days? It’s your body and your baby. You’re allowed to ask questions.

  • Take care. Rest. Eat well. Stay active. Try prenatal yoga. You’ll be that much better off entering labor if your body is strong and healthy.

Do all that, and then let go. Birth is big. Birth is beautiful. There’s no one right way to do it.

You are powerful. You are capable. You can do it.

If and when you need help, it will be there for you.

No one can tell you how it will go for you.

You and your baby are starting your journey together. You’ll have your own unique experience.

Your doctor may have seen hundreds or thousands of births, but they’ve never seen yours.

Nurture Nature Photography and Erin Wrightsman -c- 2013 erin@erinwrightsman.com  2013040920130409-RRL_0819 (1)

Jessicca Moore is a family nurse practitioner and filmmaker in Petaluma, CA where she lives with her husband, two children, and two sheep. She is currently in production on her first feature-length documentary, “Why Not Home?” The film follows hospital birth providers who chose to give birth at home. You can watch a trailer and get more information here: www.whynothome.com and support the project on kickstarter at bit.ly/whynothome through October 10th.

Follow the project on twitter and instagram @whynothome and facebook at facebook.com/whynothome

You can find Jessicca on twitter @jessicca_moore

(Photos by Erin Wrightsman, used with permission.)

Thinking About Homebirth – Where to Begin

Are you thinking about a home birth but wondering how to get started?  Here are a few tips to get the ball rolling. 

First, decide what you are looking for in a midwife.  What things do you feel you will need at your birth in order to feel safe and happy?  What kind of skills do you want your midwife to bring to the table?

Second, start talking to birth professionals- Doulas, natural childbirth educators, and experienced mothers in your area may be able to help you find a midwife who fits with you and has the skills and personality that you would like present at your birth.  Once you get a good list of people, then start interviewing midwives.  After an initial phone interview, you may decide to meet in person.  Bringing your partner to this meeting may be a great idea.  You will both be around her during the birth and it is important that you both have a good relationship with her.

Third, begin educating yourself.  Choosing a home birth is just the beginning of your birth journey.  You will benefit from a comprehensive natural childbirth class that covers relaxation and helps prepare your partner to help you.  Reading books, especially those geared towards home birth, can help prepare your body and mind for the process.

Fourth, do everything possible to stay low risk and healthy so that you can get the birth you desire.  Proper nutrition, chiropractic care, exercise, and, of course, education make a huge difference in having the joyous home birth you dream of.

Home birth is growing more popular and can be a wonderful option for the prepared family.

Using a Midwife (Types of Midwives)

Many women desire the benefits of midwifery care for their pregnancy but become overwhelmed when they start to look into it and find that there are many different types of midwives to choose from.

While options, certifications, and even legality vary from one state to another and from one country to the next, here are a few basic tips for deciding what type of midwife you want.  There isn't necessarily a right answer, just different choices for different situations.

The Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)- For women who want to be attended by a midwife in a hospital setting, the CNM is a great option.  A CNM is someone who has trained as a registered nurse and then attended further training (often a master's program) to specialize in midwifery.  A CNM has some medical background and can function in various different settings.  Many work within a hospital, some work in or own birth centers outside of the hospital, and some even attend home births (though the legality of this varies from state to state).

The Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)- For women who desire to birth at home, a CPM is often what she will choose.  A Certified Professional Midwife is usually certified through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and has completed their testing and requirements.

A CPM is not required to have the medical background that a CNM has but has completed reading, apprenticing, and testing in order to specialize in normal birth and has also studied variations and emergency situations that can occur in a birth setting.

Some states also have their own state licensing and will have licensed midwives (or LM) who have passed their state licensing.  States vary in their requirements.

There are also, in some states, Direct Entry Midwives (DEM) who have studied midwifery and apprenticed but have not necessarily licensed through an organization or school.  A DEM will work in a home or birth center setting but not within the hospital.

Knowing your options and the different types of midwives is a wonderful start to making informed birth choices for you and your baby.

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