In the past, women delivered their babies at home, attended by other women. Today, the majority of women give birth in a hospital, and a doctor catches the baby. But there are still women who choose to give birth at home with a licensed midwife.
- To have a home birth, you will have to hire a licensed midwife. A midwife will be in touch with you throughout your pregnancy to answer questions. She may labor sit with you and will be there to deliver your baby. To find a midwife, check the internet, and the phone book. You may be able to find a midwife through word of mouth-you could be surprised by how many people in your area deliver at home. Midwives are not payed for by insurance companies, so you will pay out of pocket for a midwife. However, many midwives offer flexible payment options.
- You will have to be prepared for a natural childbirth. At a home birth, you will not get any pain medicine.
- You will need a birthing team, friends and family that can support you during your birth. Many women just want their partner, but others want more help. Your children can even assist you if you and they want it.
- You will have to take a childbirth class to learn what to expect from labor. Your class will also teach you labor coping techniques, relaxation techniques and tips for your birthing team. Your midwife may be able to suggest a class or a private childbirth educator. If you are not giving birth in a hospital, it is not recommended that you take a hospital childbirth class.
- You may want to hire a doula or a professional labor assistant. She will provide physical, emotional and informational support. Statistically, laboring women with doulas have less need for pain medicine. Your midwife may have an assistant who will perform this role, or may suggest a doula.
- You will have to talk to your midwife about what will happen if something goes wrong. At what point will your midwife transport you to the hospital? Which hospital and how close is it to your home? What will be the hospital's reaction if you transport? Remember that your midwife will perform minimal interventions through labor, such as blood pressure readings, vaginal checks and fetal heart rate monitoring to make sure you and your baby stay healthy.