If you are planning to birth in a hospital, you might be surprised what you can learn from a homebirth, even if not birthing at home. Here are 10 “homebirth” tips that can help to empower your hospital birth.
#1 Get a midwife
Private Midwives in Australia are gradually being given visiting rights at hospitals, so they can continue to be your midwife when you transfer to the hospital. Why is that important? Because it provides you with the hospital environment where you wish to birth but also ensures that you have no strangers attending to you – just your own midwife. Evidence shows there are far less interventions when you birth with your known midwife. Homebirth mums have a midwife by their side that they know and trust. It should be no different for your hospital birth.
#2 Prepare for your birth
Does an athlete sit back in a chair and say they’ll take the marathon as it comes, see how it goes? They’ll try to finish the race? Preparation of the mind, body and baby is imperative for a normal birth and there are many courses out there like HypnoBirthing, Birthing from Within, and CalmBirth where you learn relaxation, breathing and visualisation skills to create the birthing experience you want. Just because you are having a hospital birth does not mean you can’t tap into these practice used by mums to homebirth. They can work in the hospital environment too.
#3 Read all that you can about normal birth
#4 Stay at home in early labour
After all your preparation, stay relaxed and calm at home in early labour. Use the fit ball, move around, bake a cake, dim the lights and light the candles, rock and moan and feel your body and baby getting into rythmn. Keep random people away. This is what homebirthers do. This is especially important for first time mums-to-be.
#5 Use the shower and the bath as much as possible in the hospital
Warm water is a great muscle relaxant; it assists in easing tension. It is as effective as narcotics if you are using all other labour techniques as well. Read up about waterbirth and check it out on YouTube – it’s a beautiful way to birth. Most hospitals and birthing centres have baths and showers these days.
#6 Eat, Drink and Move during labour
Most hospitals will allow this and it is essential for normal labour. Fluids help stop labour slowing down, small amounts of food keep the energy up and moving helps labour to progress. Home birthers move a lot, they snack when they feel like it and rarely do they lie still on a bed. Just because there’s a bed in the middle of the hospital room, it doesn’t mean you have to lie in it!
#7 Think of the hospital policies and medications as backup only
They are not essential in normal birth. Homebirthing women believe that birth is a normal physiological, sexual and spiritual experience. We are designed to do this , though it can be hard work. They know they have hospital as a back up if things go wrong. Your mindset needs to believe that the medications and hospital is there only as your back up. It’s important that you believe that you, yourself, are capable of giving birth normally.
#8 Make the hospital a sacred place in which to birth
Yes, it is possible! Ensure you have visited your place of birth before you actually go there in labour. You need to visualize your birth, enact it in your mind. Take home niceties like photos, music, aromatherapy (electric), affirmations, your pillows and bedcover in. Surround yourself with people who believe in your ability to birth. Ensure you have an advocate and even write your birth plan down for hospital staff to read and respect.
#9 Plan for the unexpected
If a little birth fairy places an obstacle in the labour, be prepared in your mind to take a different pathway so that you may still have a beautiful birthing experience. Dr Sarah Buckley has a lot of good advice on her website about interventions and choices, as would your own midwife!
#10 Set out to enjoy your birth
Avoid all websites, TV shows, negative birthing stories and books that are medically orientated. The power of birth comes from within! Check out your belief system about birth – is it yours or someone elses? Dump the negative and embrace the positive. Who is the enemy of the birthing room? Any birthing room? FEAR. Write or read or get an app with affirmations and concentrate on what you do want andthen it will become a reality.
If you can incorporate any of these “home birth” practices into your hospital birth, you can create an environment, team and birth experience that is empowering and rewarding for all, especially mother and baby.