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For many pregnant women giving birth in your own home is the pinnacle of Life’s success.  Birthing at home has so many wonderful, wonderful qualities. And as a woman who is making the choice to have a home birth, you are really taking responsibility for all the necessary preparations for giving birth.  You’ve chosen carefully who your midwife will be and perhaps your doula. You’ve gone through the list of who you’d like there. You’ve made certain to stock your freezer with foods and make arrangements for the kids you might already have. You’ve got all the supplies in your home birth preparations kit. Is there anything left out?

Look at the bad news first

Approximately 25% of women who start off at home in their birth end up transferring to hospital. Is there anything these women could have done to remain at home? Do you think any of these women thought they would transfer from a homebirth to hospital? Do you think you’ll transfer? Of course not! And what plans do you have in place if that happens?

Most people assume that choosing to have a home birth is all you need to do. Birth Plans are very much like a wish list or a menu choice. After all, we are living in a world where we feel we have the right to choose the birth we want. We’re told ‘women know what type of birth they want’. We want what we want and we want it now and if we don’t get what we want then there are always others who can be put to blame if we fail or we if feel we are falling victim to the medical community.

The last thing you want to hear from us that your chosen home birth might not be the birth you wanted or hoped for, and you may even end up transferring to that dreaded hospital. It’s incredibly politically incorrect to talk about the lack of success of home births or even how to make home birth success more likely.

Home births are assumed to be the perfect, ideal and best birth. We just need to have the right to choose a homebirth with a midwife.

For those families where a home birth has been absolutely ideal, they have extreme difficulty in imagining the huge sense of failure experienced by many families who had hoped for a home birth and that great birth but had an entirely different experience. Then what do we do with all the women who were not happy even though they birthed at home? Homebirth women feel as out of control when labor contractions are intensely painful just as women birthing in hospital. Homebirth women can have long, tiring labours just like in hospital. They can experience unexpected problems that are very traumatic. Twenty-five percent or more home birthing women transfer from their much-wanted home birth to hospital.

Here’s the good news

Some women just birth at home and all’s well. Seventy-five percent birth at home. You want to be in that group and Birthing Better Childbirth Preparation Online Course is offering you skills to prepare your pregnant body to become a birthing body as well as birth and birth-coaching skills that will hugely increase your likelihood of achieving an exceptional home birth.

There are two very important things you can do to hugely increase your chances that the home birth you want and have planned for will be as good as you want and you’ll remain at home.

  1. Learn the skills to prepare your 3-dimensional pregnant body to open up to let out a large 3-dimensional object … your baby.
  2. Learn birth and birth coaching skills so you and your partner/other can work through the whole process of birthing your baby … eliminating potential problems that cause women to end up in hospital … not coping with the natural occurring pain of contractions and delay in 1st or 2nd Stages of labor.

Becoming a skilled birthing woman you increase your success rate of birthing at home by many folds. We know this because the skills our New Zealand Charitable Trust is offering you were developed by hundreds of families like yours! These families were seeking successful births … many of them in a homebirth. Some of these women had tried before and ended up transferring for those two very common reasons. Many were seeking a home birth after very challenging previous hospital births. Some ended up birthing at home unexpectedly and because they were skilled had no fear.

Birth is much more than a choice

There is no way you can know what your birth will be like. What happens at all births is much more connected to how the woman makes the journey of this extraordinary activity. In fact, birth is less of a choice than an activity. And that activity is often connected to the hard work of coping with the naturally occurring pain of labour.

But then it also seems to be politically incorrect to even talk about birth pain. Now, the words rush, wave, intensity etc are the preferred words. However, pain it is unless you are one of the very fortunate few who actually experience little or no pain. Home births can be as painful as those in hospital. A great deal of the woman’s job is to cope or manage the pain, rather than get lost and feel out of control or overwhelmed.

There are two concepts missing in the discussion of home births:

  • The skills needed by both the birthing mother and coaching dad/other.
  • Your responsibility toward the dedicated midwives who attend your home birth.

Birth skills

Presently there is no societal expectation that expecting families use skills to prepare their pregnant body to become a birthing body much less birth and coaching skills to use throughout your baby’s birth. This is a huge failure in the childbirth conversation. It’s simple really.

One hundred percent of women who fall pregnant join an exclusive group. The only way out of that group is by giving birth. This means we share the same human body and that shared human body is going to birth a baby. Since all home birthing families will have a labour and vaginal birth then that shared human body should be prepared to let a big object out with as little trauma to the mother or baby.

Once the body is prepared to open up, soften inside, create space for this big object and how to create mobility in the bony structure then families need to learn AND practice birth and coaching skills.

Your homebirth midwife cannot do your birth for you and you should not expect her to be your primary ‘coach’. Your husband, partner/other should not merely be supporting you. They need equally significant and effective skills to work together to help your baby be born.

Birth and birth-coaching skills are essential to improving your chances to have a home birth! And if you have to transfer then you’ll have your skills to use no matter where your birth unfolds. No one in the hospital will stop you from using skills and you’ll birth better by continuing to use your skills and you’ll have less shame, blame, guilt or disappointment.

Your responsibility to homebirth midwives

First of all all homebirth midwives should be requiring their clients to choose one or more skills-based resources, learn the skills, show the midwife what skills they are using at each appointment, create a Skills-based Birth Plan so everyone knows what skills will be use AND then encourage their home birth families to use their skills. Once home birth midwives understand that they need more responsible families and that there are a number of Skills-based resources to choose from. However, to accept unskilled families will just mean more exhausted midwives and more dependent families.

As a family choosing a home birth you have a much greater responsibility in a political climate that may not support your choice and the dedicated midwife who wants you to have the birth you want. If you live in a country that does support your choice then you still have a higher responsibility to safely birth at home, so that home births remain a viable option for other families.

The responsibility has to do with preparing our pregnant body for birth so this very large object (our baby) can come out easily and safely. Since birth is an activity, preparing our pregnant body for this activity is very real. Since there’s no way to know what your birth will be like, you need to prepare your body to stay open, mobile and relaxed. Then you need birth and coaching skills to work through your baby’s birth journey down, through and out your birthing body. While it’s just lovely the rush women experience after the birth, in reality when a home birth woman feels overwhelmed, says she can’t do it, asks to go to a hospital, cries, feels out of control and is needy of a great deal of help it’s just plain exhausting and unnecessary.

Take more responsibility to make certain that you birth at home, cope well with your birthing experience, support your midwives and have the skills to use if you transfer.

Let’s build a skilled birthing population and then we’ll see more successful home births.

Birthing Better skills were developed by moms and dads in the early 1970s in the US and used by many thousands globally in all types of birth. Birthing Better online birthing classes are housed in Common Knowledge Trust.