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Tips on home birth

More and more women are opting to have a home birth instead of going into hospital, with around 15,000 babies born at home in the UK every year. Meanwhile statistics show that given the choice 22% of pregnant women would choose to give birth at home. Research and preparation is key - here are a few tips for when the big day arrives.

Five top home birth tips

Midwife

Arguably the most important part of planning a home birth is finding an experienced midwife. If you have the option choose someone with experience of home births and someone you get along with - you could be spending a lot of time together. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

Prepare in advance

Make a list, check it twice and then prepare a home birth 'kit' with all the things that will be required for childbirth. The list should include items such as snacks, ice, a birthing ball, waterproof sheets (if giving birth in a bed rather than birthing pool), towels, a container for the placenta, pads in case of post-partum bleeding and baby supplies.

Prepare pain relief

Women who give birth at home in familiar surroundings can feel more relaxed than those who give birth in a hospital. This helps to release endorphins - the body's natural pain relief. All the same, alternatives to hospital drugs such as massage, exercise, gas and air and aromatherapy will make the process go more smoothly. Check with the midwife to find out what pain relief she can provide.

Practice in the pool

When opting for a pool birth always make sure to spend some time in there beforehand to become familiar with how it feels. Practice filling it with water and clean before use.

Pack a bag for emergencies

It's likely to go off without a hitch, but in the event a trip to the hospital becomes necessary, pack a bag beforehand. This will reduce the stress of making an unscheduled, last minute trip to the maternity ward.

Don't panic

According to a study in Midwifery Today, 99% of women who have experienced both hospital and home birth would choose a home birth in the future. It may seem daunting but with the support and consultation of your doctor, midwife and partner or family, there's no need to fear the process of giving birth at home.

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