Babies have been born at home for centuries, but that didn't stop most of my family and friends from giving me some serious "are you crazy?" looks when I announced my plans to give birth to my youngest child in my living room. Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in home birth, with more moms considering it as a viable option. If you're trying to decide if a home birth is right for your family, you may have a lot of unanswered questions. From how you know you've delivered a healthy baby to who cleans up all of the mess, you may be wondering about the things that happen after you give birth at home.
As What To Expect mentioned, home birth can be a safe alternative to the hospital if your pregnancy is considered low risk for complications. Having the ability to move about your home freely, eat and drink as you please, and include your loved ones are among the benefits to choosing to have a supervised home birth. Additionally, the American Pregnancy Associated noted that the average home birth — without complications — can cost about 60 percent less than giving birth in the hospital.
You may be surprised to learn that when you give birth at home, there really isn't much for you to do — except give birth, of course. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing team of midwives and doulas who worked with my family to make sure every detail of the delivery was taken care of, leaving me to focus on getting through labor and bonding with my new baby and his big sister.
Check with your healthcare provider about whether or not you are a good candidate for home birth, educate yourself on the potential risks, and have a backup plan in place in case of an emergency. And once you've decided home birth is right for you, you can start preparing your home — and the rest of your family — for your baby's big day. Here are a few things to take into account when deciding to give birth at home.
1. The Birth Team Cleans Up
From disposing of the medical equipment to draining and deflating your birth pool, your birth team will be responsible for cleaning up after you've given birth, according to Fit Pregnancy. You can even discuss ahead of time whether you want them to discard or preserve the placenta. Once they're done, your home will look as good as new.
2. You Enjoy A Meal That You Actually Want
One of the best things about my home birth (besides the baby, of course) was the delicious home cooked breakfast my mother-in-law prepared for me after the baby arrived. After all of that pushing, you will likely have worked up an appetite. Rather than bland hospital food, you'll get to enjoy something right out of your own kitchen.
3. You Get Glammed Up
After labor, you will likely want to take a nice, warm shower and put on your first postpartum outfit. Once your baby arrives, you can relax in your own bathroom and get yourself ready for your first mommy and baby photo shoot.
4. Baby Gets Their First Check-Up
After your baby has been cleaned up, your midwife will give your baby his first check-up, according to Everyday Family. His height, weight, APGAR score, and reflexes are among the things she will be looking at on his birthday. Midwives also often do a follow up visit a few days later. You'll take him to your pediatrician for future check-ups.
5. You Fill Out The Paper Work
Once your baby is safe and your midwife will assist with filling out the paperwork for your baby's birth certificate, according to Everyday Health. He or she should be able to give you instructions on how to deliver the completed paperwork to the correct government office for processing.
6. You Get A Lesson On Parenting
Your baby won't come with an instruction manual, but your midwife will give you some pointers on the basic things you need to know. As the Mayo Clinic mentioned, your midwife will give you information on caring for your new baby, including nursing support. The rest you'll learn along the way.
7. You And Your Baby Get To Bond
One of the benefits of having a home birth is the ability to spend the first moments after labor and delivery in the comforts of your own home. Immediately after a home birth, Midwifery Today noted that your baby will be placed on your stomach or breast. This helps to facilitate bonding between mommy and baby.