Having a baby at home? Do the right prep
1. Let your midwife know it's what you want
Ideally, you should decide well before week 36 so she can make the appropriate preparations. ‘She will leave equipment such as gas and air at your home well before you’re likely to go into labour,’ says Elizabeth Duff, senior policy adviser at the NCT. ‘She’ll take care of all the practicals, so you don’t need to worry about any of that.’
2. Get in touch with any local home birth support groups...
...So you can meet other women planning to have their babies at home and learn useful tips. Your midwife will be able to give you details of these; the NCT also runs groups in some areas.
3. Hire a birthing pool
If you want a water birth, you need to get yourself a birthing pool booked – there are lots available online.
4. Stock up on everything you need in advance
‘Think about food snacks and drinks you’ll want, things to tie your hair back with, anything you want for pain relief, such as a TENS machines, a hot water bottle in case you get shivery towards the end of your labour, and something to wrap the baby in,’ says Elizabeth.
Don’t forget biscuits for the midwives – and cake and a bottle of bubbly to toast the new arrival.
5. Create the right atmosphere
It doesn’t matter if your living room is messy or needs decorating – what’s important is that you feel comfortable in it. Putting candles around and creating a playlist of your favourite music can help you feel more relaxed.
6. Put everything you need in one place as the time approaches
This should include your birth plan, your TENS machine and massage oils, and make sure you know where other essentials are, from food you might want to your phone charger. Trust us: hunting down your iPod is the last thing you’ll want to be doing during labour.
7. Prepare for a change of plan
About one-third of women who have home births end up going to hospital, usually for an epidural or because of failure to progress.
‘So have a hospital bag packed in case this happens to you – you won’t want to be scrabbling around for things you need at the last minute,’ says Elizabeth. ‘And if you have children already, have friends and relatives on standby to look after them in case you and your partner have to go to hospital.’