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Preparation for a Home Birth

A home birth is a birth that occurs at home, planned by the parents of the baby with the support of a chosen midwife.  Homebirth services are provided free for the women of New Zealand/Aotearoa.  the Ministry of health funds home births because research shows that a homebirth is  a positive choice and safe alternative to giving birth in hospital for both mother and baby.

Women/parents choosing homebirth are expected to accept responsibility for their own health and that of their baby and to work in partnership with their chosen caregiver.  Women/parents who plan a homebirth should have a strong belief in the normalcy of childbirth, in women's ability to give birth and in birth being a special part of the life of a family.

Any woman, of any age, experiencing a normal pregnancy, including first time mothers, can plan a homebirth.  The question of whether or not it is appropriate for you to plan a homebirth should be decided in consultation with your midwife.

There are some medical conditions, for example, kidney problems, epilepsy, history of high blood pressure, previous pelvic injury, diabetes, heart disease or vascular disorders; also tobacco or drug addiction; which could make it advisable to give birth in hospital where specialised support systems are available for you and your baby.

Sometimes women whose pregnancies have progressed completely normally may not be able to have a homebirth.  For example;

  • If the labour starts more than three weeks before your due date, or

  • If your baby is in a breech position, or 

  • if you are expecting twins

Your midwife will recommend that you give birth in a hospital.

Checklist for the Birthday

  • Birthing mat – some people use a tarpaulin, although these can become slippery, especially if you are using water during the birth. Others make their own, or you can purchase a picnic rug with waterproof backing, they’re softer and non slip.

  • A birth pool if you are planning to labour or birth in water

  • A method for warming towels, such as a oil heater, dryer, hot water bottles, etc.

  • A container with frozen face cloths

  • A bucket/bowl in case of vomiting

  • Oil burner if you plan to use aromatherapy

  • Two large rubbish bags, one for linen and one for rubbish

  • A camera, camera charger, video camera. Spare batteries and memory space.

  • A way to play music, and a prepared music setlist

  • A container for the placenta.

  • Old towels and facecloths

  • Drinks for the mother during labour - your support people & midwife will probably get thirsty too

  • Food suitable for the mother during labour if she feels like eating, also for after the birth.

  • Massage oil

  • Chapstick for dry lips

  • Ice

  • Efficient heater/room heating system

  • Set of baby clothes & nappies

  • CHILDMINDER - if you have older children

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