Planned homebirth is definitely rare in 2016. Most births occur in hospitals, but a small number occur at home. Some people are left completely perplexed by it, because they have come to view hospital birth as the only way to give birth, and homebirthers often hear a lot of strange questions. Here are a selection of the best.
HOW DO YOU CUT THE CORD?
This is one of the most common questions. The answer may surprise you, so be certain you are seated comfortably. When a baby is born at home, the umbilical cord is severed using … SCISSORS. However sometimes homebirthers choose a lotus birth instead, and then they don’t cut the cord at all. Lotus birth is when the cord naturally separates from the baby, usually three to five days after birth.
BUT WHO DELIVERED THE BABY?
This one is particularly worrisome for people. The idea that someone must deliver the baby is strongly ingrained. The answer is that NO ONE delivers a baby that is born at home, even when a midwife is in attendance. Women give birth to their babies! Sometimes a pizza is delivered afterwards, but that’s usually the extent of the delivery status at homebirths.
WHAT IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?
This isn’t such a silly question when you think about it, but it is a question that is based on the assumption that only hospitals can detect and manage a problem. When something goes wrong you simply go to hospital and access the available technology. It’s much the same as if you have a car accident and you need emergency treatment. Car accidents can happen in seconds, they are totally unpredictable, and yet people make it to hospital for treatment all the time. It’s the same with birth. Women don’t plan a homebirth until they’ve got this question well and truly covered and are content with their knowledge.
IS THAT HYGIENIC?
I‘m not having surgery, I’m having a baby! A sterile environment is vital in surgery, but birth is a normal bodily function. If your house is clean enough for a baby to live in, it’s clean enough for a baby to be born in.
ISN’T THERE A LOT OF MESS?
Mess is a part of life! When I cook dinner it gets messy, but I still cook. Then the whole family cleans up afterwards. We wash things, wipe surfaces down, put things away, and get on with life. It’s the same after a birth. The mess is a bit different, but you clean it exactly the same way you clean all other household messes, with a little elbow grease!
WAS THAT ON PURPOSE?
Everyone knows babies are sometimes born before the mother can get to hospital, so the instant assumption about homebirth is that it was a surprise, or an accident. But more babies are born at home intentionally than accidentally.
CAN YOU HAVE AN EPIDURAL?
Ummmm. The short answer to that would be no. There’s not much point elaborating on that really. If you want an epidural, plan a hospital birth. If you don’t want one? Home is a great place to welcome your baby because no one ever has one at home.
IS THAT LEGAL?
Laws differ from place to place, but in most places it’s perfectly legal to have a homebirth. It can be hard to find a midwife to attend your birth at home but in those places many women simply have freebirths. If someone is talking about their homebirth openly the odds are good that it’s legal. Did you ever hear Walter White talking about his meth lab?
The fact that hospital birth is viewed as so normal is never more evident than when someone finds out about homebirth. Some of the questions are very valid, and worth discussing, some are questionable, and others …. others are really silly! How do you cut the cord?! We either wait til the cat chews through it or we break out the chainsaw.
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