5 of the Biggest Home Birth Considerations for Expectant Mothers

 

Written by Tara Lynn Thompson in the July 2017 Issue

Susan Smartt Cook

 

The sweetest sound you’ll ever hear is the first cry of your newborn child. Expectant mothers wait for, what often feels like, an eternity to hear that sound. With all the unknowns and questions that arise as a parent, the one that often comes first is where and how to bring your child into the world. Is a hospital or home birth better for you and your child? And are there any other alternatives? 

 

With the recent May opening of the Edmond Birthing Center, we wanted a more in-depth personal, firsthand experience of midwifery. So, we sat down with Susan Smartt Cook, a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) since 2010, the president of the Oklahoma Midwives Alliance (OMA), and an Edmond resident, to discuss the topic of home births. Cook, who has attended nearly 300 births, talked about what expectant mothers often want to know when considering an out of hospital birth.

 

Susan Smartt Cook

Susan Smart Cook, CPM

 

Medical concerns

Out of hospital birth with a trained midwife involves vigilant monitoring of both the mother and baby. We listen to fetal heart tones throughout labor, monitor maternal vitals, and constantly assess the whole picture to ensure everything is within the range of normal.

 

No ticking clock

What struck me most during my first home birth, after attending hospital births as a doula, was the different sense of time and space at home. Home birth is much more relaxed. Birth is allowed to unfold spontaneously while the client eats her own food, naps in her own bed, and soaks in her own bathtub.

 

Sanitization and cleanliness concerns

Many people have questions about cleanliness in the home versus the hospital.  We’ve learned so much in recent years about the importance of seeding babies’ microbiomes with good bacteria through vaginal birth, skin to skin contact with the mother, and breastfeeding.  Home birth facilitates all of these things and brings the baby into its ‘home environment’ in the most literal sense, colonizing the baby with microbes from home and family rather than those from hospital surfaces and staff.

 

Continuity of care

As a midwife, I provide continuity of care, meaning my clients will have support from me and my team throughout their prenatal care, birth, and postpartum period.  Midwifery care is holistic. We address our clients’ physical, psychological, and social well-being. We talk through their fears and hopes, and we help them understand and embrace what their body is capable of.  We provide continuous support during active labor offering encouragement, comfort measures, and suggestions for partners to get involved.  We continue to provide support for at least six weeks postpartum with both home and office visits.

 

The Birth Center option

Many women want an out of hospital birth, but don’t feel comfortable planning a home birth either because of space constraints, other children at home, or distance from the nearest hospital. For them, and for others who are looking for a birth-time ‘getaway’ but don’t want to go to the hospital, the Edmond Birthing Center is ideal. It’s a beautiful, relaxing space with three birth rooms furnished with comfortable beds, large tubs, showers, birth balls, and more. It’s a very exciting addition to the community.

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