How do you plan for a Homebirth?
In some ways, planning for a homebirth will be easier than planning for a hospital birth. In other ways, it will be more difficult or involved. It depends on where you live, the resources available to you and your overall health. If you are preparing for the possibility of a homebirth as a back-up, your planning will be different than a family who is planning for homebirth as their primary plan.
Your first task will be to find a midwife or doctor who attends homebirths in your area. This may be difficult due to restrictive laws in some communities. Before you will be accepted as a client, the midwife will want to assess your health to be sure homebirth is a realistic plan for you. If you cannot find an attendant, you will need to decide if you are more comfortable with another birth setting or with giving birth at home without an attendant. If you choose to go without an attendant you may want to consider options for prenatal care.
Once you have made your decision about attendants, you can begin to collect supplies for your labor. If you hired a midwife, she will have a list of supplies she requests you provide.
You will also want to consider what spaces in your home you want to use for the labor and how you can protect surfaces from any fluids they may come into contact with. Another thing to consider is how the spaces can be used. A small room may not be a good place to give birth with a large group of family and friends planning to attend, but it might make the perfect place to store the supplies during labor.
You have complete control over who is invited to your homebirth. Most midwives are as comfortable working with large families as they are first time parents who want to be alone. Consider your other children and their desire to be at the labor. Some children love the opportunity, others couldn't care less. Consider your feelings about having your children with you. Some mothers labor easier knowing their children are off having fun, others labor easier knowing they are safe at home.
If homebirth is your back-up plan, you might want to make sure you have a friend or neighbor who you can call just in case. This will give you the confidence of knowing even if things do move fast and you can't get to help, help can get to you without your having to call an ambulance. Although you will probably be fine, it might be nice to have someone to help clean up from the fluids and placenta.
If homebirth is your main birth plan, you may want to figure out a back-up plan. Most homebirths will be uneventful, and the back-up plan won't matter. On the rare chance you are one of the mothers who transfers to a hospital, you might want to research your options to make sure the transfer is as comfortable and stress-free as a mid-labor transfer can be.