How to Prepare for a Homebirth: What should I do to prepare? How can I improve outcomes?
Dawn Karlin, CPM and Yvonne Silbernagel, CPM
Congrats! You have achieved a pregnancy and chosen out of hospital birth, what now? Are there things that you can do to improve outcomes and prepare for a better birth? The lists below identify areas that we feel are important for good outcomes. We also asked clients what they felt helped them prepare for home birth and listed some of their responses too!
Pick your Birth Team
- Does your midwife have the same ideas about birth that you do?
- What is her transfer rate? Why?
- What are her protocols?
- What is your midwife passionate about?
- Do you get to pick everyone that will be there?
- Interview several midwives and assistants- finding the right choice for you
- Talk to other moms who have had a homebirth
- Keep yourself low risk with healthy eating
- Higher protein lower carb
- Low sugar
- Stay hydrated
Exercise, Stay Active
- 15-20 minutes a day, at least 3-4 times a week
- Prenatal yoga
- Prenatal Pilates
Natural Childbirth Education
- Birth Boot Camp
- Bradley Method
- Birthing at Home
Books, Videos, other
- Read books on natural child birth- The Bradley Book, Birth Partner, Pushed, Birth Matters, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Mindful Birthing, Birthing from Within
- Homebirth Videos- YouTube has a plethora of homebirth videos, in varying graphic detail
- Listen to Mindful Birthing
Emotional and Mental Prep (ideas from our wonderful clients)
- Visualize the birth you want
- Keeping your home an emotionally safe place with healthy boundaries
- Learning to relinquish control over where and when the baby will come
- Mindful breathing and relaxation
- Birth Affirmations
- Learn to trust the process
So much of what we do in our daily lives causes imbalances. Chiropractic care can help fix that.
- Find a Webster’s Certified chiropractor- ask your midwife, we will usually have recommendations for you!
- Balance- so many influences that knock hormones and body systems out of balance. Acupuncture brings balance.
Unfortunately, no matter how good our diet is, it is hard to get everything we need. So here are some supplements that can help:
- Food based prenatals with Folate not folic acid
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C with Rose Hips
For After the Baby Comes- prepare yourself for an easier postpartum
- Food prep- freezer meals
- Easy healthy snacks
- Snacks that younger kids can easily get to
- Teach older kids to cook simple meals
- Consider placenta encapsulation
What worked for other homebirthers?
While there are no guarantees in the birth process, we wanted to do everything we could to support the out of hospital birth experience we wanted. I prepared physically with chiropractic care throughout the entire pregnancy, weekly acupuncture treatments, prenatal Pilates classes, and Spinning Babies exercises at home the last trimester. Mentally and emotionally I prepared by attending a HypnoBirth class series with my husband, reading Ina May, a Mother’s Blessing, choosing the right birth team for us (midwife, midwife assistant, doula(s), photographer), and being at rest in all the decisions I made during pregnancy so when labor began I didn’t have to think or worry and I could just be in the moment. Josiah H.
Reading Ina May’s Guide to Chilbirth and learning about the farm made me feel so confident in my choice to birth at home. Julia W.
Taking a Birthing at Home class and just hearing about stories from other women who birthed at home helped me feel like I could do it. Jessica W.
Personally, what I know helped me specifically: nutrition (hands down) and knowing I didn’t need to worry about my wishes/desires/preferences. The confidence of being respected during labor (for me) was 75% of it. It gave me the mental and emotional space to prepare for birth in other ways. The other was reviewing my relaxation, taking time for myself <3. Then, of course, having a team that I trusted to help me get the job done. Brandy H.
Nutrition, prenatal yoga DVD, Hypnobirthing home curriculum, EPI-NO 😬, Webster technique chiropractic, having a team I 100% trusted, birth affirmations and scriptures, prayer and journaling my thoughts in order to process the emotional journey. And honestly, who knows if I really needed all of that, but it’s what helped me feel confident after two homebirth to hospital birth transfers. Mindy H.
Not being afraid to ask questions, and being willing to seek help from as many professionals from all different arenas of health care (birth team, Perinatology, my pcp, naturopath, chiro, acupuncturist/herbalist/nutrition response testing team… a whole paparazzi of people). Whatever it took to get the birth we wanted! Even with all of that, sure, maybe something wouldn’t have worked out–
BUT, I knew I’d rather feel like I exhausted every avenue available to me in order to succeed in the face of a few stumbling blocks in my journey!!! And, it worked, and I even made some friends along the way! 💕 Alisha C.
Praying and trusting God! Trusting my body to do what He created it to do. Having a balanced diet for sure. I think just the fact that I KNEW I could and would do this made it better. I knew it was going to be a testament to those who were against it as well. Plus having an amazing hubby and birth team! ❤ Deanna S.
I watched a ton of videos of animals giving birth and it truly helped. (Do you know how hard it is to find a video of a gorilla giving birth?) Kathleen S.
With my first reading Natural Childbirth: The Bradley Way. Doing the exercises every night was extremely beneficial, practicing relaxation was key. Lots of reading and self education.
With all of them eating a healthy diet (it was best with 2nd, and that was the easiest labor/birth) taking the recommended vitamins, having supportive husband and family members, having great midwives at each birth and caring for me throughout my pregnancies! Shelby P.
Reading, journaling, constant fear release and protecting my gestation bubble, choosing the right team, being brutally honest with myself abput the what ifs and contingency plans, gathering friends to celebrate with me, Hypnobirth classes and mediation tracks, copious amounts of prayer and self-revelation, counseling, meticulous logistical planning, chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, Spinning babies, nutrition (when I could get anything down) and supplements, replacing every negative/fearful/self defeating thought with like 3 birth affirmations, having my entire friend base (in OKC) work in the birth field, gardening (lots of hands and knees while pulling weeds), really long showers/baths. Lots of prep work but at the end of the day…I can’t explain it…I already knew how it was supposed to go. There were days when I doubted what I had been told about my story and my baby but most days, I knew. I knew her despite never having an ultrasound. I knew her name. I knew her purpose in my life. Her birth story was written before my eyes years before she arrived in so many tiny but significant ways and on the days I had nothing left to fall into, on the days I struggled with the weight of HBAC and the trauma of my first birth and the complications of family life and the waiting and waiting and waiting and insomnia and WAITING on her arrival, the KNOWING is what I clung to…sometimes desperately so. Brittany F.
My husband and I taking a child birth class(just for my first pregnancy), food preparation for easy meals after birth and also making sure I had snacks on hand for labor, learning to completely relax and breathe, hiring an amazing midwife and assistant, chiropractor visits, and walking a lot. Kaci C.
I read Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way with my husband before my first, which helped both of us practice mindful relaxation and really empowered him to feel calm and prepared instead of freaked out when the time came, which allowed me to stay peaceful. I also read a bunch of other natural birth stuff and watched home birth videos on YouTube and just generally built up my confidence and trust in my body.
Also finding great midwives who I trusted completely. Both you and my first midwife provided great information on pregnancy and especially good nutrition, which I think helped a bunch. ❤ Julia P
W. Yvonne Silbernagel, CPM, https://www.amotherslovemidwifery.com
Dawn Karlin, CPM, https://blissbirthok.com