Myth: There’s no pain relief available at homebirths
Truth: There’s a variety of pain relief options available for use at home, both natural and pharmacological.
These options are discussed in more detail during your initial chat with the team and during the homebirth advisory appointment.
Many Mums choose to use TENS in during their latent phase or early labour, which they purchase or hire themselves.
Lots of our clients also choose to hire birth pools which can be very effective in supporting labour. In 2019, 133 Mums used pools in their labours. Baths and even showers can also be ways of utilising water in labour.
As a Team, we carry Entonox or “Gas and Air”, which is available for women to use in labour. Many women find this very effective as a next step from using TENS or water.
We can also arrange a prescription of Meptid for women who would like this option. Like Pethidine, Meptid is an Opioid injection but is less strong. It can be very effective in the first stage of labour, particularly during a long latent phase where it can aid rest.
The team had the pleasure of supporting these wonderful first time parents as they birthed their baby boy at home in the pool
The team were delighted to support these first time parents as they welcomed their baby in to the world in their own #home with the support of their named midwife. Celebra-tea for the midwives while the parents went traditional #HomebirthJustHappened #Continuity @RSCH_Maternity
A couple days before my due date I’d started to get anxious at the thought of going over due. The thought of wasted time at home waiting and then the idea of being induced filled me with dread. I was already on the dates, raspberry leaf tea and clary sage but I decided to ramp it up with a curry, a reflexology session, a pineapple and whole evening on my birthing ball.
This seemed to do the trick because at 4.30am at 40+1 I felt a little trickle and thought ‘hmm…that can’t be anything else’. Trying not to get excited I went to the loo to put a pad in and went back to bed. About 15 mins later the same amount leaked again and I got out of bed.
Not just wanting to lie there I went downstairs and had a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit. I decided that if this was it I wanted my husband Sam to get some good sleep in because this could be a long day or so.
However at 6.30am the period pains were enough for me to wake him with a ‘I think it’s all starting’. He was wide awake and ready to go. We had it all planned that we’d make the living room cosy, watch something light hearted and put on the mp3s, all to keep the oxytocin high.
However as the period type pains quickly ramped up and we’re quite painful I wondered are these full on surges not just period pains? I’d expected strong tightening across my belly but it was all low down period pain and it felt like there wasn’t much of a break in between. So at 7.30am I called the homebirth team and was told to just chill and see what happened.
It then ticked over passed 8am and I really thought these are strong so I called back and the next midwife on shift for the homebirth team answered (Laura) and reiterated that I was a first time mum and I could have a good 8-12 hours ahead of me and I just needed to relax and maybe I should get in the bath.
The surges were starting to make me be sick, and I asked Sam to call my mum who used to be a midwife to tell her what was going on and check I wasn’t harming the baby by being sick. I found out after that she told Sam this was all a good sign and my body was really in the process of labour.
Sam ran me a bath and I was in, but the surges were progressing so at 8.15am I called again, really starting to feel like I was a nuisance but I just knew my adrenaline was rising at the thought of delivering our baby without a midwife.
Laura suggested herself and the student midwife get over to my house to see me and take it from there. They arrived, and Sam tells me now that immediately I calmed down and my mindset changed from one of slight panic to ok its time to go!
I continued to be sick whilst having a bath and for every surge Sam counted with me, in for four and out for eight. I realised, after one particularly intense surge, that my body would give me a break and the next wouldn’t be so bad so I took them one by one realising I could get through them.
Suddenly the bath didn’t appeal anymore and I went to my bedroom but lying down was really uncomfortable, so the student midwife suggested I kneel over the bed and she rubbed my back.
This next chunk of time was a blur but I was asking for the gas and air. Laura said she’d prefer I used the gas and air only once in the birth pool (due to the amount they carry!) but before I got in the pool she’d prefer to examine me. I had absolutely no problem with being examined and when she said 7cm although I was really pleased I said out loud ‘so I’ve missed the chance of an epidural!’.
In planning the birth, in the back of my mind I thought I’d be transferred to hospital for pain relief but now I knew I was doing this at home.
I got in the pool and it really was as good as they say for pain relief. It felt warm and I had lots of space to get comfortable.
After some time I started on the gas and air and that was amazing, I loved it! I really felt the benefits and it just took away any apprehension about the surges.
I remember hearing Laura in the hall describing where we lived to the second midwife who joined for delivery and Sam saying ‘that’s because you’re close now’.
I don’t remember any transition stage but I remember a feeling of needing to push at the very end of a surge. And Laura just encouraged me to go with my body. She didn’t do any checks and I didn’t feel like she interfered at all.
At this point there was the strong feeling of ‘I need a poo’ so I went to the toilet, here I did my best pushing and felt in 100% the right position. Laura said afterwards that she thinks this was a really productive part of my labour and the baby moved really well, so much so they had to persuade me to get back in the pool as they wouldn’t be delivering the baby on the loo!
I got back in the pool and back in the squatting position but this time the pain was in my legs, I felt like an athlete pulling my muscles during the surges. I was worried to change position to lying on my back as I didn’t want to slow anything down but my midwife reassured me it wouldn’t in the pool. So there I was with Sam holding one leg and the student midwife the other both massaging my hamstrings as I pushed!!
I could feel the progress now with each push and my baby was crowning. I held him still as just the forehead was out following the midwives instructions but on the next surge his head and body all came together and I said to Sam ‘it’s a boy it’s a boy!’ I couldn’t believe I’d done it!! It really is the most unbelievable feeling in the world!
Without even asking, my midwife team did delayed cord clamping and suggested a natural delivery of the placenta whilst Sam had skin to skin.
I’d only decided on a home birth at 38 weeks but it was the best decision I’ve ever made. If anyone is considering it I’d strongly suggest you ask all your questions and scenarios as I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the safety of homebirth.
I think back on my baby’s birthday as the best day of my life and would relive it over and over if I could.
I cant thank the Surrey Hill Home Birth team enough for their support and care, and for giving me the most positive experience possible.
H and baby B February 2019
It was an absolute privilege to support these first time parents as their teamwork rocked their labour at home!
It was an absolute pleasure to support these first time parents as they welcomed their daughter in to their arms at home in the pool.
This little lady was in a hurry to meet her parents this morning arriving a few days before her guess date and in just a few hours of active labours
At the 8 week appointment with the midwife – when asked ‘Would you consider a homebirth’ my answer was ‘No way!’ I thought it was pretty unsafe. It wasn’t until my pregnancy yoga teacher – Louise Rogers – said to me about how amazing the team were and how I was less likely to need medical intervention if I had a homebirth.
So I came home and told my husband – much to his dismay! But he agreed to meet with the team to see what it was all about.
We did a bit of reading up in the meantime and learnt all about the effects of cortisol (the stress hormone) and oxytocin on the birthing experience. We learnt that if you homebirth, you are less likely to need medical intervention , labour can happen quicker and it can be a much calmer, powerful experience where you feel in control.
My husband and I met with Jodie and we had loads of questions for her- mine all around the safety of my baby and me and my husbands all around the mess!! We knew we were only around 15minutes drive from the hospital but we learnt from Jodie that we would have two (very experienced) midwives with us the entire time. She explained that they not only had a lot of equipment with them – should anything go wrong, but that there were warning signs that they would look out for along the way – which would indicate that we might need to transfer.
So after a lot of thought (my husband was super keen after meeting the team) we decided to sign up with the team from around 24 weeks.
Having my midwife appointments at home with my named midwife was amazing. I got to know her really well and when a scary thought/ birth story or concern came up – I could speak to her about it and get reassurance.
I practiced hypnobirthing every day, yoga and swam. I ate really well and made sure I did everything I could to get baby in the right position.
When it was time, I started having signs on the Friday that things were happening but we thought it was safe for my husband to still go to work! I went for a walk around Godalming and actually sat and watched a little waterfall stream (very hypnobirthing – down breathing! I used this visualisation in the birth.)
My husband walked in the door on Friday night and gave me a cuddle and immediately I felt like I had mild period pains – talk about Oxytocin getting things moving!
We watched the fireworks and had a good night sleep (the last one I have had in a while J) and on Saturday morning – things really started to increase. I knew I needed to be at home, in my safe place. So we put on our funny dvds – American Office, lit a fire and candles and chilled.
We gave Jodie a call to let her know that things were starting and she told us when to get in touch with her. My husband kept trying to give me food – its true that eating becomes very difficult!
Around 5pm we started to time the contractions and updated Jodie. She instructed us to try and get a good night sleep and ordered Jon to keep feeding me! I had a bath and tried to remain calm. We went to bed but around 3am the contractions had ramped up and I couldn’t lay down anymore. I had a shower and did lots of hip movements – ‘rotate to dilate’ kept going through my mind! We hooked up the tens machine which massively helped and gave me something to focus on when each contraction started.
At 7am we phoned Jodie and said that we thought things were really moving along now. At 8am my waters broke on the stairs and I ran to the tiny downstairs loo and had a freak out – I don’t think either of us really believed it was going to happen until the waters broke. Jon was amazing and calmed me down – but I refused to leave my tiny safe space and screamed that I wanted Jodie! The relief when she arrived was huge. Jon had set up the pool so I got in and started my breathing through the surges.
My birth was incredible, crazy intense, powerful, empowering and magical. I couldn’t believe how it went. The midwives observed me the entire time, making me feel safe but leaving it to Jon and I to do together.
I was monitored but never felt interfered with at all. At one point Jodie could sense that the fears I had discussed with her were creeping in and she reassured me that everything was progressing perfectly.
After what felt like a lot of crowning and lots of extremely loud noises (I have never heard myself make those sounds before!) my gorgeous boy was born at 11.41am on Sunday 4th November. I was the first one to touch him, he went straight onto my chest, I discovered the gender and we kept the placenta attached for 40minutes and well after it had stopped pulsating.
It was the most overwhelming experience and I cannot believe it went so well – better than I could have ever imagined. I came away after birth exhausted but elated and it meant my recovery was so quick.
By 2pm I was sitting on my sofa (no mess!) with a cup of tea and cake. It was the most surreal experience.
I cannot explain how empowering and amazing my birth experience was and if you are considering having a homebirth my advice is to just give it a go!
Even if it doesn’t happen at home, you will have had such a lovely lead up to the birth with your experienced midwives. Either way you are going to do some of your labour at home so you might as well see how far you can go with an experienced midwife by your side!
Surrey Hills Client November 2018
Beautiful hypnobirth at home for this incredible second time mum #HomebirthJusthappened