We had a powerful home birth group meeting at midwife Carol’s home this week (thank you Carol!)
One mum told us her brilliant, inspiring and funny home birth story and we shared lots of information about issues from home birth after caesarean to midwives and biscuits.
The next meeting is on 11 April and I would love to see as many home birth hopefuls there as well as perhaps one or two of our former group attendees with their own stories.
A word or two about transfer to hospital
A high proportion of home births do end up as transfers to hospital – anything up to 23% in some studies and 16% in the best known, the National Birthday Study of 1994. This does NOT mean, however, that 16% of mothers who choose home birth are blue-lighted into the operating theatre for an emergency c-section with fingers wagging at them for their foolishness and irresponsibility for choosing a home birth. Oh no.
There are lots of reasons for transferring to hospital and as midwife Carol explained, risks give warning signs long before they become dangerous. And that figure of 16% includes women who have to give up their planned home birth before they are in labour because of PROM or because the baby’s size gives cause for concern.
Here are some reasons why a mother might be transferred DURING labour:
- meconium in the waters (even though baby may turn out to be fine at birth)
- failure to progress: a very common reason. Possibly affected by over-enthusiastic use of birthing pools…or simply midwife anxiety?
- Fetal distress: in other words, as soon as there is something non-reassuring about the baby’s heartbeat – unless birth is imminent (e.g. with the case of my client Nancy whose baby’s cord was in a true knot. She pushed him out very quickly and he was fine)
- Haemorrhage and high blood pressure – less usual
- Cord prolapse – rare
She might be transferred AFTER the baby is born for any of the following reasons: the baby needs observation, so mum goes with baby; placenta won’t come away; she’s had a tear and some serious stitching required (though I’d expect most midwives to be able to do this at home)