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Suzy and Oliver’s birth – a powerful home birth

Home birth Lister hospital hertfordshire welwyn hatfield

24 May, 2023

Birth Story Series – Suzy’s Welwyn Garden City home birth

Home birth Lister home birth lister

Past client Suzy found the benefit of classes again with her second child and shares her 2023 birth story below. Suzy attended Active Antenatal classes and the Antenatal Course in 2020 ahead of the speedy and unplanned home birth of her first son.

She decided to return to our Active Antenatal classes whilst pregnant with her second son, to help her recap and remember the techniques from the first time, but also to consolidate and make sense of what happened the first time round. Home birth Lister home birth lister

Early stages

Suzy says, “They say your second baby comes quicker than the first… I can confirm ‘they’ were correct!!Home birth Lister home birth lister

Around 7.30am I thought I was having Braxton Hicks, but I soon realised they were more frequent. However, I was really unsure if I was going into labour or not as I felt okay and they weren’t very strong. So, I carried on the morning as usual but got my sisters on standby to collect my 2.5yr old son just in case.” Home birth Lister home birth lister

Trusting your instinct

“At 12.15pm I decided to call triage for advice as I was certain this was not just Braxtons Hicks now and they were getting stronger. Home birth Lister home birth lister

Triage wasn’t convinced I was in labour either as my contractions were so sporadic but none the less they called the midwife in my area (I was having a planned home birth) who gave me a call at 12.30pm.

I asked her to come check if I was dilated just to put my mind at ease.

The midwife arrived at 1pm, examined me at 1.20pm and told me (to my surprise) I was 6cm dilated!” Home birth Lister home birth lister

All systems go!

“It was time to set up my living room like a scene from Dexter! Plastic sheets and shower curtains to protect our home at the ready!

By this point I could only focus on my breathing as the contractions were very strong and close together. Two weeks prior to this I had my final Active Antenatal class with Jilly, so the techniques were fresh in my mind and oh wow did they come in handy!

Especially as the midwife left the gas and air in her car and didn’t have time to go get it!

My waters broke at 1.45pm and with some big controlled ‘out breaths’ Oliver was born at 2pm! I was in labour for a total of 40 minutes!”

I often get asked “because it was so short was it less painful?” “Absolutely not! The breathing techniques massively helped me control the situation and I felt empowered when doing so! But it was by no means less painful!”

Home birth

“I feel very lucky to have had the home birth I had planned and urge other expecting mother’s to consider the same path if possible as there is no place like home!”

Brothers, two home births, home birth lister

Words from Jilly – a home birth

Suzy is correct, there is no place like home. A 2019 systematic review (published in The Lancet 2020) compared studies including 500,000 and discovered that planning a home birth versus planning a hospital birth resulted in overall:

    • More than 40% less chance of giving birth by caesarean
    • More than 50% less chance of having an operative vaginal birth
    • 70% less chance of using an epidural
    • 55% less chance of an episiotomy
    • More than 40% less chance of experiencing a 3rd or 4th degree tear
    • More than 60% less likely to receive oxytocin augmentation of labour
    • More than 75% fewer reported maternal infections

Split into nulliparous (first babies) and multiparous (subsequent babies) the results were as follows.

Nulliparous – first babiesMultiparous – subsequent babies
  • 30% less likely to give birth by caesarean
  • 60% less likely to give birth by caesarean
  • 25% less likely to have an operative vaginal birth
  • 60% less likely to have an operative vaginal birth
  • 50% less likely to use an epidural
  • 45% less likely to have a 3rd or 4th degree tear
  • 25% less likely to have an episiotomy
  • More than 50% less likely to have an episiotomy
  • More than 35% less likely to receive oxytocin augmentation of labour
  • More than 65% less likely to receive oxytocin augmentation of labour

 “Regardless of why the decreases exist, the magnitude of effect and the remarkable consistency of the findings do much to support home as a choice of birthplace. However, readers need to interpret the safety of home birth within their particular context…the findings indicate that home birth care is safe for low-risk women in settings where home birth care is well-integrated into the local health care system, and who begin labour with a plan to give birth at home.” Hutton et al (2019). Perinatal or neonatal mortality among women who intend at the onset of labour to give birth at home compared to women of low obstetrical risk who intend to give birth in hospital: A systematic review and meta-analyses. doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2019.07.005

    In the words of Dr Sara Wickman, “home birth isn’t just for those who manage to stay in the ‘low risk’ box either! Research shows that home birth is also safer for women who are labelled as ‘high risk’. (Let’s acknowledge that this labelling is often inaccurate, unhelpful and offensive though.)”

    Home birth Lister

    Local statistics for Lister maternity unit show that home birth rates sit between around 0.8 and 2.3% – local home birth is supported but not advertised enough. It is safe, and a valid option for most people to consider so consider talking to your midwife about it.

    Thank you so much for your birth story Suzy, and for opening up a conversation about home birth!

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