My introduction to motherhood came as quite a shock to me. After the traumatic hospital birth of my first daughter, followed by postnatal depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, I decided to investigate alternative care options for my next three pregnancies.
I spent a lot of time reading and researching my available choices and decided to hire an independent midwife and give birth to my other three daughters at home. There are a handful of reasons that led me to my decision to birth outside the system, and they are the following:
Continuity of care and availability
Being familiar with my primary caregiver during my pregnancy was of utmost importance to me, and I wanted to have a trusting relationship with her. This need for continuity of care was the main reason I chose to hire an independent midwife. During the months leading up to birth, my midwife and I got to know each other very well, and she got to know what my “normal” looked like. This made identifying and supporting any issues that arose with my pregnancy very straightforward.
Read more about giving birth:
- What is vaginal seeding and how it can help babies born via c-section?
- Early arrivals – why you might have a premature labour and what to expect
- Vaginal examinations aren’t the only way to tell how your labour is progressing
Better birth outcomes and less intervention
Research supports midwifery-led care, too. Studies have shown fewer women under the supervision of a midwife have the need for an episiotomy, instrumental birth or other intervention, and they even have a lower risk of losing their babies. My desire to have an unhindered vaginal birth was supported by this evidence, too – which is something I didn’t get to experience with my first daughter. I wanted to feel empowered to listen to my body and birth my baby, my way.
The idea of having all my antenatal checks in the comfort of my home was a huge draw-card for me, as well. Instead of having to haul my toddler and myself into a cold hospital waiting room where we would wait for hours – I relished the idea of being able to have my pregnancy care at home. My pregnancies were, therefore, a lot more relaxed and enjoyable because I was cared for in the comfort of my own home, with someone I knew and trusted. It wasn’t a sterile, clinical environment.
Taking ownership of my birth and being supported by my midwife to make informed decisions was something I valued immensely. Research backs this up, too – with one study stating that good communication between healthcare professionals and women is essential. Instead of feeling adrift in a sea of medical mumbo-jumbo, I felt informed and empowered – which I have no doubt had far-reaching impacts and contributed to my incredible homebirths.
There isn’t anything better than having wonderful care from someone you trust on-hand immediately after you’ve just given birth. My decision to hire an independent midwife to support me through my pregnancies and births meant my postnatal experience was of the highest calibre. Research emphasises the importance of midwives providing breastfeeding support to women in their care, and this was invaluable to me. Without a doubt, I owe my successful breastfeeding relationships to the care and patience of my midwife for her support and patience in the early days after giving birth.
Midwives are highly-educated, passionate and professional women who dedicate their lives to serving and supporting women in their care. I am blessed to know many midwives who have each left imprints on my family and me, that I will be forever grateful for. If prioritising continuity of care, accessing supports for a better birth in a woman-centred model appeals to you, I highly recommend looking into hiring an independent midwife.
If you are currently pregnant and considering a home birth, seek the advice of your doctor or midwife to discuss your options.