Home Birth After 35?

Bellies to BirthCast – Choosing Homebirth After 35

Why this podcast?
The Bellies to BirthCast has not been featured on this blog yet. I think the main reason is that there are only six episodes and that just didn’t seem like a whole lot to choose from.

It is also focused on natural birth and I guess I didn’t want to exclude anyone if that is not their thing.

I figured, however, that it was time to explore this podcast and I was surprised to discover that Bellies to BirthCast is the podcast from Giving Birth Naturally.

The mission of the Giving Birth Naturally website is –

”…to encourage each woman giving birth naturally to make informed decisions and to stimulate open, honest discourse with care providers to improve outcomes for the families they serve.”

The fact that this website does that by providing evidence-based resources is, for me, incredibly important.

The Bellies to BirthCast aims to guide you through your pregnancy and natural childbirth using tips, inspiring stories and expert interviews.

How does it look?
With only six episodes I can simply tell you that the following subjects have been covered:

Why HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean) is becoming more popular; choosing home births in the U.K. and Canada and the differences in the two systems; a mother discusses her decision to leave her OB late in her fourth pregnancy in favour of an illegal, midwife assisted home birth; home birth after emergency c-section; home birth after 35 and birth in the U.K. v the U.S.

Episodes range from thirty-one to forty-seven minutes (to be precise).

It isn’t clear to me why there are only six episodes. I have no idea if this was the plan or, for whatever reason, it just turned out that way.

It also has to be said that, when you consider there are so few episodes, a few areas (home birth, VBAC, comparing the U.K. and North American Birth systems…) seem to crop up more than once.

However, if you are exploring natural birth or are already utilising the website then this podcast could be a great addition.

Why this episode?
Because although I have often thought about the reasons women choose home birth, the philosophy behind it, whether I would choose one if I were to have another baby (not going to happen, three is enough), I hadn’t really considered the idea that it might be riskier after thirty-five.

Who should listen to this episode?
Anyone who is interested in the idea of home birth, regardless of age.

The episode
Mikaela Seligman became interested in the idea of home birth after her husband showed her the documentary The Business of Being Born (if you haven’t watched this yet please do, it’s amazing).

Mikaela and her husband had already decided that they wanted to have a natural birth but had not considered the option of having their baby at home. After seeing the film, however, home birth became the plan.

Was age a concern?
Being over thirty-five myself, I often forget that this is considered, at least during pregnancy and birth, older, riskier. However, because Mikaela was extremely healthy and in great shape age was really no issue.

Mikaela’s number one supporter was her husband, whom, she says, sometimes got a bit carried away at dinner parties with the whole home birth thing and had to be told to tone it down by his wife.

Interestingly, Mikaela’s mother, who was concerned, became a huge home birth supporter after watching The Business of Being Born (again, you have to watch this!)

Preparation is key
Mikaela and her husband took not one, but two birth classes.
The first was focused on mindfulness and they practised meditation together every day.
The second was a class specifically geared towards home birth.

Mikaela suggests looking around and seeing what kind of birth classes are available in your area. Don’t just go with the first one you find or the closest by, choose one that fits your birth philosophy.

It’s much more likely to pay off.

Mikaela was pretty lucky and didn’t really encounter many external challenges but says she did struggle with slowing down and getting in touch with her internal self.

Knowing yourself and listening to your body are super important during birth, especially so during a home birth where you will need to be able to really trust your body to know what to do.

Emergency plan
A doctor was found who was happy to be a backup for the midwife in the case of a hospital transfer.

It is also important to note that midwives are not on a mission to give you a home birth at any cost.

Midwives know birth and are trained and prepared to handle many situations.

If they see red flags for something they know they cannot handle at home they will not hesitate to transfer you to a hospital.

The Birth
Mikaela’s labour started on a Saturday night and her little boy, Asher, was born the following Monday afternoon. She noticed that her surges would get into a pattern and get closer together only to get much further apart again over the first couple of days.

In the early hours of Monday morning, Mikaela’s midwife recommended a glass of wine and bed as she knew Mikaela would need some proper rest before active labour began. Three hours later, Mikaela awoke with renewed energy, both physically and mentally and, after a whole lot of walking to move the baby down, baby Asher was born.

To wrap up
The decision to have a home birth was absolutely the right one for Mikaela and her husband. She says they never regretted or questioned it and were so happy to be in a relaxing environment and to have ownership of their birth experience.

For some, however, a birth centre or hospital birth is absolutely the right choice. Perhaps circumstances mean you need to be somewhere where medical assistance is immediately available or maybe you simply feel safer in that environment.

The point is not to push you towards one choice.

The point is that wherever you choose to give birth is your choice but it is a choice.

There is more than one option.

Do your research, know yourself and then make the choice that is right for YOU.

If anyone has had a home birth (especially at a later age) I would love to hear from you.

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By emilywills

Emily Wills is a doula based in Stockholm. She believes that birth can be a beautiful and empowering experience and started this blog as a way of sharing some really great podcasts. She is also a mother of three and an enthusiastic runner.

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