5 Top Tips For Choosing Your Birth Team

Doing It At Home – Picking Your All-Star Home Birth Team

Why this podcast?
Another new one this week and I’m super excited to introduce this podcast.
I have to say that since discovering it a few days ago, I have become a little bit addicted.
The Doing It At Home Podcast is honest, real, open and it can be pretty raw too.

The hosts, married couple and health and fitness enthusiasts Matthew and Sarah, take you through their home birth journey.

They are funny, super relaxed and I love that they record their episodes at home, sometimes with some little gurgles and cries from their baby daughter, Maya.

Now, I expect that many of you reading are probably not choosing to have your baby at home but I really encourage you to listen to this podcast anyway.

There is so much you can take away from it and apply to any kind of pregnancy and birth journey.

Matthew and Sarah do not push home birth at any point. They are simply sharing, in a very open way, their decision and their experience.

I have found this podcast a joy to listen to and so many things that come up will come up for you no matter what kind of birth you are planning.

The hosts themselves freely admit that they had never really considered having a home birth and that the words home birth brought up images for them of hippies living in the woods, showering too little and living on granola.

They were going firmly down the route of doctor-led hospital care until they were well into their second trimester.

At that point, they started to think seriously about how they wanted birth to look for them and they realised that many of the aspects that they didn’t want would be typical for a hospital birth and that many of the things they did want would fit well with a home birth.

They did their research, talked to experienced people and made an informed choice that was right for them.

This podcast is their story.

How does it look?
Episodes are released anywhere from one to three times a week. An average episode probably lasts around thirty minutes but the length can vary quite a bit.

Earlier episodes focus very much on Matthew and Sarah’s home birth journey, from their decision to issues with family and friends and the home birth itself.

Later, they interview other families who have chosen home birth and share their stories as well as including episodes on what not to say to a home birth mama, a raw conversation about new motherhood, celebrities who chose home birth, taboo subjects of birth and motherhood, postpartum sex and Matthew and Sarah celebrating one year of parenthood to name but a handful.

Why this episode?
I said earlier that I feel there are so many great things to take away from Sarah and Matthew’s experience, no matter what kind of birth you are planning for.

Whether you intend to meet your little one at home, hospital or in a birth centre, having the right people to support you during labour and birth is key.

Who should listen to this episode?
Everyone who is expecting a baby, partners included.

The episode
Sarah and Matthew are pretty good talkers and are occasionally guilty of using ten words when one would do (but hey, who isn’t?). I don’t find this particularly annoying however as I love how they let their conversations flow and are so refreshingly open about all aspects of their experience.

So, what are their top five tips for choosing your birth team?

#1 – You can’t have too few people….but you can definitely have too many
Where you are planning on giving birth will definitely have an impact on how many people you can have in the room but this is an important one to keep in mind and a good jumping off point.

You want all your bases covered in terms of support but you don’t want your birth to turn into a circus.

Think carefully, choose wisely.

#2 – Think roles, not people
This piece of advice is golden. When you are choosing your birth support team try not to think of who you want there but rather what kind of roles you want to be filled.

For instance, Sarah and Matthew decided that, in addition to their midwives, they wanted the following roles filled at their home birth:

Two doula figures. One to focus purely on Sarah (in their case someone who was very relaxed and calm but with a powerful, feminine energy) and one to be there for Matthew. The partner needs taking care of too if they are going to be an ongoing source of support to the birthing woman.

One person to document the labour and birth by taking notes, photographs and videos. This is something you won’t regret doing. You can always delete certain images afterwards but most people really treasure being able to look back on and take in moments that they may have missed during the intensity of birth itself.

– One person to take care of their dogs. In this case that was Matthew’s mum who was not only incredibly supportive of their home birth but was also a nurse. You might want someone to be there to look after your older children.

They then thought carefully about which of their friends and family would best fill those roles and that is who they invited to be there.

That way they didn’t end up with a lot of people who might be more spectators than a support team.

#3 – Decide on your criteria
After deciding on the roles they wanted to be filled, Sarah and Matthew also sat down and, very objectively, thought about the kind of atmosphere they wanted for their home birth.

For instance, they only wanted those there who would bring positive, uplifting energy and therefore anyone who was fearful, negative or even neutral about home birth would not be present.

This included Sarah’s mum who carried a lot of fear about home birth.

They also only wanted people present who could step into a support or coaching role at any point.

I believe this links to the fact that they also decided that every member of their team should have experienced birth, either having birthed a baby themselves or been present at a birth.

This eliminated Mathews younger sister who desperately wanted to be there. However, having never been at a birth, Matthew and Sarah knew that however much love she had for them and their baby she would probably take more of a spectator role than a coaching one.

#4 – Stick to your guns
Leaving out friends or family who you love and who love you can be hard but it is so important to think objectively about how you want your birth to be and who will be able to support you in that, wholeheartedly.

Having set criteria means that you can explain to those who are not invited that it is not something personal but simply that these things are important to you and that is why they will not be present.

#5 – You can’t make everyone happy
This relates to the last tip but I felt it was important enough to have its own number.

“It’s your day, it’s your baby, it’s your birth”

Being comfortable and relaxed and feeling loved, supported and safe are vital elements for a smooth birth so this is not just about doing things your own way for the sake of it.

You will never get to experience this birth again and you will remember it forever.

To wrap up
This episode not only has great tips for when you are deciding who will support your birth but is also a great example of what this podcast is all about.

Matthew and Sarah do not try to sway you into home birth or suggest that these are the roles you should have as part of your support team.

They are simply sharing their experience and hoping that there might be something in there that will be useful for you.

I’d love to hear how you decided who to have present at your birth.

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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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