Even with a pandemic situation and people in Aotearoa moving into a minimum four week isolation period – babies will be born. Many parents, women & whānau are concerned about what birth in a time of crisis might look like.

Whilst hospital births are still an option for pregnant parents, it is important that we recognise home birth as a valid option during times of pandemic. As more pressure is placed on our hospital systems and whānau are encouraged to keep in isolation, home birth for many people is a pragmatic and healthy option. Already, births in hospital have strict limitations on who can be with the birthing parent to limit potential spread of Covid-19. Our critical medical staff are under pressure to keep services provided in a very challenging environment.

It is always important for birth parents to make decisions based on their own situation, health needs, family needs, and in discussion with their midwives or lead maternity carers. Home Birth Aotearoa want to give some reassurance, that for most women, home is a safe, evidence based, and comfortable place to give birth. All midwives in Aotearoa have the skills necessary to support birth in the home space if necessary, and this includes carrying vital safety equipment for situations where it might be needed.t is also worth taking into account the many benefits of birthing at home, outside of the reduced risk of virus transmission.

Reasons to consider birth at home:

  1. Limiting contacts, you can control who comes in and out of your house.
  2. Your whānau can be present, even in isolation – you family can be there.
  3. You don’t need to compete for resources, beds or support.
  4. You won’t be birthing in a place that treats serious ill or infectious people.
  5. If you need to transfer to hospital, your midwife can communicate ahead and ensure there is necessary support prepared for you.
  6. In a time of uncertainty you will be birthing in a familiar and comfortable place
  7. Your home has its own microbiome which is often safer than that of a hospital
  8. Your food will have been prepared in at home and handled by far fewer people
  9. You will be freeing up hospital resources for those who have more need, including yourself if you need to transfer in labour
  10. You don’t need to worry about leaving the house
  11. You can be confident that your midwife as a skilled birth worker, will be able to support you through the many variations of normal that birth can take.

 

Here are some links regarding the benefits of home birth:

http://homebirth.org.nz/why-home-birth/

https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/pregnancy-and-kids/services-and-support-during-pregnancy/where-give-birth

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399594/

https://www.midwife.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Jnl-50-art-2-Place-of-Birth.pdf

 

Support if you are looking into home birth or want to discuss your options:

https://www.facebook.com/homebirthaotearoa/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/homebirthaotearoa/

 

Links if you need to know more about Covid-19 and quarantine

https://www.midwife.org.nz/news/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-update-for-midwives-3-march-2020/

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-health-advice-general-public/covid-19-self-isolation

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-resources

https://covid19.govt.nz/

Birth isn’t something we suffer, but
something we actively do, and exalt in!

SHEILA KITZINGER

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