The media’s reporting that The Duchess of Cambridge wants a home birth this time around. I’ve no idea whether this is actually the case or not, but it’s sounds quite probable given that she’s had (as far as we know) 2 straightforward births using hypnobirthing techniques already and this option is recommended by NICE and supported by evidence.
In this post I’m talking about birth and choices in a situation where the mum and baby are healthy and coping well… a situation that Kate has found herself in with her previous two births and which will obviously influence her decisions this time.
What I’d like to happen most of all is that Kate gets to birth her baby wherever she wants to – wherever she feels safest and not just where obstetricians or people in suits decide they will be most comfortable with.
It’ll come as no surprise though, that if she does birth her baby at home I’ll be doing a little celebratory dance!
Anyone who knows me will know that’s not because I think home birth is better than birth in a hospital, birth centre or via caesarean, but because I know for a fact that there’s a mistrust in our culture around normal birth that comes from fear and lack of understanding. The Duchess of Cambridge along with every other woman should be able to make an informed choice about where they have their babies that isn’t just based on fear.
We’ve all heard of ‘the Kate effect’ – it’s BIG! A survey published last year showed that she has a huge influence in driving women towards a fashion purchase – I have no doubt that if she decides to birth at home this ‘effect’ will sway opinion and considerations for women in this area too, in fact she has the power to influence generations.
We know that the Queen had 4 calm homebirths (ok, palacebirths 🙂 ) with a midwife she knew and trusted (Helen Rowe attended all her births) and that she also thanked an antenatal teacher, Betty Parsons (who also ‘taught’ Princess Diana) who talked about the main principles of Hypnobirthing … the effect of the subconscious mind on fear and anxiety, and the foundations of learning active relaxation, breathing and using visualisations.
When the hundreds of women I’ve supported give their reasons for their choice in place of birth, the ones (without medical reasons) who choose the hospital are almost always doing so because they are scared – they’re thinking ‘just in case something goes wrong’ and I get that, but it shows me that programmes like One Born Every Minute and the horror stories that they hear WAY more than positive birth stories are having more of an impact on them than actual evidence.
The issue here is that we tend to take on other people’s experiences as our own – we think ‘what if that happens to me?’ and so when highly regarded celebrities like Fearne Cotton and Davina McCall talk about their calm, positive, empowering birth experiences I do jump for joy a little bit because it gets people thinking.
I’m pretty certain that if The Duchess of Cambridge has her next baby at home, women will be thinking something along the lines of “Wow! She’s popping out actual heirs to the throne! If she was ‘allowed’ surely it must be a safe option! …. Perhaps I’ll look into it”