Q: What are the dangers of a home birth?
A: People tend to forget that giving birth is a very dangerous process and is a time in a woman’s life when things can go seriously wrong. Many years ago, the first thing a father asked of the delivering doctor after the birth was “How’s my wife… did she survive the birth?” Today, unless a woman has been cleared by her gynaecologist as being a low risk case for a home birth, I would strongly suggest that she examines her alternatives.
Q: What pain relief options are available if you plan to have a home birth?
A: Both pethidine and gas are available. However, it must be remembered that these can overly sedate the mother if not controlled effectively. When pethidine is used, the baby may have to be administered with a drug to counteract the effects of the pethidine.
Q: What tips can you provide on handling a birth that is unexpected, for example in a car?
A: The baby should be warmly wrapped or at the very least placed onto the mother’s stomach together with the cord. You should get to a hospital or doctor as soon as possible. This normally symbolises a perfectly uncomplicated birth and that medical intervention was not necessary. The more you see your gynaecologist during the first stage, the more problems you’re having!
(Dr Martin Puzey, registered gynaecologist)