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Laboring at Home

If you're having a home birth, your midwife will have talked to you in advance about how to contact her once you're in labor. Since she will be traveling to you, bear in mind local traffic conditions. If the streets might be busy, it's worth phoning her in early labor. She may ask you to phone again when your contractions are closer together.

While waiting for the midwife, you may want to move around, or relax in a warm bath. If you've purchased or rented a birthing pool, ensure that this is ready to use. Ask your partner to lay down old sheets or plastic sheeting over the floor. Eating small, nourishing snacks and drinking water will provide energy for the hours ahead.

Home births are not for everyone. They're only an option for you if you're having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy, and you may need to be transferred to a hospital before delivery if complications arise. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposes home births because of the potential for complications, even in low-risk pregnancies, as does the American Medical Association. Only 6 out of every 1,000 U.S. births are home births.

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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