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ultrasound of human fetus at 34 weeks exactly

Your baby today

A close-up of the baby's face clearly showing the lip shape and slightly separated eyelids. The slight shadowing seen to the left of the image is from the wall of the uterus, which at this stage of the pregnancy will always be very close to your baby.

If you've made the decision to have a home birth, you'll need to ensure you're fully prepared in good time.

Women had their babies at home for generations; it was only in the 20th century that women began to have hospital births. If you're considering a home birth, remember that the majority of pregnancies and deliveries are normal and do not need any medical intervention.

Be reassured that if you have decided to have a home birth and then change your mind, for example if you decide you want an epidural, or your midwife advises you that the baby needs help, you will be transferred to a hospital.

Ask A... Doctor

What additional things do I need to think about if I'm having a home birth?

Have all the items you need for labor and birth gathered in the place you intend to deliver, and organize your items separately from the baby's items.

As well as practical items, such as clothing, toiletries, and sanitary pads, you may also want to have on hand music, phone numbers, and a camera. It's a good idea to have a well-stocked fridge so make a list of nutritious foods to stock up on before your due date. This will help you during labor and in the first week of parenthood. Your baby will need diapers, cotton cloths, onesies, clothing, sheets, and blankets.

If you have other children, you may need to make arrangements for them to be taken care of.

Even though you're planning to have your baby at home, there are circumstances in which you may need to be transferred to a hospital. This can happen before, during, or after labor and so, even though you may not want to contemplate this outcome, have an emergency bag packed just in case.

Pregnancy woman laughing with doctor

Your relationship with your midwife is even more important if you're giving birth at home as she will be your sole medical support.

Time To Think About

Group B strep test

Ten to 30 percent of pregnant women carry the strep B bacteria in the vagina or rectal area. Known as GBS (group B streptococcus), it is usually harmless in adults, but can cause a rare and serious infection in newborn babies if untreated.

  • Many women are now routinely screened for GBS, at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy. If the result is positive, antibiotic treatment can be given during labor that will reduce the risk of the baby becoming infected. Some hospitals don't screen but if the bacteria is detected in a urine test or a swab is taken for another reason and is positive, antibiotic treatment may given in labor.
  • The test is very straightforward and involves taking a swab of the area around your vagina and rectum with results usually within 24-48 hours.
  • If GBS is detected, and treatment given as soon as labor starts, there is little risk to the baby.
  • It is possible to be infected with GBS in a second pregnancy, even if you didn't have it first time around.

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
Buy this book now!

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