Home Birth, finding your team

birthing team

Are you pregnant or thinking about falling pregnant & wondering how you will find people to support you during your pregnancy and birth? For most western cultures there are primarily two choices for where to have your baby, in a hospital or at home. Whether you choose a hospital birth or a home birth, the people you have as your birth team play a big role in the outcome & journey of the birth.

If you feel drawn to have a home birth or simply want to explore the option further, but don’t know how to find appropriate care and support, there are some great people in this space to choose from (see list below). If you are thinking about a home birth, I would recommend looking for your birth team straight away.

Home birth midwives are extremely sought after in NSW and can book out months in advance. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been an increase in home births, so looking for a midwife as soon as you discover you’re pregnant is the best way to ensure you find the best person for you.

Home birth midwives can usually be anywhere between $5,000-$10,000 so be prepared for this expense. Some midwives offer payment plans which can help families spread out this large cost. If spending that much money isnt an option for you, there are some great midwife programs within hospitals covered under medicare. Alternatively some hospitals have birthing suites with the ability to have a water birth as well as being able to bring items to make the room your own (like essential oils, music etc). Again make sure you put your name on the list for these programs as soon as you can as they are again a highly sought after service.

I recently had my own home water birth with an amazing support team consisting of my home birth midwife Kira Waterford and doula Sarah Newling (found through She Births). I could not rave about them enough. They were so pivotal during my whole pregnancy and birth and they gave me the confidence and assurance that I was doing everything right and that my laboring journey was all normal. Women supporting women in this precious time as you pass over from maiden to mother is like no other & having strong women around you who you trust and admire makes the journey all that more special. I could not recommend these two highly enough or having both a doula and private midwife to take you through your pregnancy & birth.

I used the NSW midwives website as well as recommendations to find my beautiful midwife Kira, which I was very lucky to have found as I did not engage Kiras services until later in my pregnancy.

What is a home birth midwife?
“A homebirth midwife offers individualised care for the duration of your pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatal period (up to 6 weeks postpartum). All visits are carried out in the comfort of your own home and decisions about your care are made by YOU – with your midwife providing up-to-date and evidence-based information to assist you. Because of the highly personalised care we offer, homebirth midwives only take on a limited amount of clients per month. If you’re thinking about hiring a homebirth midwife for your maternity care, start your search as soon as possible as they book out very quickly!”

Written by Kira Waeterford midwife

I found my beautiful doula through She Births, who have a great service of placing you with the doula who they think you would most resonate with. I had zoom meetings with 3 of the doulas they thought I would most suit working with and after chatting to them all I felt instantly drawn to my doula Sarah.

What is a Doula?
“A doula is the mother’s constant companion for labour and birth. Different to a partner or friend, the doula has experience with birth and serves as a ‘knowledge bank’ for the unexpected. A doula can help a mother find positions that are most comfortable and effective for labouring, she protects her privacy and creates a positive birthing atmosphere, buffering influences which can interrupt the natural rhythm of labour.

Research shows doulas can help have shorter, easier, healthier births* plus:
50% reduction in cesareans
25% shorter labour time
60% reduction epidural requests
40% less syntocinon administered
30% reduction analgesia use
40% reduction forceps/assisted delivery
Improved breastfeeding rates
Decreased incidence of PND
Greater maternal satisfaction
Healthier mother-infant interaction
* Findings by Klaus & Kennell, MD

Sarah is a full spectrum doula, experienced in the birth and postpartum space. She supports families in and around the Lake Macquarie/Newcastle/Hunter region and attends births in all settings.

She works with mothers through pregnancy and offers conscious birth preparation with prenatal yoga. At birth, she offers in-person support because she believes it matters deeply how babies are born and how their mothers come to be.”

Written by Sarah Newling Doula

For more information & resources see the list below.

Resources for building your team and preparing for your birth;
NSW midwives; https://www.homebirthnsw.org.au/directoryhomebirthmidwives.html
She births doula service; https://shebirths.com/doula/
She births course; https://shebirths.com/weekend-birthing-classes/events/
Breastfeeding hotline; https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/breastfeeding-helpline
Placenta encapsulation; https://www.bebirth.com.au/placenta-services
Kira the midwife; www.kirawaetford.com.au
Sarah doula; www.yogimama.com.au

Author: Kate George

Kate is the General Manager of Health Space clinics group and has a Bachelors Degree in Complementary Medicine from Endeavour College of Natural Health.

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