Emergency Home Birth: 4 Things You Should Know

mother and newborn babyMost women just have to chuckle at the dramatic labor moments on TV shows and in the movies, when the mom-to-be who is just going about her life suddenly feels the symptoms of imminent labor, and either must rush to the hospital or deliver her baby right where she is. For most of us, this will never happen. Only 1% of pregnancies will ever end in a sudden, intense urge to push with no previous labor symptoms, resulting in an emergency home birth.

Still, it does happen and it’s a good idea to be prepared.

Only 1% of pregnancies will end in a sudden, intense urge to push with no previous labor symptoms.

If your labor comes on suddenly at home and you do not feel you can make it to the hospital, call 911. If you are alone, don’t try to drive yourself to the hospital, even if it’s near your home.

After informing the dispatcher of what is going on, make sure your door is unlocked so the medical team can enter.

If you are alone, call your partner or a nearby friend, neighbor, or relative. Call your doctor or midwife as well; they can talk you through the process until help arrives.

Grab towels, sheets, or blankets. Place one under you, and keep the rest nearby so you can dry off the baby right after delivery. Try your best to postpone pushing; use your breathing techniques, pant, or lie down on your side.

Do not stand! Your baby could fall and injure himself.

If you cannot postpone the delivery, try to stay calm and remember that most babies who come quickly are delivered with relative ease. If you must deliver before the medical team arrives, follow these guidelines:

  1. Feel for the umbilical cord. If it is wrapped around the baby’s neck, carefully and slowly ease it over the head or try to loosen it so the entire body can fit through the loop. Once the baby is out, do not tie off or cut the cord, but leave it attached. Then stay where you are until the placenta is delivered.
  2. Dry your baby immediately, and then rest her against your skin to keep her warm. Place a dry blanket or towel around both of you.
  3. Ease out any amniotic fluid or mucus by softly running your fingers down the sides of your baby's nose. And if your baby does not cry spontaneously, try to stimulate him by rubbing your hand up and down his back.
  4. Try to nurse your baby, but only if you can do so without stretching the umbilical cord tight. It should remain slack. Nursing will comfort your baby, strengthen your bond, and also prompt your body to produce the contraction-inducing hormone oxytocin. Contractions of the uterus will help control bleeding. If your baby will not nurse, stimulate your nipples. You can also massage your uterus after delivering the placenta by rubbing the area below your belly button.

Note: EverydayFamily.com offers general information and is for educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical, psychiatric, or psychological advice. Nothing on this website should be taken to imply an endorsement of EverydayFamily.com or its partners by any person quoted or mentioned.  In an emergency, always call 911.


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Emergency Home Birth: 4 Things You Should Know

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  1. Grace says:

    Glad to read this, due any day now have 3 babies and each one cut their siblings time in half, so with this one I worry will I make it in time? ( last labor was 1 hour 50 minutes start of pain to finish

  2. Samantha says:

    I am terrified to go into labor and have the baby at home but this does make me feel a little better.

  3. Cheyenne says:

    I went into labor at home with my second daughter. Woke up to go pee and had an intense pain. Walked to the laundry room to grab a few things because I knew it was time. Felt a contraction, went back to the restroom because that was the closest place to sit, had another contraction, screamed for my hubby, he came in and left to get dressed so he could get me to the car… I felt a sudden urge to push, tried to stand and couldn’t, felt down there and felt the babies head crowning, hubby came back in and asked if I was ready to go… I told him we aren’t going to make it (hospital is an hour away) and he would have to catch her lol About a minute or less later she was here! All 9lbs of her 🙂 Scariest night of my life! But everything turned out great 🙂 I wish I would have had this to read a little over two years ago but I am due with my third daughter in late January so hopefully I wont need this but its great to have just in case 🙂

  4. Brenda says:

    This is very helpful information for in case we cant make it To the hospital and how de can keep our babys save while giving birth at home.

  5. Caitlin says:

    This is full of great information. Makes me feel more at ease.

  6. Christine says:

    Wow this article was so informative. I learned a lot. Thanks! Let’s hope most of us will not need to do this though.

  7. gfeld says:

    I don’t think this will happen to me unless stuck in a blizzard with no way to get to hospital on time. My labors are usually long.

  8. Diana says:

    I hope this does not happen to me especially because it is my first child..

  9. Diana says:

    Hope I don’t have to true this situation, but just in case I will make sure my hubby read this article…

  10. Anya says:

    I’m scared of something like this happening to me since its my first pregnancy. I always worry about how do I know if its time to go to the hospital. I would hate to have this happen to me.

  11. MrsPearson says:

    I hope i make it,its time for baby to come an i just stop having contractions which the doctors know they said the baby is fine we just waiting but i dont want to go into labor at home ….

  12. nichole says:

    glad to know its only 1 percent of babys that come this way. sence the news often reports them when they do happen, its easy to get a wrong idea of how often it happens. good info tho. hope if i ever have to deal with this i can keep it all in mind. ide imagine ide panic or something.

  13. i really hope this doesnt happen and that i make it to the hospital on time.


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