Is My Home Too Small for a Home Birth?

If you’ve had similar thoughts then perhaps this post will help answer the question and put your mind at ease.

“That one is gone forever, she said.” I opened my eyes, one more contraction down, and was transported back to my kitchen with Genevieve and my home birth team.

When Genevieve arrived that afternoon I was in the back bathroom, but through varying degrees of contractions had made my way from my bedroom to the living room and then to the kitchen. I’d managed to cover most of the footprint of my modest 1,200 sq. ft home before reaching 6 centimeters.

One of the many questions I had asked Genevieve during my check-ins was “is my home too small for a home birth?” I was worried that the bed took up much of the real estate in our bedroom, that we would not be able to fit a birthing tub in our common space, and that there wouldn’t be room to stretch out once two midwives, an apprentice, a doula and my husband were huddled around me.

A quick search on the Internet shows that many women have the same fears and are at a loss for answers. What constitutes a house “big enough” for a home birth? Said simply…any place you call home. There's no place too small to labor in, and midwives are completely comfortable and prepared to assist in the tiniest spots.

Women have given birth in small condos and apartments, and we have all heard stories of babies being delivered in cars. Last year Genevieve and Sisters Midwifery had a mama who delivered in her RV, so it’s easy to see you don’t need much room at all.

Although I had originally worried that my home might be too small, once I was in labor, the square footage made no difference to me at all. My pint-sized bathroom had room enough for three, and furniture I thought would be in the way was subtly and strategically moved around. After I delivered my son, everything was put back in place and my home seemed tidier than before.

It’s hard to know what you’ll do during labor or how you will react so it’s important to feel free in your space.

Women who choose home birth often prefer the comfort of being in familiar surroundings. They feel more confident and relaxed when they are able to control their birthing environment: the lighting, the temperature, the noise, their bed and their bathroom.

We look for the coziest places to labor in. So, that becomes the more important question over size. Do you feel like your home offers you the capacity to feel secure and stress-free during labor and delivery? If your answer is yes, then that is what matters.

By Stephanie Bazan
Stephanie is a mama, and freelance writer and graphic designer from Austin, Texas. She enjoys adventures with her husband, 1-year-old son, and shepherd pound puppy.