If you are classified as high risk, you may have limited options about where you have your baby but even this can come with a degree of flexibility, depending on what the risks are.
Of course it depends why you are high risk – this can range from your age, your weight, how many babies you are carrying to medical conditions and concerns with you or your baby.
I have taught women who have needed to think through their options because there are more things to consider. It’s worth asking about what your options actually are.
I was high risk with my third baby because he had a severe heart defect and I had polyhydramnios, which is excessive amniotic fluid. This meant I chose not to give birth at home, despite having two previous homebirths. I knew a waterbirth wasn’t going to be an option because of continuous monitoring and my waters breaking but I used my birth ball and I gave birth standing up, leaning over the bed.
As a doula I have supported women who have been high risk and preparing well for labour has meant asking questions to know what to expect and what their options are.
Try not to assume anything – ask questions and have a discussion about what is expected to happen, what the limitations might be for you in labour and how much flexibility there is to be safe but also to be comfortable and able to work with your contractions.
It might be that something like the birthing pool can no longer be an option, it may be that you need to be induced, it might be that your baby needs to be continuously monitored – so know how to use your breathing to stay calm and to help your body to work efficiently in labour, know about using positions and gravity on and off the bed and knowing more about having a caesarean and be assertive so you can gather all the information you need and so you can say what you need.
Janine – antenatal teacher and doula