Stay in the comfort zone
When British teacher Claire Nazer gave birth to her first child, Mila, a few years ago, she wanted to put off her hospital stay for as long as possible, and enlisted midwife Hulda Thorey's help to cope with a dash to Matilda International Hospital.
Her water broke at 7.15am at home, they arrived at the hospital an hour later and her daughter emerged soon afterwards. 'We almost gave birth in the car,' she says.
Although they cut it fine, Nazer reckons her prolonged stay at home made the delivery a more comfortable experience.
'I knew there would be lots of interruptions at the hospital. Even though I had a written statement that said I didn't want any medication, the first thing the midwife at the hospital asked was would I like to have an epidural. She asked me when I was pushing the baby out. I was trying to concentrate, and she asked what drugs I wanted when I just wanted to be left alone. In the end, no medicine was used. But that was just because I had stayed at home for so long.'
To avoid unnecessary medical intervention, Nazer delivered her second daughter, Lucinda, at home in Tuen Mun last year (with Thorey's help).
But women worried about the risks of home birth can adopt Nazer's earlier approach of staying at home until the cervix is sufficiently dilated.
'I very much encourage this,' Thorey says.
Her main duties in such instances involve monitoring the condition of mother and baby, and calming the expectant woman.
'I massage the mum and do acupuncture to relax her,' she says. 'Things are much easier if you are comfortable.'