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I Was On A ‘Love High’: Rica Shares The Pains And Joys Of Her Home Birth Journey
  • For decades, we have associated giving birth with pain, so much so that the idea of unmedicated birth seems unthinkable.

    However, more and more women are taking this route, and coming out of the experience braver and empowered.

    Even celebrity moms have chosen to forego epidural and embrace the pain.

    Among them are Iya Villania, Kylie Padilla, Coleen Garcia, Jennica Garcia, Max Collins, and, of course, Smart Parenting’s very own celebrity Editor-At-Large, Rica Peralejo

    In the Episode 5 of her vlog, Poprica, Rica shares with the viewers the reasons that has led her to choose unmedicated birth, specifically home birth. She walked them through the process that it entailed and, ultimately, shared how the cathartic experience has changed her.

    How Rica came to choose home birth

    In 2019, Rica delivered her and husband Joseph Bonifacio’s second son, Manu, at home with the help of a home birth team that was with them from labor to delivery.

    "I think that the most overlooked factor in giving birth is that …it is a collaboration between mother and child"

    In the vlog, she toured her followers in the same room where she delivered Manu, showing them the exact spot where her second born decided to come out. 

    “I just pushed and pushed and pushed here and he just came out,” she recalls.

    One of the reasons she wanted home birth was for her eldest, Philip, to be part of the beautiful experience.

    “I wanted him to see his brother come into this world kasi ang tagal tagal na niyang hinintay so I wanted to do it with him, I wanted it to be that special,” she shares.


    READ ALSO: 'Motherhood Is Bittersweet': Rica Peralejo Offers Uplifting Message To Moms Doubting Their Worth, Capabilities

    Before Manu, Rica had two previous miscarriages.

    Rica reveals that even when she was pregnant with Philip, she already contemplated having an all-natural birth. While she prepared herself by researching, reading books, and watching videos about it, what she lacked at that time was a team knowledgeable enough to assist her all throughout her birthing journey.

     “Let’s face that fact na di po lahat ay open sa ganitong klaseng panganganak”

    A home birth team usually includes a doula or birth coach and a midwife. While she had her first child via caesarian, she was determined to deliver her second by home birth. 

    Choosing to go the all-natural, unmedicated route is a process according to Rica. The first step is to have an appreciation of its benefits and the rest will follow.

    “I think that the most overlooked factor in giving birth is that …it is a collaboration between mother and child,” she says. She cites how even if she was prepared for water birth by having a ready pool installed in the room, Manu still decided to come out on ‘land’ pointing to a spot near the bed.  “Dyan niya gusto bumaba,” she shares. 

    Giving birth according to your body’s design

    She says that unmedicated birth allows you to bring your child to the world according to the design of your body. “The way your body works to release the hormones is already a great way to welcome your child,” says Rica.

    “It’s a natural high, and I wanted to experience that, too.”

    The hormones released during unmedicated birth are collectively referred to as ‘ecstatic hormones’, according to Dr. Sarah Buckley, author of the book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering.

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    They are composed of the four critical hormone systems — oxytocin, beta-endorphins, epinephrine/norepinephrine and prolactin and “act to enhance ease, pleasure, and safety for mother and baby in labor and birth, and give mothers and newborns an optimal start to breastfeeding and bonding.”

    Rica says that she was encouraged to go for home birth because those who have gone through it were very positive about their experience. Thanks to the hormones that are released during the process, it feels like new moms are on a ‘love high’, she explains. “It’s a natural high, and I wanted to experience that, too.” 

    Preparing body, mind, heart, and soul 

    For moms out there who are contemplating on unmedicated birth, Rica gives the following advice that has guided her on her home birthing journey.

    It wasn’t an easy decision for her but it was the alignment of her body, mind, heart, and soul that made everything possible. 

    1. Take precautions.

    In any birth, whether caesarian or natural, there's always a possibility that something could go wrong, thus the importance of consulting with a healthcare provider before making any birthing options, say Rica. “When you choose your doctor or your midwife, magpa-assess ka na agad kung ikaw ba ay may complications.” Whether unmedicated or hospital delivery, it is still important to have regular check-ups throughout the pregnancy. 

    2. Be ready for the unexpected.

    Rica points out that just because one chooses to have unmedicated birth, it doesn’t necessarily follow that things will go according to plan.


    “If there is danger [during labor or delivery], of course, we will surrender and turn to a medical professional para sagipin tayo kapag di talaga kaya ng bodies natin naturally,” she explains. What’s important is the family and the whole team is ready for any possible emergencies during homebirth delivery. 

    3. Preparation is key.

    Rica says before choosing home birth, she made sure that she was prepared mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

    • Body. Midwives and doctors will tell you that you need to exercise. You are actually required to move to prepare your body for the strength needed during birth.
    • Mind. “Alam natin na kahit gaano tayo kalakas pero pag pinasukan na tayo ng fear o ng doubt, it really affects our performance,” Rica stresses. She adds that this is the reason why the mind is something that every mom should prepare or train for during that whole nine-month period. To do this, one must do thorough research about the process so she can have the mindset that homebirth  “is possible even if it is difficult.”
    • Heart. It is important for you to surround herself with the people that makes you feel safe and loved during home birth. Keeping the decision about your birth option to a select few is also alright.  “Let’s face that fact na di po lahat ay open sa ganitong klaseng panganganak,” says Rica. She adds that it is important to choose your birth team well. “Napakalaking bagay ng success ko dahil meron akong team na nakapag extend ng feeling of safety, support, and love especially when it was getting to be very, very challenging.”
    • Soul. Coming from two miscarriages, Rica says the fear of losing a baby a third time has always been there, so she had only one resort to calm her soul and that is her spirituality. “Sa simula’t simula palang nakakapit na talaga ako sa word ni God,” she says. 

    Looking back at her home birth journey, Rica reflects that it was unlike anything she’s experienced before and she’s glad she took the leap. “Even if mahirap siya (home birth), I would do it over and over again,” she says.

    Watch the full episode 5 of Poprica here:

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