Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Move me to England... please...

Today I discovered some more old news that was news to me. And I discovered another reason why I wish I could move across the pond to England for all of my subsequent births. I discovered the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists/Royal College of Midwives Joint statement No.2 on homebirth from April 2007. These two groups of British maternity care providers came together (they cooperated!) and produced a statement outlining their joint positions about the safety of homebirths. Here’s the summary at the top of the document:

“The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) support home birth for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. There is no reason why home birth should not be offered to women at low risk of complications and it may confer considerable benefits for them and their families. There is ample evidence showing that labouring at home increases a woman’s likelihood of a birth that is both satisfying and safe, with implications for her health and that of her baby.”

How cool is that?! I’d be hard-pressed to find many obstetricians in the U.S. willing to sign their names to a document with those unequivocal statements in support of homebirth!

Here’s another crucial point I’d like to quote:

“Both the RCM and the RCOG believe that to achieve best practice within home birth services it is necessary that organisations’ systems and structures are built to fully support this service. These will include developing a shared philosophy, fostering a service culture of reciprocal valuing of all birth environments.”

How cool would it be if the organizations concerned about the wellbeing of homebirth babies and mothers would understand this concept. The more midwives and obstetricians and hospitals can coordinate and work together, the better off all mothers and babies will be. I wish there was a “culture of reciprocal valuing of all birth environments” here in the U.S. What a beautiful day it would be if a midwife transferring a patient to the hospital were seen as a competent professional doing what is best for her patient rather than being shoved aside and treated as a screw-up and evidence of “another failed homebirth.”

I’ve never given birth at home. I can’t say one way or another whether I ever will. But I never want to see a day when women don’t have homebirth as an option. I never want to see a day without midwives. How I wish our nation could wake up and recognize how vital and valuable these courageous women are! It brings me hope to see how the British maternity care system has managed to find a lovely balance. Doctors, midwives, and hospitals striving to work together peacefully and with their focus on the wellbeing (physical and emotional) of women and babies! It’s music to my ears!


Fig said...

I want to move to England too, but not just for homebirth.

Do you think it's because England has a universal healthcare system, which means super busy hospitals, and so encouraging women to give birth at home helps with hospital overcrowding?

Because that would be another plus for UHC, in my book. Maybe.

Lani said...

I think that definitely has a lot to do with it. Midwives are far more cost-effective for patients as well as insurance providers. And (uncomplicated) homebirths are even cheaper, so, yeah. The healthcare system is definitely one of the reasons midwives and homebirths are more common in the UK.