Saturday, May 8, 2010

"I don't agree with home birth"

I've encountered several statements similar to this one over the last week:

"While I do not agree with home birth..."

A few things come to mind when I hear this statement.

1) How can you "disagree" that home birth was right for me or anyone else?  Do you know my medical history?  Do you know my midwives' level of experience and the quality of their outcomes?  Do you know your own care provider's?  How many home birth studies have you examined? ....

Check out the rest of this post over at my new website!

20 comments:

Sarah said...

Well said. I am one of those people who cannot have a home birth. The risks are too high with a history of blood clots, preeclamsia and premature labor, rupture of membranes and birth. That's just a few of the reasons it is not right for ME. If someone were to tell me that I should have a home birth I would be defensive too. My 31 weeker would not have survived if we had not been at the hospital.

I think you are right though. It's all about the circumstances. I support those who want to home birth and think it is a great option in low risk situations. I think more low risk people should look into it! I think it is so ingrained in our society that we need to do what the doctors say and that birth is a medical thing. It's a natural process though!
I admire and even envy people who are able to and have had home births.

Cherylyn said...

Thank you for this excellent post! I agree with you on everything you've said. My first two babies were born in the hospital and I was induced and totally medicated with an epidural. The next two were in the hospital with no medication and a doula for support. The 5th one was a planned home birth, surprise breech. I am constantly amazed at the growth I've been able to experience, and the things that I now embrace that I couldn't even fathom 10 years ago, or even 2 years ago. I think the important thing it to be open to inspiration and intuition (as you pointed out) and do what is best in the situation. When I was planning my home birth, the peace and inspiration I felt trumped anything anyone else (including doctors) could say to try to change my mind. Ultimately I was guided in how to move forward and was blessed immensely for it. I know if I had been in the hospital with my breech baby I would have ended up with a c-section, and I am SO thankful that instead I had a beautiful, peaceful, powerful, and spiritual birth experience at home. Thank you again for this post :)

Cherylyn said...

I want to respond briefly to Sarah's comment. Home birth midwives won't attempt to support a premature birth at home. My midwife's cutoff is 36 weeks, which is the earliest gestation she'll support a woman in birthing at home. If the mother has preterm labor and the baby is coming earlier than 36 weeks, she has them go to the hospital. It definitely comes down to each individual situation.

Jen said...

Music to my ears.

Kaitlin Rose said...

Thanks for this well written article.

I gave birth at home to my daughter last February, 2009 and would absolutely give birth at home again. It was an incredible, challenging, moving and life-changing experience.

However, had I given birth in a hospital, I am absolutely certain my labor would have ended in a c-section. It was the skill and experience of my midwife who kept that from happening through observation and guided coaching.

I've just posted it on the fan page on Facebook for my site, Bring Birth Home.

Thanks again!

Sarah said...

Cherlyn- I know they won't and that's part of the reason why I couldn't have a home birth, I had no choice in the matter.

Jen said...

Busca- Thank you for the wonderful post. The stigmas and myths surrounding home births are too large for us in support to ignore. The ignorance of the 'modern' world of medicine, it's patients, and the media is really so sad. Your post hit the nail on the head. I've shared it to my facebook page because I've got friends on both sides of the spectrum regarding home birth.

We've birthed both of our children at home and are currently pregnant with number three, who so long as everything is healthy, will also be born at home.

Thank you again

Guggie Daly said...

Kaitlin, same here! I know if it hadn't been for an underground midwife showing DH how to reposition DD I absolutely would have had a c-section.

Heck, even before getting to the malposition issue I would have had a c-section b/c my labor was so long. The doctors, having lost the true art and knowledge of birthing, would have just thought my body didn't work or something was terribly wrong and sent me to the surgeon. It never would have crossed their minds to try tilting her head or helping me into a new position to get her past my pubic bone.


What a DOCTOR would have considered a serious an unresolvable situation, the midwife simply treated as a normal bump in the road. And my DH literally had a hand in birthing our daughter safely and peacefully at home.

<3

Nan said...

Can I get the citation for the 1998 article? I actually did not have a home birth - although I had a wonderfully mid wife assisted hospital birth. Definitely respect the value and of course everyone's individual choice. Nicely written post.

Heatherlady said...

Thanks for this post. That phrase "I don't agree with home birth" drives me nuts and I think about three or four people used it on the converstaion on my blog and I wanted to say "Please EXPLAIN why?" I think you hit it right on the nose... what they really are saying is that home birth feels scary to them or that they don't understand the risks.

Have you ever read Freakonomics? I can't remember who it is by but the whole book challenges commonly held belifs and disproving them with statics. Like parents who won't let their kids go to someone's house who has a gun but will let them go to their house if they have a swimming pool. The risk of your child dying from drowning at a home swimming pool is MUCH MUCH MUCH higher than it ever would be from a gun accident at a friends house. Yet we PERCIEVE the risk of the gun to be greater than the swimming pool and act accordingly. I keep thinking it would be such an incredible thing for someone to do a risk analysis on home birth vs. hospital births-- which is REALLY more riskier? It would be interesting to find out.

Martha said...

It's not really about "homebirth" though is it? I simply support women's human rights and that includes the right to autonomy and bodily integrity. Thus I support women who choose to move outside of the poor outcomes and control of hospitals and birth in a way that simply supports the normal physiology of birth in an arena in which they have the most chance of being respected.

Tain't really that radical to support human rights, I would have thought. Apparently in a patriarchy though, it is. ;-)

Janet in Australia

Joyous_trouble said...

Guggie Daly how I wish my midwife had been as knowledgeable as yours, then my home birth would have ended at home as planned, rather than with a c-section. I'll try again though, with a different midwife, one with more experience.

Buscando la Luz said...

Nan- Here's the citation:

Olatunbosun O, Edouard L, Pierson R "British physician's attitudes to evidence based obstetric practice" Br. Med J 316:365, 1998

Kim Wheaton said...

Thank you so much! I'm leaning towards a homebirth for our next baby, and am dreading the negative questions and disapproving glares from well-meaning friends and relatives... Your post gives me reassurance and confidence! Thanks!

www.kimwheatondoula.blogspot.com

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Maegan said...

Personally, I think this is nitpicking a little. If I say, "Raw oysters are gross." This is my firm belief. I don't have to touch it, smell it, or taste it to KNOW that they are GROSS. But there are people who like raw oysters. There are also people who should not eat raw oysters, and people who like oysters, but prefer that they are cooked first.

Disliking raw oysters doesn't mean I am afraid of them. It doesn't mean I am uninformed about their health benefits. It means I will not eat them...and I am grossed out by those who eat them.

Telling someone their feelings about a particular event is invalid...is kind of telling them they have to feel the way you feel about it. And it's not going to happen. My mother had 3 home births. I will in all likelihood have my next child at home. But I fully understand why there are people who do not think it's a good idea and I think they are allowed to have that feeling. Picking apart their verbiage seems over the top. Now...challenging someone with false ideas about homebirth...that is a different story.

Anonymous said...

Meagan, How can you "nitpick" someone who doesn't understand something when all they say is "its not right, or I don't agree with it?" ANd comparing home birth to oysters...i could have come up with a better analogy. I understand what she is saying though. A lot of people are misinformed about the risks with a home birth, and the risks with a hospital birth. That is what she is trying to clarify.

Again, it is up to each person individually, as well as each circumstance...No two women have the same type of pregnancy...no woman has the same two pregnancies...each are different...and therefore each should be approached that way. Birthing ins't a one size fits all...thats what causes a lot of medical mishaps. We learn from them, and each learn our own thing.
Its getting the information properly out there for the people to see, instead of hiding behind myths and unproven theories. Once the information is out there where it can be viewed and digested by the public...the thought of homebirth may not seem so scary to a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

It tend to feel from home birth mothers that they feeling the following: All people who do not have their babies at home are uneducated on births, labor, babies, etc. Some people have super experiences within the confines of a hospital and have no regrets in that decision. Some even have the "sinful" and "awful" epidurals and are forever happy with that decision as they cuddle completely healthy babies. Home birth women, however, tend to always shun those women. They assume a base mentality with those mothers, that they are not as strong or equipped, simply because they chose a hospital.

Maegan said...

For Anonymous who responded to me:

How do you know these folks aren't educated on homebirth? Maybe they have been edicated & still choose to believe homebirth is not a good idea. Not something they agree with? I used oysters b/c it is an absurd characterization.

Elizabeth said...

I didn't read all the comments, so I don't know if someone already brought this up or not but I'll say it anyway: I really like this post especially because it hits home for me. I've had two children, both at home, and both had "complications" that would have "required" intervention in a hospital. My second baby would have been a mandatory C-section at my local hospital. However, my midwives and a natural birth class I took before the delivery prevented anything from going wrong; I didn't even tear. The bottom line is I don't think people very often think of all the complications the hospital and doctors cause, and of all the problems that come up with pregnancy and birth that are easily fixed through holistic means.

I think most people who have hospital births aren't educated at all about birth options at home or in the hospital and a statement like "I don't agree with home birth." is usually made out of ignorance.