Home Birth–I Don’t Get It

Enlighten me: what is with the home birth movement? I don’t get it.

With my own baby coming out in about 6 weeks, I started to think about the whole birthing thing again. Then a friend sent me this article and I just kind of started to get annoyed with the homebirth thing, and got on a roll…err, maybe I should say rant. I’m sure many people will be offended by my thoughts. But again, I’m just trying to understand: why would anyone want to do this?

I mean, home birth seems incredibly risky to do and even selfish on part of the mom. Why would you put your baby (and yourself) in harm’s way all so that you can have this “experience”? And what is this “experience?” The ambiance of giving birth in a four-poster bed? In your home? Your bed is for sleeping, sex, and relaxation. Not birth. Ambiance is reserved for romantic restaurants, rustic cabins with fireplaces, a bottle of wine, and intimate conversation. But creating an “ambiance” for birthing a baby out of your vag? Complete with poop, goo, screaming, and unheard of pain? Not to mention the mess that looks like a murder scene in your house? Seriously, explain to me: what is the point?

If you want to do it natural, meaning no drugs, (which I can understand a little more) we have beautiful birthing centers throughout this country along with some of the best medical care there is. Why would you NOT want that? Birth is 24-48 hours of your life…and can be life-threatening. Even the best-equipped midwives can’t possibly bring all of the sophisticated monitoring equipment to your home that doctors have at their disposal in the hospital. And what’s so bad about a hospital bed and doctors and nurses at your beck and call anyway? For the next 18 years you are going to be at your child’s beck and call. Take the 2-3 days and enjoy it.

When I was pregnant with Fia, I went to yoga classes constantly. For 9 months I heard the women, the doulas, you name it, talk about how all the drugs you take during labor get into the babies system (even though there is no medical proof—and it has been studied), makes them groggy, and often makes unable to latch on. And that having a C-section can prevent mother-baby bonding.

My birth story started with the idea of trying to hack it natural…then it all went to hell. Not only did I have an epidural, but I also had barbiturates for my C-section, Percocet for my pain, and an incredibly trying emotional and physical toll felt in every bone of my body. Fia came out alert and latched on instantly. And from the moment I saw her, we were deeply and indescribably connected. As relieved as I was, I felt a little “had” by the natural birth community. Nothing they said would happen did. But what did happen is I had a healthy, happy baby. If it weren’t for the excellent doctors (who did all they could to try and give me a vaginal birth) I could have ended up with a dead baby.

I also want to point out that if I hadn’t had the epidural and been able to sleep/relax, I wouldn’t have had the strength to push for those 2 hours. Even though Fia never dropped or rotated, at least I had it in me to give it my best shot.

But let’s step away from those facts and look at the facts of third world births. According to Unicef, a woman in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth, compared to a 1 in 4,000 risk in a developed country. The site goes on to explain that most of these deaths and disabilities are preventable, being mainly due to “insufficient care during pregnancy and delivery.”

Okay, so if you take care of yourself and are low-risk, then maybe home birth isn’t as dangerous. However, they state “…About 15 percent of pregnancies and childbirths need emergency obstetric care because of complications that are difficult to predict.” This is the part that scares me most. Like I said in my birth story, no one predicted Fia wouldn’t rotate into the birth canal. She simply didn’t and got stuck above my pelvic bone. If you’re with a doctor, nurse, or midwife at a birthing center, you at least have supervision and immediate access to proper equipment and supplies. That includes lifesaving drugs, antibiotics and transfusions–and the ability to perform C-sections and other surgical interventions.

This site has stats from the CDC, which state: “Homebirth increases the risk of neonatal death to double or triple the neonatal death rate at hospital birth.”

Like many of you, I watched the Ricki Lake movie, The Business of Being Born. I’ll admit, I thought the birthing methods of earlier generations, where mothers were drugged out, seemed barbaric. I would never think that way would be beneficial to anyone. How do you push when you’re unconscious? Other than that though, the movie really irked me. Even her producer ended up in the hospital—and thank god—or she could have had a tragic outcome.

I know doctors make mistakes. I know neonatal care can be improved. Hospitals are petri dishes. And far from perfect. But none of that outweighs the risks of a homebirth. In my, ahem, humble opinion.

If you must experience natural childbirth, for god’s sakes…and your baby’s…do it in a hospital—or a birthing center connected to one.  I’d like to start the anti-home birth movement today.  Call it BYOB IH– Birth Your Own Baby In Hospital!

Moms, Dads, Doula’s, Midwives, Doctors: What do you think?

 

Sketch of Mom and Baby via Shutterstock.com

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  1. by Staci S

    On December 13, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I have three children and had hospital births all three and glad I did. A hospital is sanatized and ready to attend to my child if needed. My last birth (I had a midwife for all three) was my toughest. My first two were perfect, exept for the longevity. Nothing led us to believe the third would be bad. Well, I pushed for 2 hours (not common in a third pregnancy) and I ended up with blood in my urine because of it. I had to go for a c section immediately! Afterwards I was “out of commision” for a few days to recover. Did that affect me bonding with my child? No way!!!! He is now 8 months old and we love spending every minute together. His smiles make me smile and visa versa! To think that if I would have been home during this, waiting for an ambulance and the time it takes to get to the hospital, one could put their life and their childs life in danger. I could not imagine!!

  2. by Ashley G

    On December 13, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I recently gave birth to my first child. I am a young mother (23) and had absolutely no complications during my pregnancy. I was in labor for 15 hours, wanted to have a natural birth but opted for the epidural when then pain became breathtaking. My son had already passed his first bowel movement inside the womb. When he finally was born they had NICU nurses rush in to suction his nose and mouth to prevent breathing that in and developing a lifethreatening infection. Not to mention I internally tore from pushing and needed serious medical attention. I was bleeding out on the table for an hour with many failed attempts to suture me closed. I lost a lot of blood and if it wasn’t for the team of doctors and nurses I could not say that we would both be here today. Why have a baby at home? Why risk the life of your child and your own? NOT WORTH IT!!!!!!!

  3. by Grace S

    On December 13, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Right on, sister! I too, had a very similar story to your’s, Jill – twice!!! I think all the time. ‘what would have happened if I was at home trying to give birth?’ While, I do not like hospitals (who does really?)and it was the last place I wanted to be bringing my child in to this world, it was the right place to be. No one forced any drugs on me that I didn’t want – they kept asking, but I declined until it was absolutely necessary. I ended up with a C-section, twice, and both times each child and I bonded as if he came out the way mother nature intended them to come out. groggy, yes, but what baby isn’t after they have been fighting for a day or two to get out of your body??? Actually, they seemed more awake then I was!!! Home birth? Not worth the risk.

  4. by Sarah Ditch

    On December 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Jill- thanks for writing this! I share a lot of your thoughts on the issue. When I was pregnant, several people I barely knew came up to me and said “are you having your baby naturally?” Totally none of their business! I just don’t get why it’s such a big deal. I felt like our childbirthing class was extremely biased towards no epidural yet you know statistically >95% of the women in the class we’re going to get one. You summed up the main point perfectly – it’s all about bringing a healthy baby into the world, however that happens.

  5. by Cassandra

    On December 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Most of the people I know who wanted a home birth are rich yuppie-hippies. Meanwhile, there are poor people all over the world (and in the U.S.) who WISH they could have a hospital birth. About 80% of the people I know who wanted a home birth ended up going to the hospital at the last minute because of some complication or another. Like you said: go for a natural birth, if you want… BUT DO IT IN A HOSPITAL! That way, if there’s a problem, someone can help you or your baby!

  6. by Julie

    On December 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    A homebirth with a Midwife is just as safe, if not safer (as long as Mama is low risk) as any hospital birth. You don’t expose your child to all the germs in a hospital. You are more comfortable because you are in your own environment. There are so many wonderful reasons to have a home birth. You are in control, not all the nurses and doctors.
    And just a thought, but you might not have had to push for 2 hours if you hadn’t had the epidural.
    And is the point of your article about home births in North America or Africa? And did you do your research on assisted or unassisted home births? Or did you just google a few random facts?
    Also, lots of births don’t have all the gore that you are refer too. And you don’t consider birth an “experience”??? That is a shame. You must have really missed the boat during your labour and delivery.

  7. by Candice

    On December 14, 2011 at 1:15 am

    Julie, I’m so glad to see your post. I am in shock after reading your ignorant article. I have a 5 month old boy, delivered by midwife in hospital. I had a 10 hour labour, half hour of pushing and no drugs. I am seriously considering a home birth for my next child. I am more at ease and more comfortable at home. I have everything I need here and I am relaxed. EVERYONE performs better when they are relaxed and comfortable. I find the idea of my pregnancy starting and ending in my bed beautiful. However, if someone disagrees with me, that’s fine. If they are more comfortable in hospital, then I encourage them to deliver there. However, a BYOB-IH is so ridiculous, ignorant, and insulting.

  8. by Ashley

    On December 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    I don’t have the time or energy to pick apart this article, though I’d like to. Suffice it to say that having had two homebirths, I find that most people who make comments similar to the ones made here just don’t know much about homebirth and what kind of care homebirth midwives offer. Birth for a low risk woman is neither better nor worse at home than in a hospital–it’s just different. And there are different risks associated with each setting. It’s a matter of assessing risks and benefits and deciding which risks you can live with and which benefits are most important to you.

  9. by Amanda Jovel

    On December 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    You are very lucky your daughter latched on quickly and you felt a bond with her right away. LUCKY really is the word. I had a c-section with my son and didn’t see him for 3 hours after the surgery. When he came out I barely got a glance at his hand before they whisked him away. The nurses never left me alone, constantly touching me and telling me what to do. They didn’t let me eat or drink anything. I hated the hospital gown and I hated having to do something so private in front of complete strangers. I hate that my OBGYN saw me for all of 2 minutes at our appointments. I didn’t sleep the whole 4 days I was at the hospital. They constantly came in to ask me a million questions and to tell me what to do with MY baby. Nuh uh! Nope! never again! next time it will be in my home with my husband and midwife and that’s it! mid wives have been around a lot longer than western medicine. i would trust one so much more than a doctor. birth is a beautiful experience and it indeed is an experience. my son never fully latched on correctly or even wanted the breast. i do blame the c-section for that. my c-section i believe was necessary but if i had been at home my mid wife would have been able to assess the situation and we would have headed to the hospital. hospitals are trained for emergencies and sickness. having a baby is neither, but in there they treat it like one. immediately lying you on your back and injecting all sorts of things into your blood stream. hurring you and your baby up if you are inconveniencing their time and space. i don’t believe you have done the proper research my friend. if you had you would know that more babies die in hospital than at home. or that pitocin is a killer, and leads to more c-sections. just to name a couple of things. with that being said if you do all the research and still think you like the hospital better than that’s great! it is your decisions and you should be able to do what you want. but to say that you want to go against home births for those that want to experience that is truly sad. no one is telling you what to do so why should we do what you in your “humble” opinion want? just my humble opinion. i really hope you grow and are not so quick to judge next time. hope you and fia are doing wonderfully and much love

  10. by Sarah

    On December 14, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    This article is so ignorant and offensive that it is not even really worth a response. If the author was less interested in defending her own disappointing birth experience and cared even a little about presenting the facts regarding American birth options than it might be worth some intelligent dialogue. Have fun with your new little movement, Jill. I could care less.

  11. by Serenyd

    On December 14, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    I’m sorry your natural birth didn’t work out. If it had, you might feel differently. I don’t think home-birthing is selfish – I felt I protected my baby from unnecessary interventions, uncomfortable standard hospital protocol and nasty germs in the hospital environment and gave them a gentle entrance into the world and wonderful bonding experience in the safety and comfort of home. It can be very upsetting when a birth doesn’t go as planned, something home-birthers/natural birthers are not immune to. It’s good to talk it out and and write about it like you did here. But I don’t think it’s nice to slam the home-birthing/natural birth movement because it didn’t work out for you. It’s fine if you don’t want to have a natural birth but you shouldn’t go around name-calling and belittling others for their choices. You do what you want with your body and I’ll do what I want with mine. Truce?

  12. by Allie

    On December 14, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Before you make assumptions, make sure you have facts to back them up. A recent study shows home birth to be just as safe, of not safer (due to less interventions ie. continuous monitoring, induction, drugs, unneccesarry vaginal checks) than a hospital birth for a normal low risk pregnancy. Midwives are trained to know when a pregnancy turns high risk and will then transfer care to an OB at which point a home birth is no longer an option. Women who opt for home birth are very well informed and have done their homework. To call a woman selfish because she wants the best possible birth and environment to welcome her baby, is ignorant.

    I hope your birth experience is wonderful and your faith is restored in how wonderful a natural birth is.

  13. by Chris

    On December 14, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    The idea is behind the “ambiance” is that you are able to tap into your instinctual right-brain, which is the side of the brain that activates labor. The idea behind homebirth is that it’s as safe if not safer for low-risk mothers. Of course some end in transfers to the hospital and some end in cesarean (around 2%). But just walking through the door of a hospital to give birth ups your risk of cesarean birth to over 30%. Skilled midwives and doulas can help rotate babies and maneuver under the pelvic bone with physical manipulations.

    This is not to discount anyone’s birth experience. I just cringe at the “heck yea”s promoting the safety of medicalized birth when there is another way, that is completely normal and safe. You’re right, birth centers are a wonderful option. What’s the difference between birth center birth and homebirth, again?

    I wasn’t seeking out an “experience.” I was seeking a labor the way nature intended with a team of experienced support who believed in birth in the same way. “Murder scene”? “Unheard of pain”? Those weren’t part of my births. I’m not sure where those comments come from. Please be careful what you spread in our culture. Some newly pregnant moms might believe you.

    Take fear out of birth. Birth center and homebirths have access to immediate medical care, and allow mothers to labor without interference. Sometimes the very act of being in the hospital can interfere with labor hormones and stall an otherwise healthy labor. Know what you’re getting into ahead of time. Be tolerant of other’s birth journeys. Deep understanding comes from deep listening.

  14. by Rai

    On December 14, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I am also a young mother (had my son at 22) and had him at home. 20 hour labor and pushed him out in fifteen. Nothing went wrong and nothing was going to go wrong because I was very prepared, educated, and well cared for by midwives during my pregnancy. I had everything checked out by another doctor so to ease my mother’s worries. Her opinion changed after she saw my birthing experience. I chose to do this because I was more afraid of risks in the hospital like staph infection and being bullied into putting a long needle into my spine that could leave me paralyzed if I caught the anesthesiologist on a bad day.

    I also do not appreciate being called selfish as I do not judge your choice on how you birthed your child. You also say someone asking you if you were going to do birth naturally was none of their business. Whatever I do in my home (and bed) is also none of your business. I am an advocate for home birth but do not insult other mothers if they do not chose the birthing process I did. I think you need to do more research before what seems like pointing the “bad mother” finger.

    Here’s where you might like a part of my message. If I were to have another child, I actually might have the baby in a birthing center not because I had a bad experience at home or that I would feel less risky at a hospital. I would chose a birthing center because I am going to use them for a bigger tub. Mine was just not big enough for these legs.

  15. by Dr. Nancy

    On December 14, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    This is the most poorly researched “rant” I have ever read on the cons of home birth. Like one person wrote before me – it is like you googled some random “facts” on birth outside of a hospital and used them. I can’t even comment on how ridiculous comparing African/third world birth stats to north american or european stats. Yes, I can – it is ridiculous – almost like trying to say we have similar water treatment facilities. As for the one stat from the CDC – if you had REALLY researched the Wax study you will know it is greatly flawed. They used a computerized statical analysis that the company of the program itself said it had flaws in it and they should re-do the numbers – which of course they didn’t. Wax also didn’t include the 2 most largest and significant home birth studies in his analysis. Why? Big surprise – because they actually say home birth is slightly safer than a hospital birth with all other factors being equal. That is just 2 things wrong with the Wax study but I digress to address the ambiance remark. Again, ridiculous. I’m sorry you have such a skewed view of home birth and birth in general that you think we birth at home for the ambiance. We don’t birth at home so we can be comfortable in the sense that you are thinking. There is nothing “comfortable” about birth. And by the way, it is really not messy. I had nothing to clean after my home birth….nor will I have anything to clean up in 8 weeks after my next home birth! Good luck with your “movement”. I hope someday you will have same feeling after a birth that you had when you reached the top of Mt Kilimanjaro – then may you have a glimpse of what home birth is really about.

  16. by Lily

    On December 14, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I’m glad you at least know you’re being offense. They say the first step to solving any problem is admitting you have one. I have given birth twice. Once was a hospital birth and it was a “natural” one, meaning no drugs. It is doable and the pain is not “unheard of”. However, due to my child being away from me so much (because that’s just standard in a hospital environment) breastfeeding was extremely difficult and we ultimately failed at it. It was not a horrible experience but not one I care to repeat. My 2nd was a home birth, no drugs, and my team of midwives in attendance. It was by far the best experience ever. Did it hurt? Yes, labor hurts. However, my child was born into this world in a warm and loving environment. Not surrounded by strange people and we were able to immediately breastfeed. In fact, other than to wipe him off, cut the cord, and put on a diaper he was never more than 5 feet away from me the entire time. It was so much more peaceful for both of us. I am not selfish for doing this. I’m really sorry you can’t be more supportive of other women’s birth choices. It’s such a personal thing and you just managed to rip an entire section of birthing mothers to shreds. I hope you reflect on why you feel this way about home birth. Perhaps the sense of an “uncontrolled” situation frightens you. Whatever the case please remember that it takes all types to make the world go round and a little tolerance for the choices of others goes a long way.

  17. by Julie

    On December 14, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    So glad to see other Mamas on here supporting homebirth! I was a little scared when I read people in favour of this blog post.
    I really like what you wrote Chris about taking the fear out of birthing.
    I can’t actually believe that this is on the Parents.com website. Nothing written was factual. I understand it’s your blog and opinion, but come on!

  18. by LauraS

    On December 14, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    How about…to each their own! By trying to ban or outlaw Home Birth’s, you are taking away a woman’s right to choose. You did it in a hospital, congratulations. Others have done it at home and produced healthy babies as well…GREAT! But don’t take away someone’s CHOICE.

    That’s no better than the crap the government is trying to pull lately.

    THAT and your facts are extremely under researched. You made homebirth sound like the most dangerous thing EVER. Wow…however did women have babies without doctors and hospitals back in the old days.

    I had my son in a hospital, because my pregnancy was one complication after another. I still would have had him in a birthing center if I’d had a choice, only because of pre-existing medical conditions. But if I was a healthy woman with a healthy pregnancy, then yes, I would have opted for a home birth with a medically certified Midwife. [YES! They exist! Neato huh?!]

    To each their own. Don’t try to ban someone’s right to choose.

  19. by Jamie

    On December 14, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I’m a doula and I’m saddened by the ignorance of this article. Basically, this is what generated in my head…if I had to condense this article, it would say:

    I am a pregnant woman. I am not sick and there is nothing wrong with me. I don’t understand why women want to be calm during labor. Childbirth is not an experience, it’s like going to the grocery store. I’m in labor and I’m going to run to the first hospital I see, let a stranger put me on my back, sign these papers without reading them, and let them pump me full of drugs just so I don’t feel an ounce of pain. I’m going to make this other total stranger put a large needle in my back and pump me full of drugs there too, at the risk of being paralyzed (I never checked his credentials) because again, I don’t want to feel pain. I want no control over my body, so I hereby hand all my rights over to these strangers called doctors and nurses. Because they should make these kinds of decisions for me. I’m going to push this baby out all doped up, strapped on my back, with no will or rights of my own, because my baby could just die!

    There is my extreme opinion. Sorry, but I’m loaded with hormones right now!

  20. by Lucia

    On December 14, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Wow this was very offensive.

  21. by Jody Sternhagen

    On December 14, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    I chose home birth because it is safer than hospital birth for a normal pregnancy. By safer I mean that statistically mom and baby morbidity rates are the same but home birth carries far less risk of interventions that occur in a hospital that lead to other interventions, which all carry their own risks and side effects. To say that a mother who chooses home birth is selfish for putting her baby at risk in favor of her experience is not only completely unfounded by evidence but also highly offensive. Look up the statistics. As I said, home birth is as safe as a hospital birth for normal pregnancies. Your portrait of birth in general is very negative “Complete with poop, goo, screaming, and unheard of pain? Not to mention the mess that looks like a murder scene in your house?” I didn’t scream, I moaned and it wasn’t because I was in pain, it was because it helped me cope with each contraction. Also what mess? It was nothing some chux pads and a couple of cheap shower curtains couldn’t handle. “If you want to do it natural, meaning no drugs, (which I can understand a little more) we have beautiful birthing centers throughout this country along with some of the best medical care there is.” Many women consider a natural birth to mean more than simply no drugs. Natural birth is generally no drugs and no unnecessary intervention (i.v. fluids, manual breaking of water, hooked up to fetal monitoring device, forceps, vacuum). And how are you concluding that we have “some of the best medical care there is”. Compared to WHO?!?! The U.S. infant mortality rate is higher than those in most other developed countries, and the gap between the U.S. infant mortality rate and the rates for the countries with the lowest infant mortality appears to be widening. Also what is this unheard of pain you mention? I never experienced pain during my 12 hour labor. It was extremely hard work, and the sensations were intense, but never painful. I don’t understand why so many women in American culture choose to view child birth so negatively. You state that you agree that the former method of twilight sleep seems barbaric to you and question, “how can you push when your unconscious” and to that I ask “how do you push when an epidural has greatly reduced your ability to push or completely taken away your ability to push?”

  22. by Jody Sternhagen

    On December 14, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Just about the only true thing you wrote was this blogs title…….you REALLY don’t get home birth!

  23. by Daniela

    On December 14, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I have a 18 month old daughter. I chose to go with a doctor and a hospital my first time around because I felt it gave me peace of mind knowing that if, god forbid, anything went wrong, I was already at the hospital. I had a great birthing experience at the hospital. My nurses were very attentive when I needed them to be and left us in private when we wanted to be. No one tried to force any drugs or interventions and all my requests were granted. That being said, when the time comes for my next birth experience, I would choose a home-birth with a midwife. I am currently working towards my doula certification and now better understand the wonderful gifts that being in your own home, essentially in your own comfort zone, can add to a birth experience.

    Your rant, while not only being extremely unfactual, is extremely judgemental and over-critical. The whole point of the womens movement was so that women could make choices, whatever choices they may be, freely and without ridicule. Shame on your for writing such a outrageous article without doing REAL homework. And shame on Parents.com for allowing you to post this thing.

  24. by Daniela

    On December 14, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    And comment about only rich-yuppies wanting homebirth is laughable! Maybe if the American health-care system wasn’t such a pile of garbage, people would realize that not only is it statistically safer to have a home-birth, it’s CHEAPER!

  25. by Satania

    On December 15, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Being that almost ALL women birth in hospital, simply because it’s “the done thing”, or they don’t know their options, means you don’t need to start your pathetic movement, because it’s alredy a reality. Only us few, educated, empowered, natural mama’s WANT to birth at home, anyway.

  26. by Janice

    On December 15, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Where you give birth is a personal choice! I am lucky, where I live the doctors and nurses at the hospital were great! My daughter was a planned C-section because she was breech and very stuck (tried to turn with no luck). Yet, I held her the moment I was in recovery (about 40 min. after birth) and was encouraged to nurse her. She roomed in with me and my only issue was that the regular nurses were really crappy at helping with BFing – the lactation consultant was great!
    With my second I knew I wanted a VBAC. My drs were supportive. I feared a stalled labor so I wanted to go as long with out drugs as possible. The nurses never encouraged drugs they instead told me how great I was doing with out them. I was forced to be on constant fetal monitoring because I was a VBAC but that didnt stop me from using a birthing ball and walking around my room. I wanted to be checked for dialation frequently but was told no because it increases infection risk. At 7cm I couldnt deal and asked for the epidural. But my contractions began coming so fast that it couldnt be placed. The anestesiologist (sp?)knew not to keep trying. I had gone from 7 to 10cm in 15 min. My sons heart rate dropped and thankfully he was out in two pushes with the help of foreceps. Otherwise he may not be here today. Again my son roomed in and BF was established easily. I’m glad I delivered in the hospital but I know that for many in our country hospitals are not as accomodating and make life hell for birthing moms. So I dont think any woman should be pressured either way but if your pregnant, do your homework, be informed, and that will make the difference!

  27. by Andrea T.

    On December 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I think it is the mother’s choice as to where to birth her child. I for one chose a hospital and thought the “experience” both times was wonderful. I had/have a fabulous OBGYN and our local hospital nurses are equally amazing. I also didn’t think (nor wanted to try) to do it au natural, so the hospital was the obvious choice for me. And I won’t have been able to relax knowing there would be “birth stuff” all over my couch, floor and/or bed. That would not have made me relaxed, in fact it probably would have had the opposite effect. Again though, I do think this is the mothers choice and by no means should be banned. To each their own I guess. But I am pro hospital. :)

  28. by Kris

    On December 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    As a mother of four and all four delivered in a hospital setting with an epidural each time….even I am a bit stunned by this post. Seriously?

    In my opinion, it’s not really your place to “get it” or even understand it. It is your right, as a delivering mother, to choose what is best for you and your child. You are certainly entitled to your opinion on the subject but to state that you would like to start an anti birth home movement is a seriously ignorant statement. And why so rude with your opinion? A mother who chooses home birth is not stupid nor a bad person/mother! And that is exactly how you come across with your thoughts on this subject. If anyone is ignorant here it would be you by writing such a poorly researched post on a subject such as this. And to some of the other posters….rich yuppie-hippies? Wow!

    Like the words spoken in your bold and overly proud “about the author”…just as many people cannot say that they’ve visited Casablanca or climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, many more cannot say they’ve braved the experience of child birth at home. This including you Jill. The way you feel about your achievements is exactly how these mothers feel about theirs. Except their experience would be far more rewarding than riding a camel through the Safari.

  29. by Libby

    On December 17, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I don’t get it either. If I am going to PAY for a midwife and dula, I figure, I might as well go to a hospital and get a doctor and nurse. I also want pain relief. I had back labor and my contractions started at 1 minute a part and stayed at 1 minute apart thru my whole active labor. Without the epidural, the pain was unbearable. If I had to do it all over again, I’d still go to the hospital. Hospitals now have birthing rooms. I gave birth in my room.

    Another nice thing about not giving birth at home…I didn’t have to worry about the house not being clean!!

  30. by Kristen

    On December 18, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    I’m sorry but this article is a piece of CRAP! If you have a homebirth with a certified midwife and you are low risk, there are very few issues that could occur, not to mention, if your midwife is as certified as she says she is then she knows when to say when and transfer you to the hospital! I can understand how some people would want to have a natural birth in a hospital in case something goes wrong, but really? putting the ones of us down because we want to have a all natural birthing experience in our homes where we feel comfortable? AND PLEASE, we don’t care about the well being of our child?!? Why do you think we are having homebirths to begin with?! Because we don’t want to deliver our babies in a germ, intervention, money driven hospital! YOu have a limitied amount of time to deliver in a hospital so that they can get you in and out, you could be having a totally normal pregnancy and they decided that you are ‘laboring too long’ so they induce you or C-section you! Really, is that the way you want to remember your deliver? I delivered my 1st daughter in a hospital and I have no good experiences with it! I am now about to deliver my 2nd baby and I AM PROUD TO SAY I AM HOME-BIRTHING!!

    Also, not sure who posted it, but we are not rich yuppie hippies! I am far from rich and if hippie means that I want a wonderfully safe deliver for my baby then yes, i’m a hippie. I just have no words for this article, if you were to actually do some hard research, you would see how safe it actually is! Technology and hospitals have made you believe that birthing at home, like women have done for centuries, is not safe!

  31. by Kristen

    On December 18, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I also wanted to add about all the posting of the mess that comes with homebirth: There is not really a mess at all, the midwife and her assistants take care of everything! They clean up after the delivery, and if you are birthing in the tub/pool then the mess is already taken care of! I think that I am done paying money for PARENTS magazine if the Authors are as under-researched as this one.

  32. by Jeanie

    On December 20, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I do not think you have done enough in=depth research. Homebirths are safer and require less interventions. Hospitals cause more than half of the interventions anyways. High risk should be wary and I do believe most home birth midwives either do not accept high risk mothers or keep them on close watch. Yes things do happen, but starting an anti-home birth movement is ridiculous…or even the mention of it.

    Everyone is entitled to opinions, but just because you “feel” its unsafe doesn’t mean it is.

    Yes there are issues that arise because of pitocin and c-sections…but obviously don’t happen in 100% of cases…BUT why risk it? Also ambiance and the comforts of home relax mother…therefore allowing a more easy birth without the introduction of adrenaline, which replaces oxytocin that surges through naturally in you and baby to work synergistically. Stress complicates birth, period. Some women feel that being hooked up to constant monitoring with a needle stuck in their arm is awful. To me, it is. If it’s not needed, why inflict it upon something that isn’t broken? The hospital scene is disgusting in MY opinion. But fact remains that they PUSH interventions on your if you might have a long birth. And for the record, my best friend just had a 36 hr long home birth. She was exhausted, yes…but did she NEED an intervention? No. If she were in a hospital they’d wheeled her to surgery so fast it would make your head spin. She gave birth successfully and without complications. The only thing that happened is she had a few internal tears. NO hospital will keep a bed/room open for 31 hours.

    I myself gave birth without the presence of my husband and IN THE WATER *gasp* with my midwife, of course. Mine was only 16 hrs long. My baby was 8.5 lbs and 21.5 inches long.

    It IS proven that home births are safer for low-risk pregnancies and if you have given birth at home then you know what I’m talking about. I’ve never met or heard of a woman who regrets a home birth…and that is including mothers who’ve had a hospital birth previously. No woman I know has ever elected to have a hospital birth after a home birth.

    If you’ve never done it, don’t knock it. Some mothers who’ve elected to have drugs/hospital birth feel threatened or inferior and would never admit it. Some truly believe that being in a hospital is better and that’s just them…nothing wrong with it. If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of birthing at home and feel safer IN a hospital. That is fine.

    BUT it angers me to think that those who’ve never done it knock it so badly and ridicule those like me and others like me who choose to do it that way.

    I can’t wait to get pregnant again so I can have another home birth :)

  33. by Jeanie

    On December 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    And also I might add that I as well am NOT rich. Or a hippie, but if cloth diapering, breast feeding, and having a home birth is what defines a hippie, then whatever…call me a hippie.

  34. by KeekersB

    On December 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    What an ignorant bitch. I am not even going to waste my time righting an actual response. PS: I think your selfish for wanting pain relief for yourself at the expense of your baby.

  35. by Meagan

    On December 23, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Wow! What ignorance. I had a hospital birth, which was intended to be natural. Unfortunately, my water broke before I went into labor. We delayed going to the hospital for a while, because I knew we were on the clock at that point. (and FYI, any half decent midwife will set a time limit for PROM mothers too, but most know that labor will probably start soon enough) So, with my water broken, knowing I was under pressure to get labor going, I was already at two strikes against my natural, much less risky, birth. The third strike was an over zealous nurse who kept belittling my desire to hold off on an epidural, even while in agony from the pitocin induced contractions. (I was able to hold out to a little past an 8, but was starting to push with contractions and was tearing my cervix. At that point, my future childbearing ability was the crux of the issue.) My insane contractions were causing me to only shallow breathe (which in any endurance exercise is extremely detrimental) which was putting my baby at risk. Once I got my epidural, everything pretty much stopped. It took another 2.5 hours to progress the final 1.5cm, and even once I hit 10, it was another 3 hours before I was allowed to push. I also ended up having an episiotomy, plus internal tearing. My daughter was taken away from me for over 2 hours. You are so blessed to have not had bonding issues, but I struggled with it for the first 8 months of her life.

    My pregnancy was picture perfect. If I had been at home, or even a birth center, I would have been given a day to start laboring on my own, with people who know natural ways to get the oxitocyn flowing (did you know that was possible? Probably not) and would never have felt the pressure to get things going. Which would probably have helped a lot. I ask you, which experience would be better for a mother and baby?

    With my next pregnancy, I’m running as far from the hospital as I possibly can.

  36. by Shay

    On December 23, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    I was shocked and awed by this article. How dare you? You obviously did absolutely no research and your article is both biased and just wrong. For instance let me compare four birth stories for you. 1 is my own, and 3 are my friends’ stories. Friend A and Friend C both had homebirths. Friend A had two homebirths actually for both of her sons. Friend C had a homebirth at least for her 3rd son, though I think she may have had them for her first two children also. Friend A and Friend C btoh had larger than normal babies, with Friend C’s baby weighing in at over 10 lbs. All three of those births went blissfully, not much pain, and were wonderful for both Mom’s and their babies.
    Conversely my son was a planned c-section. I use that term loosely because up until the day before he was born I was planning on a water birth at the hospital, all natural, no drugs. However when my last ultrasound came back saying he would weigh over 9 lbs, even with a midwife I was convinced by the doctors and midwife that there was no way i could deliver safely without a c-section.. and for the good of my baby I should have a planned c-section. The recovery was so hard, I was basically gutted, my scar runs from hip to hip. They drugged me on everything under the sun. I don’t even remember my sons first few hours in this world. My last story is another wonderful tale of hospital horror. My last friend we will call her friend S, was due to be induced on her due date. The nurses and doctors pumped her full of pitocen, and forced her into rushed contractions but prolonged her labor for 3 days straight. They messed up her IV and it began to fill her body with fluid. She ended up with an emergency c-section and none of that would have happened had she been able to deliver on her own. For good messure here is another tale not a hospital birth or a home birth. A few days ago another friend of mine gave birth in her car on the way to the hospital. She delivered her own baby. She did fine, it was an easy birth and she said it was the highlight of her daughters birth story because when they got to the hospital the doctors messed up everything.
    I have seen a lot of homebirths, hospital births, and everything in between. I can honestly say that more women tell me horror stories about hospital births then not. I have yet to here of one bad homebirth story. Perhaps before making such wild assumptions.. learn a little first.

  37. by Erica

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    ignorant. What i dont get is how you think it is appropriate to post your irrational, uninformed, rant criticizing other women. Women need to start supporting each other even when choosing different things for their children. We are all doing what we have decided is best. Respect other peoples decisions by really trying to understand their point of view.

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