Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
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
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Must Read | Tags: birthing centers, Business of Being Born, c-section, childbirth, doctor, epidural, home birth, home birth movement, homebirth, homebirth movement, hospital, hospitals, labor, medicine, midwife, midwives, natural, natural childbirth, pregnancy, pregnant, Ricki Lake, ultrasound, ultrasounds