To Consider Home Birth
Many people have the misconception that home
births are dangerous. The truth is home birth with a midwife
is often safer for women with low risk pregnancies than hospital
births. Modern certified nurse midwives have access to many
things including oxygen for you or for your baby. In the rare
case that an emergency arises whereby you do suddenly need to
go to a hospital, there is probably one in your community only
minutes away by ambulance. We hear frequently about outbreaks
of infections arising from a hospital visit, and more and more
such infections are of resistant strains of bacteria. The truth
is that hospitals are filled with very sick people and their
caregivers, from whom you may contract a dangerous infection
in spite of the best of efforts to isolate you from those. Your
home usually has far fewer, less virulent germs than any hospital
environment. There are also more medical interventions than
are necessary at the hospital such as too many pelvic examinations,
episiotomies, unnecessary C-sections, etc. C-sections are very
frequent in hospitals for a number of reasons and are done in
US hospitals much more frequently than in any other country
in the world due to a number of factors. C-section is the surgery
that is most often performed needlessly in the US. It is difficult
or impossible to tell whether yours is a necessary or unnecessary
one. This greatly adds to your out-of-pocket expense even if
you have insurance. Children born by C-section are more likely
to have breathing problems (March of Dimes). Like all surgeries,
it increases the risks of adverse effects, including death,
adds a risk of infection, and can interfere with the bonding
that normally occurs between mother and newborn. The C-section
rate is alarming. A long discussion of the issue as it exists
in New York State may be read in “Guide
to Avoiding Unnecessary Cesarean Sections in New York State”,
by Sidney Wolfe, MD, April 21, 2010 Public Citizen Health Research
Giving birth is a natural function, not an acute illness. You
are often treated like a sick patient at the hospital while
home birth is much more natural. You are free to do a lot more
things such as eating, drinking, and walking around. You get
to choose who is there with you – family, friends, or
neighbors. There are no externally-imposed visiting hours in
your home, before, during, or after the birth. Women's wishes
for patient modesty in hospital settings are disregarded more
often. Midwives are usually much more sensitive to women's wishes
for modesty than female gynecologists.
Midwives can continue to give care and other services after
the birth. Many nurse midwives can provide for well-baby care,
lactation consulting, and post-partum care, all tailored for
your life and lifestyle, and will help normalize your marriage
sooner. Some nurse midwives also provide other services to women
who are not pregnant such as gynecological exams, pap smears,
breast examinations, family planning, nutrition counseling,
and even annual physical examinations.
Reasons to have a home
birth unless you have a high risk pregnancy:
1.) You will reduce your chance
of having an episiotomy. Episiotomies increase the likelihood
of serious infection and lengthen your recovery time.
2.) You will reduce your chance
of having a C-Section. C-sections have a higher risk of death,
as well as a risk of infection, a longer and more difficult
time of healing, and the baby may have problems from exposure
to drugs used for anesthesia.
3.)You will be able to relax more,
making the birth process and delivery easier. A birth pool may
help relaxation, and you may have one in your home, whereas
it is unlikely to be able to use one in a hospital.
4.) Midwife will be more respectful
of your wishes.
5.) You and your baby will reduce
chances of getting an infection.
6.) You won't have to worry about
the possibility that medical students would be present.
7.) You won't have to worry about
the possibility that another man besides your husband would
be watching you at this intimate time and condition. It is your
home, and you dictate who is or is not there.
8.) You can decide what position
you are comfortable with for giving birth. Hospitals often demand
that you be in the lithotomy position – the classic position
of the woman lying on her back, feet in stirrups. The lithotomy
position leads to more women having episiotomies, more lacerations
or tears. It makes labor difficult because the baby is being
pushed uphill. Check out Medscape Article, “A
Comparison of Techniques for Decreasing Perineal Lacerations:
9.) You may use a birth pool if
10.) A nurse midwife will do far
fewer pelvic exams on you during the birth process, and none
will be done by students who you don't know for teaching purposes.
10.) You will be able to bond with
your baby much more quickly.
11) You will not be separated from your baby,
which will make the bonding process happen much more quickly,
easily, and naturally.
12) You will not have an IV (intravenous) line
unless absolutely necessary. In addition to being uncomfortable,
intravenous lines pose a risk for serious infection as well
as acting as a restraint on your movements during birth.
13) You won't be treated as a sick patient, but rather as a
woman who has just undergone one of life's transitions, and
one who needs her rest, and support of family and friends.
14.) You don't have to adapt to
a new environment.
Ministry of Midwifery