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Reasons 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 Group.

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: Discussion”.

9.) You may use a birth pool if you choose.

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.

Resources:

The Ministry of Midwifery

 

 
     
   
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