It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been involved in a good ole game of blog “tag”, and since I’m currently sorting out my thoughts on homebirth, here’s a question for all of you, and a “tag” for fellow bloggers Birth Matters, Birth Under Siege, Elemental Mom, Empowering Birth, The True Face of Birth, and VBAC Adventure.
Here are my questions:
- Have you considered homebirth as an option for labor and delivery with a previous/upcoming birth?
- Why did you (or did you not) consider homebirth?
- What do you see as the major advantages for homebirth, and what are your justifications?
- What do you see as the major obstacles for homebirth?
- Is your (was your) partner “on board”?
- If not, did discussions (and research on the part of your partner) help?
Here are my answers:
1. I never expected to consider homebirth for childbirth. Several of the women in my childbirth education classes were planning homebirths. I thought that was “cool”, but I didn’t think that was for me. Women are supposed to deliver at hospitals, right?! @@ It wasn’t until I joined the ICAN list in late July that I began to learn about homebirth as a safe environment for labor and delivery. By about mid-August I was intrigued. Since I’ve started reading Wagner’s Born In the USA, I have at least one foot (and most of my body) in the homebirth trench.
2. Homebirth was not really on my radar during my first pregnancy. I didn’t have any friends or family members who had worked with homebirth midwives. The concept of certified nurse midwives (CNM), midwives who are authorized to attend births in birthing centers and/or hospitals under the guidance of obstetricians was new to me. I had never heard of a doula before my childbirth ed classes. Now I am interviewing certified professional midwives and direct entry midwives (along with CNMs and OBs) for future pregnancies. I am beginning to see that it is very likely more safe (yeah, I’m not talking nuts here, I promise) birthing a child at home than at the hospital. (Have a look at some of my other recent posts for learn why my hospital is not a good location for VBAC.)
3. Advantages of homebirth:
> You’re in a comfortable environment - your domain, if you will
> You are in control of your environment (noise, people, lights, music, food, water)
> You are not being constantly monitored and checked
> You don’t wear machines and aren’t hooked up to IVs
> You’re not as “on the clock” as hospital-birthing moms are
> You’re not separated from your child or partner once the baby is delivered
> You control the timetable with regard to treatments and exams performed on your newborn
> You’re far away from the hospital and people who have been trained to intervene in the natural physiological process of childbirth
One study that always comes up in discussions of homebirth is “A Prospective Study of Planned Homebirths by Certified Professional Midwives in North America,” by K. Johnson and B. Daviss. British Medical Journal 330, no. 7505 (2005). Also see Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First, Chapter 6, by M. Wagner. Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press, 2006.
4. Disadvantages of homebirth:
> Not everyone finds home a place of comfort and solace.
> In case of emergency or in the event that vaginal birth is not achieved, you will have to transfer to the hospital.
> If something goes wrong (keep in mind that the chances of a true emergency in childbirth are quite slim), it may be hard to stay calm while waiting for transport and hospital service. I do recommend at least registering at the local hospital in case hospital transfer is necessary.
> Most people will treat you like you’re a nutcase (as if you care). You will likely meet resistance from well-meaning family members and friends.
5. & 6. My husband is not yet on board. I’m hoping he’ll get there. Last night I told him that I am interviewing CPMs and DEMs in addition to CNMs and OBs. He told me that he’s fully supportive of me going for the VBAC, but he’s not comfortable with the idea of homebirth. I told him that until he does his own research that the subject is closed for discussion. And that was that. Round 1 is over.