Wow! We've known for a while now that home births were shedding their hippie stigma and slowly entering the realm of acceptable childbirth choices, but the statistics show they're even more popular than we thought. Between 2004 and 2008, the number of home births in America increased by 20 percent.
This is huge news, ladies! For decades, mainstream medicine has handled childbirth with the same alarmist regulatory practices they use for procedures like open heart surgery. The thing is, said practices are appropriate in the case of a multiple bypass or, say, the removal of a brain tumor, but the only similarities childbirth has with major surgery are pain and the propensity for bleeding. Our bodies are built to deliver babies. Finally, women are taking childbirth back!
Disclaimer: Yes, I know that having a baby can be dangerous and hospitals are the best place for some high-risk women to give birth. Having said that, though, many home births are nearly as well-staffed as their more conventional counterparts, by exceptionally knowledgeable midwives with as much experience as the average OB/GYN.
I'm not saying one is better than the other -- in my opinion, it's a case-by-case thing -- but the fact that more and more moms-to-be are opting for home births is nothing short of an evolutionary leap for womankind. And to think, all it took was going back to what we did thousands of years ago!
Just in time, too, with c-section rates skyrocketing. Many pro-home birthers feel that the jump in c-sections is due to unnecessary medical interventions in the hospital setting, such as women being restricted to one or limited positions or being diagnosed with "failure to progress" (often one leads to the other, ironically).
Interestingly, the infant mortality rate for home births, 2 out of every 1,000 births, is about the same as that for hospital births. So wherever women choose to have their babies, the great news is that we're waking up to the fact that we have a choice at all!
Did you have a home birth?
Image via moppet65535/Flickr