You can read these home birth recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics and think something changed. And then it hit me what changed: home birth is on the rise. Essentially doctors who do not perform home births are trying to get us to fear birthing at home. If you are wondering why, I believe it comes down to money. Birthing at home takes us out of the hospital -- that means less money for them. So they put forward a grand statement to make people scared.
Remember, there are studies that show home birth to be as safe if not safer than a hospital birth. The AAP contends a hospital is the safest. Midwives aren't vagrant birth junkies living on the street. They are skilled medical professionals who come with all you may need in case of an emergency and a clear plan in the event a hospital visit is needed. The AAP statement elicits fear.
I can't help but think of the pushed c-sections. Convincing women they need Pitocin or Cervidil. The tense and sometimes impersonal atmosphere that just stresses women out causing them to have a difficult birth experience. All at a hospital.
I'm not hosptial averse. I am averse to pressure or scare tactics disguised as sweet little memos. Like this statement:
The AAP concurs with the recent statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that the safest setting for a child’s birth is a hospital or birthing center, but recognizes that women and their families may desire a home birth for a variety of reasons.
Is it the safest setting? For every birth? Is there a one-size fits all when it comes to safety? No. A home birth is often better for low risk pregnancies. And of course parents should choose their midwife wisely and with research. Many home birthers have a midwife and a doula present. But then AAP admit how home births increased, and go on to essentially state the obvious, what every skilled midwife and doula knows. That "every newborn infant deserves health care that adheres to AAP standards" which almost feels like a knock to the standards of midwives.
Instead of causing unnecessary fear, hospitals should join forces with midwives. Doctors should look to home birth for inspiration and to fix what is wrong with hospital birth -- this way all of our choices on where to birth are really best choices.
What do you think of the AAP's statement? Would you or did you have a home birth?
Image via Nico Nelson/Flickr