What Hospitals Can Learn From Home Birth

home birthLet's talk about animal birth for a second. Animals give birth in the wild. They just birth. Why can't we? You don't see giraffes heading to the giraffe hospital asking for a giraffe epidural and having giraffe Pitocin. Humans are capable of birthing in the wild. If we wanted to. If we trusted ourselves more. If doctors trusted the process more. It's not that we are animals -- though sometimes we are just like them -- but can we agree that we are as capable as giraffes to give birth? I'd argue yes.

That "wild" place for humans would be at home. Home birth isn't some crazy experience reserved only for granola-eating hippies. It's for everyone simply because we can all birth at home -- without intervention -- provided there isn't some sort of extreme circumstance. There is proof. Doctors need to get on board.


The latest stats back this up. A study published in the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health revealed that there is no increased risk for mom or baby when choosing home birth. Home birth isn't a wild idea. It should be an option considered just like a hospital birth. And women who choose home birth aren't in uncharted territory. They are actually bringing the birth experience back where it belongs. Back where it started. In the wild. At home. Naturally. Still, there are experts who are divided about this. This is because of liability. There are no definites in birth. Things can happen. Just like anything can happen at any time. Doctors get nervous and may never say yes to home birth for perhaps two big reasons: the liability and the cost leaves their office, meaning they aren't making money and birth is a business and this hurts their business.

Beyond that issue, many who choose home birth have to justify their decision to those who feel they are putting their life in danger, the baby's life in danger. They are horrified by the thought. Birth? At home? How could it be? It could be. And it has been. And it's beautiful and allows women to truly trust their body to do what our bodies were made to do. Birth.

What happens far too often when we go to the hospital even when a woman wants a natural birth is that the nerves take over. Understandable. The nurses and doctors offer an epidural when the laboring mama is experiencing some discomfort. Contractions aren't easy, but we are strong. We can do it. We can breathe though. We are women! Born to birth. But in the moment, many times we say yes to the epidural. Then yes to Pitocin. Then labor stalls. More Pitocin. Then baby is in distress from all those drugs. Then ... you guessed it, c-section. Major surgery. A longer recovery. Unnecessary risk brought on by unnecessary drugs.

Having a doula, a midwife, a home birth decreases the chances of unnecessary interventions. Home birth is safe. Of course there are always circumstances -- times when a woman should go to the hospital. Still, more needs to be done to connect hospitals and midwives and home birth advocates. There needs to be more sharing of information. More helping each other learn from each other. This is how we make the birth statistics better in this country. Not by being divided. They all fall under the category of delivering babies -- why not have more conversation. Include even the part about giraffes.

Would you consider a home birth? Do you think OBGYNs and home birth midwives need to communicate more to help women have the best birthing experiences?


Image via eyeliam/Flickr

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