Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Own List - Why I Prefer Homebirth

Here is my own list:

Why I Prefer Homebirth:

* Disclaimer: Homebirth is not for every woman, every couple, every baby, or every birth. Additional, there are some great OB's and not-so-great midwives out there. Therefore, this should not be taken as a condemnation of either hospital birth or obstetricians. Enough said!

(1) Current U.S. hospital Cesarean Rate: 31.8%; average homebirth midwife cesarean rate: ~3-5%. You pick.

(2) There are no such things as stirrups in homebirths.

(3) I can eat and drink at will, and indeed will be encouraged to do so.

(4) Birth is sacred - the most sacred moment of a woman's life. The sacred happens more successfully and meaningfully in an intimate setting.

(5) There are no limits on the number of people attending my birth. Many hospitals limit attendees to ~3 people; considering that my current birth team is around 8 people, that would be a problem!

(6) Doulas are encouraged, not grumbled over.

(7) I could never have had a natural birth (which I greatly desired) if medication had been easily available. Removing the temptation made focusing on the task a lot easier.

(8) One word: WATERBIRTH (which is not allowed at most U.S. hospitals)

(9) There are no time limits set on my labor.

(10) My midwife is always available by phone. Not her nurse, and not an answering system.

(11) My midwife will come over whenever I need her, day or night, stay for my entire labor and several hours afterwards. Most docs show up to catch and then take off.

(12) I know my entire birth team intimately - no nurses to get acquainted with and who change with every shift.

(13) Hour-long prenatals as opposed to 5-15 minute prenatals.

(14) A close, friendship relationship with my midwife as opposed to a clinical doctor-patient relationship with an OB

(15) Delayed cord clamping. Most OBs refuse to do this; most midwives don't do anything else.

(16) Respect for my decisions. If I choose to refuse vitamin K shot, antibiotic ointment, hep B vaccine, prenatal testing, etc., my midwife respects my decision rather than "requiring" it, lecturing me, or kicking me out of her practice for it.

(17) Immediate skin-to-skin bonding post-birth that is not interrupted.

(18) Most midwives do episiotomies only during true emergencies, meaning that they are almost never done.

(19) Midwives seem to practice more evidence-based medicine than most docs. Many hospital/obstetric practices are simply not supported by the evidence. For example, there is no proven benefit to routine IV insertion, constant electronic fetal monitoring, withholding of food during labor, early cord clamping, pitocin augmentation, routine induction of labor, prenatal ultrasound, vitamin K shot, etc. - and yet they are mandatory at many/most hospital births.

(20) I can birth in whatever position I choose! Hands and knees, squatting, hanging from a rope, in water, whatever!

(21) Microbiologically, homebirth is much safer - Babies and mothers are exposed to many more dangerous pathogenic bacteria in-hospital than in-home, and many more come home with hospital-borne infections.

(22) Safety: Homebirth for low-risk women has been proven again and again AND AGAIN to be as safe as hospital birth, and results in far fewer useless and/or harmful unnecessary interventions to mother and baby.

(23) Driving in active labor?? Ummm.... NO.

(24) Children can easily be present at the birth and be actively involved.

(25) My hubbie can catch the baby if he wants to.

(26) Birth is the most meaningful moment in a woman's life (for most women, I believe). It is more likely to be meaningful and empowering in a nonmedicated, intimate environment where the woman feels in control and respected.

(27) I'm more in control at home.

(28) I feel safer at home. Feeling safe = easier & less-complicated labor.

(29) I can have candles, music, low lights, etc. at home.

(30) I am more comfortable at home.

(31) I don't have to spend my labor fighting meaningless hospital protocols when I'm at home.

(32) If I end up with a cesarean, I will know that I really needed it (as opposed to the 15-20% of birthing women each year who end up with an unnecessary or iatrogenic cesarean).

(33) I have an intimate, friendship-based relationship with my midwife, meaning that I can totally trust her when she makes suggestions or says that an intervention is truly necessary.

(34) Home is where birth has happened for thousands of years.

(35) Birth is a natural process that needs to be respected and supervised, but not medicalised out of its very nature.

(36) Prenatal care given by midwives is completely comparable in quality to that given by obstetricians (and, I would add, usually much better due to the time that midwives take to answer questions and get to know their clients).

(37) At the hospital, I am a "patient." With my midwife, I am a "client." That makes all the difference.

(38) How many OB's do you know who ask their clients out for coffee and chat as part of their prenatal routine?

(39) It is easier to focus and relax at home.

(40) No one is going to wake me up at an ungodly hour to take my vitals.

(41) Hospital gowns are ugly, demeaning, and disempowering. Give me my own clothes, thanks!

(42) I can walk around completely naked, and no one minds or tries to get me into a gown.

(43) I can be as mobile as I want to, whenever I want to.

(44) I don't have to go through the torture of checking in, going through triage, and filling out paperwork while in active labor.

(45) Homebirth monitoring of labor is WAY superior! Instead of being on a monitor and being observed at the nurses' station, I have 2-4 caregivers who are with me every minute and are constantly observing, listening to baby's heartbeat, taking pulse/blood pressure when necessary, etc.

(46) I have the constant physical and moral support of my midwives.

(47) Midwives know a lot of great non-drug pain-relief options. Water, rebozos, counter pressure, massage, etc.

(48) Hospital gift bags/diaper bags just make me MAD - they are plastered with formula ads and filled with formula samples. What a great way to encourage breastfeeding.

(49) I won't be pressured to supplement with formula, which seems to have happened to just about every hospital-birthing friend of mine within memory.

(50) Midwives never use forceps or suction cups! (They're almost never needed in non-medicated births.)

(51) I will never be pressured to accept medication.

(52) Midwives don't have that annoying clinical detachment that almost every OB I've ever met unfortunately has. Don't know why, but it seems to be true.

(53) No IV. That's enough for me all by itself! (Needle-phobic people should not have hospital births, LOL!)

(54) Midwives specialize in birthing styles that produce intact perineums (i.e. no tearing). Yippee!!!

(55) Midwives don't use directed pushing (a.k.a. "purple pushing"). The mama pushes with her body's urges (unless she is confused and needs help, or there is a pressing reason to get baby out, such as dangerous decels or shoulder dystocia).

(56) Total strangers don't walk into the birth room unannounced! (Or worse yet, walk into the room and do a vaginal exam, LOL!)


I expect I'll add more later, but that's it for now!


  1. Those are all great reasons. Homebirth keeps sounding better and better!


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