Saturday, May 23, 2009

Orange County Register Article: "How Do You Want to Deliver?"

A nice article, on the whole! It's nice that homebirth is beginning to be widely included in "lists of birth options" and is often supported rather than condemned. (Not that ACOG is listening....)

I find it disappointing that the birth center mentioned allows laboring in water but not waterbirth. This seems to be the case almost nationwide. Of the very few hospitals we have here in the valley that even have labor pools (or allow portable ones), I do not know of any that allow waterbirth (one's best hope is to find sympathetic nurses who will allow an "oops!" waterbirth). Despite waterbirth's phenomenal results and high safety levels, it simply has not gone mainstream in hospitals. Perhaps this is because the women demanding waterbirth generally turn to homebirth, so the hospitals have not yet felt the pressure to allow and/or encourage it.

Here is the original link:

"How Do You Want to Deliver?"

And here is the article text:

How do you want to deliver?

Women need to do their homework on birthing options available today.

For The Orange County Register

"So, you're pregnant. Congratulations! Now comes the interesting part: How do you want to deliver?

"Denise Spatafora, a life coach in New York, has written "Better Birth, The Ultimate Guide to Childbirth from Home Births to Hospitals" to help moms-to-be make the best choice for themselves.

"Local professionals also have advice to offer about the options women have.

"We spoke with Dr. David Lagrew, medical director of Women's Hospital at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills; Lorri Walker, a midwife at South Coast Midwifery and Women's Health Care in Irvine; and BJ Snell of the Community Alliance for Birth Options in Laguna Hills.

"All agree that for starters, women should thoroughly educate themselves about what pregnancy is and what kind of birth would give them the best possible emotional, mental, physical and spiritually rich experience – even if something out of the ordinary happens and they have to change delivery types at the last moment.

"'Too much of the time the unknown of the birth process creates fear for women," Spatafora said. "That was my main goal, to give women the tools to educate themselves and give them all they needed to make choices that would give them the ultimate birthing experience."

"She's had clients who intended to have a home birth with a midwife, but had to change their focus to a hospital-based delivery because something during their pregnancy made home delivery an unsafe option.

"'This doesn't mean that they can't have the same wonderfully memorable, fear-free experience," Spatafora said. "This just means that they have to become OK with the new and needed option, learn all they can about the procedure and realize that it will still be an intimate event."

"Spatafora gave birth to her two children at home in water, with a midwife.

"'That was my way and it worked out. For someone else, the best way might be in a hospital setting, or a birthing suite at a birthing center."

"Lagrew says the family birthing suites at Women's Hospital at Saddleback Memorial can offer the best of both possible worlds.

"'While many are encouraging home births, we feel that the center can give the mom and partner the same experience, but in a safe setting," he said. "Should the need arise, immediate intervention is available."

"The hospital encourages the use of a Jacuzzi, but not water births, he said.

"'We have education classes for the basics, for high-risk pregnancies, VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section), post-partum and daddy boot camp. We also have birthing beds, rocking chairs and music. Our policy is that if the request is safe and a comfort to the mom, we will provide it."

"Both Lorri Walker and BJ Snell said that options in Orange County – and at hospitals in particular – are limited. Most hospitals don't allow midwives access, they said. Walker and Snell both see a sharp rise in the county for out-of-hospital births.

"Giving birth, Walker said, is "a natural function that women need to gain control of by making it a more 'green' experience, educating themselves in a way that fits their lifestyle, gives them control and makes the event quite intimate."

"Birthing centers give women lots of freedom, Snell added: "They can have family and friends in if they wish. We don't use IV's – the moms are able to walk, eat, drink. We don't readily use episiotomies."

"Walker and Snell both agreed that birthing centers are not for all women. If a woman is having a high-risk pregnancy for any reason, she needs to use the traditional hospital setting, they said.

"Women do need someone to be their guide, and for most that means a doctor.

Contact the writer: Carine Nadel is a freelance writer in Laguna Hills. Send questions or comments on this article to

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