Google+ Authentic Parenting: Why homebirth? (rerun)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why homebirth? (rerun)

This morning, I read this post by Lindsey Beyerstein on Majikthise. In the post, she wonders why anybody would want a homebirth. To be completely honest, a long time ago, in a dark era, before baby came, before I ever became a crunchy, natural birth-obsessed lactivist, there was a time I asked myself the same question. I had read stories of women birthing at home. I found it strange, and found it a very treehugging-people thing.
Becoming a mom changed my views in various departments and guess what, I too became the treehugging kind. But that's another topic altogether.

I had always wanted a natural birth, which to me was just an epidural-free hospital birth with a natural onset; and no lying down on my back. (Little did I know!), but the medical world decided differently for me. I was diagnosed with GD and went on insuline shots soon after. I was told I HAD to be induced (international protocol, yeah right) and spend my labouring attached to an IV and ended up pushing on my back. As a reward, my baby was taken from me to be put on the neonatal ward for the first 24 hours of her life.  Matters worsened even further as I had a serious bleeding little time after giving birth, so I was unable to get out of the bed to the NICU to see my baby.
In a way I am happy about my daughters birth, but if I could turn back time, I might have taken action to do it differently. So slowly, the idea of a homebirth sipped in.

Now why would I want a homebirth?
The first reason is to be in a familiar environment, that you can mold to your wants (dimmed light, some music maybe...) Not the cold and unfamiliar hospital setting.
Reason number two is to not to have to dump baby number one on the grandparents for 5 days. Frankly, I wouldn't know how that would work, because they are all still working, so we would have to get a sitter? Which would be difficult because we have no home of our own over there...
Number three is the greater liberty one has when birthing at home. You can eat and drink what you want (was I ever hungry with daughters birth!). You can move around the way you want. You can give birth in whatever position you like.
Four: There won't be a dozen people walking in and out the room. With dd, I suddenly looked up to find there were 6 or 7 people around me!
Five: If there is a way to escape the overmedicalisation of birth and the train of useless interventions, I'm there!
Six: All these things add up to the fact that you can only be more sereen, which can only make labour easier.

There are probably a dozen other reasons I could come up with why a homebirth would suit me better than a hospital birth, if I would think about it longer. But you get the picture. Now this doesn't mean I think everybody should have a homebirth, but I think it's nice to have a choice, and for it to be an informed one.

Some nice articles and blogposts along these lines:
Intuition in childbirth
On fasting during childbirth
Homebirth safety
Why get a midwife? "The midwife is (or should be) an expert in normal birth, while the obstetrician must be an expert in pathology."
Afterbirth high: why not to disturb mother and child in the hour following birth.
Management of third stage of labour



  1. You should be in your own environment for a birth. As a hospital nurse myself, I wouldn't want to stay in a hospital for any reason not absolutely necessary. I don't understand electively submitting yourself to the whims and wishes of whatever cranky hospital staff, nurses, and physicians might be on that day, or what arbitrary rules they have about what you can do, who can visit you, and when you can leave after the baby's born!

  2. Hi! Thanks for this comment, that's really wonderful coming from a man who is a nurse. Must show my husband tonight!!!

  3. I'm totally with you! I tried for a home birth the first time and had a 42 hour labor with a transfer to the hospital midway for pitocin. Ugh. But since my body's done it, I'm trying it again with Baby #2 (when that happens)! My midwife was WONDERFUL and stuck with me the whole time and stayed with me in the hospital helping me cope with the new situation and acting as Doula. I was so blessed. Also, next time, I'm renting a big ol' heated tub, and getting a ball without a leak to sit on. :) Live and learn. Oh, and I didn't use one massage tool, but I would have died without the tennis balls! Just sharing what worked for me!

  4. That's great! But seriously, tennis balls? You've got to explain that one to me! I didn't want any massage during labour either.

  5. I had a home birth. it was the most beautiful experience I have had. I started off in water and then was not progressing my dula and midwife (who is also my beautiful mother in law) sent me for a walk down the paddock wrapped in bed sheets and my husbands volley shoes where our sheep were lambing. with birth energy everywhere my son was born in our loungeroom. it was beautiful. unfortunately we were then transferred to hospital as he was breathing up a little and it confirmed my belief in home birthing. i was treated like a was diseased because I was informed enough to choose a home birth without medical intereference. it was the most horrible 3 days i've ever experienced. Although, I believe highly in giving women the choice, i definately know what choice I will make. it doesn't hurt to read into home birth more and be aware of both sides of the fence.

  6. I am currently researching HBAC (Home Birth After Caesarean) statistics to help make our homebirth/hospital birth decision informed. Although I've never had a c-section our medical fraternity wish to treat me as such because I had surgery 5 years back that could put me in a similar risk category. If anyone can help me with links to the HBAC subject I would love their assistance!

    Homebirth is preferred by many for all your reasons above and more. The thing that I've learnt is that labour slows down when you move a labouring mum from one location to another. SO when she gets to the hospital the medical staff generally attempt interventions to get labour going again. Once one intervention is used, other interventions will normally follow, more often than not ending up with unnecessary c-sections and babies being separated from their mums. If a good breast feeding relationship is going to have the best chance of being established then an intervention free birth should be aimed for. Its interesting that in the 'civilised' societies where interventions are highest, breastfeeding is at its lowest!! Are we really that civilised then?

  7. Excellent, as always! My first two were standard epidural births. My third was natural in a hospital (see Elena's birth story), and my last (Veronica's birth story) was a planned homebirth that wound up in the hospital. My last was my favorite in many ways, and I would definitely choose homebirth in the future.

  8. Tami, I know informed parenting has some articles about that. Or you could check out the unnecessarian and ICAN.
    there's also VBAC on FB, and a couple of other pages dedicated to it

  9. Thanks again for another lovely post. I just recently gave birth to my second baby boy in a hospital with a midwife. I was under the impression that midwife's are more holistic in nature but since the one I used is still affiliated with the hospital she has to follow their rules and procedures. I was 100% prepared to have a natural, drug-free birth, however when I showed up at the hospital and ready to push, they took me in for an emergency csection because we discovered he was breech at the last minute. Now I've been told birthing him breech would have been risking and dangerous and who knows what the outcome could have been - but if I ever do decide to have another child, I will go the home birth route for sure. Here's my birth story:

  10. Congratulations, Shannon. Thank you for commenting.

  11. Great post. My first was a hospital birth (midwifery-led unit of the hospital, but a hospital nonetheless) that resulted in a ventouse delivery and not getting to do delayed cord clamping or a natural 3rd stage like I'd wanted. The second one was a home birth. Part of that was because we have no family near us and I didn't want to send my son somewhere or go to the hospital without my husband. My labours are fast (first one was 12 hours even though DS was posterior, second was 4 hours), and I didn't want to have to worry about getting there in time. I didn't want to have to fight about interventions or delayed cord clamping or whatnot. I wanted to birth on all fours, which is easier at home. I thought I might want to labour in the shower (I didn't, but I liked having the option). I did labour on the birthing ball, which wouldn't have gone to the hospital with me. We don't have a car, either. Oh, and I liked being put in my own bed without worrying about people coming in to lecture about co-sleeping, and I liked that I didn't have to leave my son and husband.


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