Labor in Your Living Room

   By drodriguez  Nov 21, 2008

Bringing a child into this world brings with it a huge list of questions.  From what doctor to choose to what crib to purchase, women find themselves making big decisions daily.  One decision women seem to be making more often these days is having a planned homebirth with a licensed midwife.  According to both the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, homebirthing rates are on the rise in these metropolitan cities.

One reason that is believed to be a cause of the rise in homebirths is a recent documentary that was screened in both of the city’s movie theaters.  The Business of Being Born documents famed talk show host Ricki Lake’s homebirth and shows that in most countries midwives reduce the need for cesareans and improve survival rates. 

Many women describe their homebirths as more intimate and relaxing than the hospital experience.  Sitting in a warm birthing tub can help ease labor pains and has become a staple in homebirths across the country.  A lot of women who have had what they consider to be unpleasant labor experiences in hospitals turn to homebirth for their next child with open arms. 

But for most women the first question that comes to mind is, how safe is it?  According to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, homebirthing had about the same mortality rate as what were considered to be low-risk hospital births. 

Despite these findings, the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) take the stance that the hospital or birthing center is the safest place to be during the time of labor and delivery.  Practicing OBGYN and vice chair of ACOG, Dr. Erin Tracy, reported to the San Francisco Chronicle about his concern on the safety of homebirths.  He said, “I think the vast majority of women who give birth do fine, no matter where they do it.  But there is a certain number of low-risk pregnancies that become high-risk minutes before their babies need to be delivered.  How does someone who needs help within minutes get from home to a hospital in time?”

What do you think of the idea of more women giving birth at home?

Is this something you or your friends or family members have ever considered?

Make a Comment

softballhead8 by softballhead8 | PEORIA, IL
Mar 01, 2009

I am not sure on this particular topic. If the mother and father are into the whole deal, then why not? I sure admire any woman who does natural birthing (no drugs)! I can't imagine...It pains me just thinking about it. ouch...

Evolettsmom by Evolettsmom | Kinder, LA
Feb 19, 2009

well i have major respect for a mom who can give birth w/o any drugs, but thats not me!! and as far as a home birth, well thats up to the person i guess. i would just be afraid something would go wrong, and you'd be too far from any medical help. i just don't belive its worth the risk. i mean, you wait 9-10 months to see this special little person, and if something went wrong, i know i'd never be able to forgive myself.

lipsticklady4 by lipsticklady4 | West Des Moines, IA
Feb 04, 2009

As a mother of 4 children with my first being born in a hospital, I decided to deliver my other 3 children in our home. Working with 2 wonderful midwives, I had 3 amazing experiences that I would certainly choose to do over again. As this option is not for everyone due to several reasons, most importantly a woman's health, I'm thankful that home birth was an option for me and my family.

wespeak2 by wespeak2 | Manitowoc, WI
Jan 06, 2009

As a previous OB nurse, I can share that most OB physicians are bound by the American College of Obstetrics ans Gynecology (ACOG) to administer care in accordance with their high standards. Doctors who are doing C-sections for other non-medical reasons are setting themselves up for a lawsuit not to mention, face peer review at their own institution. I would strongly encourage anyone who is seeking medical care to do some investigating of your own when selecting your provider. Ensure they are ACOG certified which speaks then to the quality of care you will recieve. I advise against home birth. I have seen too many things go wrong in a hospital setting even with the best care; personally, I'd never take the risk with my child's life. Great for Rikki Lake, but it doesn't always turn out happy.

babsywabs by babsywabs | Notre Dame, IN
Dec 15, 2008

I am well beyond this phase of life, actually entering menopause, but I would like to add my two cents nonetheless. When I delivered my daughter 23 years ago, after a pretty ho-hum, riskfree pregnancy, I hemorrhaged severely and lost a significant amount of blood. This was in 1985, when the AIDS scare was first beginning, and the doctor would not give me blood due to the risks involved. I was in the hospital for four days. Had I chosen the home birth / midwife route, I would be dead now. Please choose carefully, and know what you are getting yourself into. No, pregnancy isn't a 'disease' that needs to be treated by a medical professional, but I'm sure glad I was in a hospital when I gave birth so my husband didn't have to raise our daughter on his own.

texasmama by texasmama | Provo, UT
Dec 06, 2008

With both home births we were able to enjoy the aftermath of birth with plenty of quiet bonding time in the peace of our own home. In the hospital, with my next two kids, I had a horrible experience. We were constantly interrupted for unnecessary procedures throughout the first 24 hours. My babies were taken away from me, our blood was taken, and other such annoyances. I understand these precautions when there is something wrong, but everything was totally normal! Midwives are TRAINED to recognize when there is a problem and will refer you to a hospital if necessary.

texasmama by texasmama | Provo, UT
Dec 06, 2008

I had my first two children at home with a midwife, the second was born in the water in a birthing tub. It was amazing. She was born so gracefully and peacefully. I have to disagree with the last comment - it is TOTALLY NATURAL to give birth in water. Women in many cultures do this traditionally. Why shouldn't the baby go from nice warm water inside to nice warm water outside before lifting her into the air? It makes for an easy transition.

cveldman by cveldman | Holt, MI
Dec 05, 2008

The natural way for babies to be born isn't under water. I had three children using natural childbirth after going in to labor. I think too many women are pushed to get these babies out so they can not inconvenience the doctors. However, after seeing a few babies get into trouble at birth, I would never consider a home birth. My babies lives were never worth compromising so that I could have an interesting or meaningful experience. I wanted the reassurance that a physician was not only there, but that personnel were nearby in case of emergency.

hpersellin by hpersellin | PRESCOTT VLY, AZ
Dec 03, 2008

I'm expecting my first child. I want to have a home birth. I want to do a waterbirth with my friend who is an EMT delivering. I have only just started to research. I really, really, REALLY do not want to give birth at a hospital.

kikirose78 by kikirose78 | Magnolia, NJ
Dec 03, 2008

I would love to try it, and experiance a natural birth. Unfortunately for me I was dumb with my first child and listened to the Dr who probably was tired and wanted to go home and I had a csection for NO REASON other than being impatient, I became pregnant again a few months later so I Ihad no choice but to have a 2nd C. During this delivey we discovered I had a "window; in my uterus- my scar had stretched so thin they could see through into my uterus. I am now expecting my 3rd and will be having a 3rd C at 38 wks. I wish I could experience what it is like to give birth, I have had so many problems from having Csections- aparently my body makes too much scar tissue and can attach to my intestines down the road and cause a blockage. And I have to have reconstuctive surgery after I am done to fix my crooked belly from more scar tissue being taken from one side that the other. Having a Csection is my biggest regret in life, our bodies are MADE for childbirth.

GeologyMom by GeologyMom | WESTFORD, MA
Nov 23, 2008

I'd say it's up to the individual--just make sure you're well educated on all the risks before you decide on a home birth. Personally, I didn't want a home birth. With my first my water broke 6 weeks early and I was put on hospital bed rest, and then induced 10 days later, when the risk of infection was higher than the risk of having the baby early. With my second I ended up needing a c-section, after 18 hours of labor, as she was extremely crooked/stuck in that position. When both my children were born, they had the cord wrapped around their necks. They were both fine, but it's just one more complication that could use professional expertise in a hospital environment. I'm all for having a more friendly/relaxing birthing center with immediate access to an operating room if necessary. Have it be a 'home like' environment, but with all the medical equipment at the ready if needed.

red1977 by red1977 | Spring Hill, FL
Nov 22, 2008

If you would be more comfortable with a home birth I say go for it just have a proffesional there. I am due in June with my second and no way will it be a home birth I want to be in a hospital where I know I will get the quickest care if something goes wrong and I also am all for epidurals and I don't think they will do those at home.

erica_cal by erica_cal | Scotts Valley, CA
Nov 22, 2008

It would help if doctors and the medical establishment would be a bit less sexist and anti-mother. A lot of insurance does not even cover maternity care! Also, a lot of doctors will do totally unnecessary C-sections that destroy the mother's body just because they can (e.g. induce labor earlier). The reasons can be as simple as the doctor desiring to leave work early. Hospitals are full of germs (MRSA anyone?) that are poorly documented in death certificates. Many people come away from hospitals with more problems than when they went in and there is an exceedingly high prevalence of drive-by deliveries. This is simply evidence of women finding a niche that attempts to serve their needs better than the chaotic medical establishment. p.s. If you do not believe what I said here about MRSA, drive-by deliveries, or lack of coverage, google the terms. Extensive documentation is cleverly concealed in news sources like the New York Times!

meowmix by meowmix | peach bottom, PA
Nov 22, 2008

free birthing is being promoted on the discovery health channel with a program of its own. I would never take a chance with a life of a child like that. I know it is free choice society, but now hospitals are making deliveries like a 5-star hotel and midwifery is making it less costly, so options are out there for everyone, but freebirthing is just stupid.

Lusadi by Lusadi | Wasilla, AK
Nov 21, 2008

I am totally a fan of the home birth. I realize that for certain pregnancies, interventions are necessary. For a pregnancy that is proceeding normally and under the supervision of a skilled midwife I do not see any reason a woman should not be able to give birth where she is most comfortable. I do think Freebirthing with no skilled professional is risky and foolish.