GENERAL HOMEBIRTH ADVICE
From Midwife Archives
In thinking about doing a homebirth with my next baby, what are some things that should be thought about when trying to decide if homebirth is right for you? I am not pregnant yet, but would like to be prepared with what I should look into before I need to make that decision. Thanks for your input!
I'm a homebirth midwife, but I had to do a lot of research on the safety issue before overcoming my personal bias revering technology. (I have two science degrees and spent 15 years working as a computer programmer. It took a while for me to acknowledge that machines are all very good and well for many things, but that they are best used sparingly, if at all, in such a human activity as giving birth.)
The best place to start in learning about homebirth is probably the book, Homebirth by Sheila Kitzinger. This is the book that tends to convince my techno-oriented friends. She discusses the studies on comparative safety that show that homebirth is safer than hospital birth for all levels of risk, and discusses the things that can go wrong and how they are handled at home, sometimes by transporting to the nearest hospital.
Rahima Baldwin's book, Special Delivery, is also very helpful, as it's written from the point of view of couples who are planning for a homebirth delivery without necessarily having any professional help at hand. It's even more specific about the variations on normal that could become dangerous and what to do about them.
Since the key to safety for a baby during labor is a relaxed mom who is breathing slowly and deeply to help her baby recover between contractions, I think the safest place for the birth is wherever the mom feels safest. For some women, this is actually the hospital.
However, there are many women who are frightened by their first trip to the hospital, usually on the "hospital tour", where they see the narrow beds, the machines and the generally sanitized environment. There also are women who become frightened that they will become a pawn in the labor and delivery assembly line, driven as it is by protocol. These are rarely issues in homebirth, where the woman and her family have ultimate control over who comes and goes, and what is done to and for them. They are supported at home by the implicit belief that they can do it, that they can do it without mind-altering drugs, and that they will birth vaginally in whatever manner their body directs them.
If you believe that a healthy woman giving birth is a biologically normal activity, designed to happen without medical intervention, then you are probably a good candidate for homebirth.
This Web page is referenced from other pages containing related information about
Parents Share Information About Homebirth and Homebirth Safety/Advocacy
Primary Midwife Archives site at gentlebirth.org
Mirrorsite at virtualbirth.com
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