It is a well known fact that women birth better when they are relaxed and comfortable. This is true for all mammals. The birth happens quicker and with much less stress on mother and baby, leading to a healthier birth for all.
When birthing at home, women are in their own environment, their safety zone, surrounded by loving family. They are able to lie in their personal bed and bedroom, pace their kitchen and use their own bathroom.
Imagine: moving around during labor to many positions and to whichever room is comforting; to have everything you might need and not worry that it didn't get packed; being able to eat and drink, even encouraged, to keep up your strength; to choose which position you give birth to your child, be it bed, floor, couch or bathroom; surrounded by the family that you choose as your support system, including your other children.
There is very important bonding between a baby and his or her family that happens right at birth and the first few hours postpartum. One of the best parts of a homebirth is that this is not interrupted. The family is kept together as a unit and when everyone is stable and fed, you are all tucked into your bed to rest after all the hard work. Breastfeeding is encouraged and supported as part of that bonding soon after birth. Did I mention using your own bathroom, able to shower whenever you feel ready.
Many women tend to associate being in the hospital with being sick, an abnormal and stressful event. Many different nurses and staff come in and out to attend you that you have never met before. Their are many foreign germs in the hospital, a place where people only go when they are sick, while you are already used to the normal germs in your own home and they are not threatening to you. This goes for your baby as well.
Hospitals and surgeons are there when we need them and do a great job at what they are trained for. Unfortunately, when all women are treated as high risk and interventions are routinely used without a medical reason this often leads to The Cycle of Interventions.
This can cause what would have been a normal birth to spiral out of control with a simple intervention interfering with the natural birth process leading to another intervention needed and another. Many of these births will now involve drugs and perhaps forceps or vacuum extraction, or even cesarean. Because of the different view that many doctors and hospital staff have of birth, many of whom have never seen a homebirth, they do not always see or understand how this cycle develops.
At home you are free to use water- a tub, pool, or shower- to ease Labor or even to give your baby a gentle transition into the world. You will able to listen to your intuition and be inside drawing on your inner strength and connecting with your baby. Birth can be a dance with your baby, supported by a caregiver that is a partner and truly listens to your wishes and desires.
You may hear that homebirth is not safe, but the research does not support that claim for low-risk women with a skilled attendant having a planned homebirth. (See Studies at right)
As a CPM, I am trained to monitor throughout pregnancy and labor the woman and baby for signs that she may not be low-risk any longer. In this case, or if a problem arises in labor where the mother or baby is at risk, we will transport to the hospital where they can do what they need to.
Not all labors and births go as planned and none are free of risk, wherever the setting may be. Birth needs to be flexible and is ultimately in God's hands. But you can plan, explore what type of birth would be best for you and make educated decisions.
I believe that birth was meant to embolden us, to find how deep that inner strength really is, and to prepare us to parent this particular sacred child.
Home Birth Safety Studies
Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: study in North America
Kenneth C Johnson, Betty-Anne Davis
Includes statistics on interventions and infant/maternal mortality.
Addresses Homebirth Safety
A history of home birth with statistics from research. versus flawed studies.
Homebirth: Is it really safe?
Explains how many studies against homebirth are flawed.
The U.K. Study: Is Home Birth a Reasonable Option Planned home vs. planned hospital birth in low-risk first-time mothers
The wisdom and experience a woman can intuitively experience in childbirth can make her a source of Healing and understanding for other women.
- Steven Gaskin