Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Decision to Deliver my baby at Home

Up till even after I got married I always imagined that my children would be born in a hospital with an OB-GYN. Of course isn't that what everyone does? The realization that there was more than one option came when I was shown a documentary, “The business of being born”. This documentary looks at birth the business aspect of it. As those who are delivering our children are running a business. There was a lot of insights that made me question if what was happening in hospitals was really for the good of the expectant mother and baby or just good for the business of bring babies into the world.
I started researching and talking to people who had used midwives and had home deliveries with there labor and deliveries. Everyone I talked to seemed very satisfied with the whole experience. Many women who had turned to midwives had done so because of bad experiences at the hospitals. The midwife allows much more freedom and the comfort of your own home.
I started considering using a midwife for my own children's births. Of course I was concerned. First of all was:
What if something goes wrong? How would a midwife deal with complications? Would we have time to get to the hospital if needed? The more I have looked into this the more reassured I am. Many studies show that home births with a midwife are actually safer for both the infant and the mother. There tend to be less complications and less interventions involved in a home birth when compared to a hospital birth. One Study looked at the outcomes of planned home birth with a registerd midwife versus planned hospital birth with midwife or physician. The comparison was of midwives at home verses those same midwives at the hospital and hospital births with a physician. The results were as follows

Per 1000 Births of infant death
Planned home births: 0.35
Hospital births with Midwife: 0.57
Hospital births with a physician: 0.64

This concluded that those with a midwife at home were almost half as likely to end up with an infant death. And even with those same midwifes at the hospital the risk drastically increased. Those women in the at home group were less likely to have obstetric interventions or adverse maternal outcomes. Newborns at home were less likely to need resuscitation or oxygen after birth.
According to this study along with others, my question seems to be the wrong one. There was less complications with the at-home births. Many think this is because of the easily available interventions. We are just intervening too much with birth and maybe God actually did make a woman capable of having her own child. Maybe we should just be prepared to handle the labor and delivery and then in cases where something still goes wrong then start intervening

My second Question was: How much is this going to hurt and will I be able to handle it?
It was funny because when some people found out I was planning a home birth they thought I was crazy. It would hurt. And that is what I've heard my whole hurts. Now I'm not going to argue that it doesn't hurt. Pain in childbirth is a given. But soon I found that there really is no avoiding it. Although an epidural may help I was always a little nervous with the idea of numbing my whole lower body with something so close to my spinal cord. It just seemed really risky. After talking to a few people who'd had epidurals I also found that they are often times less than desirable. They can be put in wrongly and cause complications or you would still be able to feel pain. Also they interfere with the mother's ability to be involved in pushing out her own child. (an important part of giving birth...the involvement of the mother.)
I also took a birthing class that outlined many different positions that can greatly reduce the pain and speed childbirth. I was introduced to the idea of a water-birth. (the midwifes epidural). I loved the idea of more natural ways of dealing with the pain. For example: being upright instead of laying on your back, eating so you have the needed energy for labor, and relaxing. 

Source of study:
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal; 9/15/2009, Vol. 181 Issue 6/7, p377-383, 7p, 4 Charts

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