Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Is Homebirth for you? 6 Birthing Myths

Delving more into some research, i found this site discussing the myths around birth... here are a few excerpts (Please note that all the content in blockquotes is taken directly from the site above and have not been changed at all. I have not been solicited to share this information, it's just the result of some of my research)

Myth #1 — Hospital births are statistically safer than homebirths.

Safety in childbirth is measured by how many mothers and babies die and how many survive childbirth in less than perfect health.

Studies done comparing hospital and out-of-hospital births indicate fewer deaths, injuries and infections for homebirths supervised by a trained attendant than for hospital births. No such studies indicate that hospitals have better outcomes than homebirths.

While maternal death rates have vastly improved since the turn of the century, factors like proper nutrition and cleanliness have played a big part in the change.
at the film festival this weekend, we learned that a study done in the U.S. showed that the child mortality rate of homebirths vs hospital births were at par, but the amount of birth interferences in homebirths were at abou 3%, whereas in hospitals they were at the 30% mark. Much more episiotomy's, c-sections, and use of devices like vacuums and forceps in hospital births...

Myth #2 — You can get more professional attention in a hospital than you could get at home.

In the hospital, obstetricians do not routinely sit at the bedsides of their laboring patients but rely on machinery and others for information — then appear at the last minute in the delivery room. Most physicians do not build a relationship of supportive rapport with each patient or offer much encouragement to give birth naturally.
Speaking from my own experience, thus far, i've found the midwife's approach to prenatal appointments far preferable to the prenatal appointments i've had with my doctor so far. My doctor is great, don't get me wrong. She's one of the few docs left in this city that actually do their own deliveries, but because of that she is a busy busy busy woman, and i never feel relaxed enough to ask her questions about anything. My appointmenst are generally in-and-out, about 15 mintues long. My friend J has a midwife and she invited me to a pre-natal visit. The appointments are generally an hour in length - the first 45 minutes spent just chatting and getting to know each other and building that rapport and trust, leaving the medical stuff for the last 15 minutes.

i tell ya, i feel more comfortable with J's midwife than i do with my own doctor - as far as feeling at ease with a person. My friend Kate had the same Doc as me, and she told me that she didn't even SEE her until she was ready to start pushing.

i cherish the idea of the same group of loving supportive people, staying with me, caring for me throughout - no strangers sticking their hands in me, no interns or student docs/nurses, no shift changes...

Myth #3 — The more modern technology you have on hand, the easier the birth will be.

In a sincere effort to catch complications early and produce healthier babies, medical science has changed the atmosphere surrounding birth from one of a circle of loving support around laboring women to one of space age technology in a laboratory setting.

Though technology can save lives in a crisis, the routine use of technology can interfere with the normal birth process.

It is common in hospitals to use intravenous fluids and electronic fetal monitors to ensure that the mother stays well hydrated and that each contraction and beat of the baby's heart is recorded. However, many women dislike being confined to a bed with needles in their arms and belts around their abdomens.
hello, i'm claustrophobic. the mere thought of being strapped down to a bed starts me into panic mode. Being strapped to a bed while giving birth? even more so. plus, i wonder about the disconnect - when medical staff stop paying attention to mom and baby, and start paying attention to machines and beeping.

Myth #4 — A hospital is a more sanitary place to have a baby than at home.

Each family becomes accustomed to its own household germs and develops a resistance to them. Since fewer strangers are likely to be present at a homebirth than at a hospital birth, the chances of acquiring foreign germs are less likely in a homebirth situation.

Every effort is made to provide a clean environment at homebirths. Midwives and homebirth doctors wear sterile gloves and use sterilized instruments for cutting the umbilical cord.

I'ts not like i live in a barn... lol... and there are far more 'foreign' germs in a place where sick people congregate....

Myth #5 — A hospital is the most comfortable place to have a baby

The idea of being comfortable during childbirth may strike many mothers who have delivered in the hospital as impossible. They remember being confined to a hospital bed, denied food and water, separated from their other children and supportive family members and friends, enduring frequent internal examinations and vital sign checks, being transfered from one room to another on a stretcher at the peak of labor's intensity and having their legs strapped into stirrups.

Birthing rooms and their homey furnishings are an effort to eliminate some of the stress and discomfort that comes from being in the strange surroundings of the hospital.

Studies show that labor can be compromised by an unfamiliar environment. Discomfort and fear can actually increase the pain experienced in childbirth, while relaxation can diminish maternal stress, improve oxygen flow to the baby and facilitate labor.

In her own home a laboring woman has "the home court advantage." She can move about freely, wear what clothing she chooses, sip on energizing juices, continue caring for other children as she is able, relax in a warm tub of water, have her feet rubbed by loving friends and try different birthing positions. Normal labor is a healthy stress for the baby, clearing the lungs of fluid and preparing it to take its first breaths.

After the birth, the baby is never taken from its mother's side. The entire family can climb into a clean bed for a much needed cuddle and nap. The emotional bonding that takes place in the moments after birth between mother and child and between the baby and the entire family promotes well being, encourages breastfeeding and speeds recovery of the mother.
i don't really have much to add to this one. It pretty much sums up my feelings all together.There are other options available - qualified educated people to help you. On my sidebar there are a few links to the SK Doula Network, The Canadian Midwives Association and the La Leche League - Canada.

Myth #6 — It's impossible to find any qualified person to assist you in having a baby at home.

Certified nurse midwives are located in many metropolitan areas, and in some hospitals offer primary maternity care in a clinic and birthing room setting. Well-educated and trained direct-entry midwives are specialists in normal childbirth. Some operate birth centers, and many have homebirth practices all across the country.


Obviously, homebirths are not for everyone. And it goes without saying that in my birthplan - by nature of it BEING a homebirth plan (if all goes well) it will be flexible, and i'm not going to put mine or my child's life in danger just because i don't want to be in a hospital. That's just silly.

I'm posting this as information only. I am not here to say my birth plan is better than yours, in any way! I would never dream of that. I believe a woman has the right to be informed and to make her own decisions with her partner about what feels right for them, and i also think that women deserve to have their decisions respected. After all, the one who's really going through it is the only one who's opinion should matter, in the end.

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11 comments:

Mrs. Dymund said...

O dear. I fear I have offended you with my persistent and lengthy comments. No assvice intended.

FourLeafClover said...

I understand what you were saying, Mrs. D. To paraphrase - don't feel any personal failure if the original birthplan doesn't work out, yes?

Mrs. Dymund said...

Precisely. Thanks.

I make absolutely no judgement regarding the content of the original plan, it being none of my business.

i am the diva said...

Yes, i have had the "Don't feel failure" shpiel many times, from many folks. don't worry people, as i said before: the very nature of me wanting a homebirth leaves lots of room for flexibility. SO. I'm flexible. i won't feel failure.

Melsie14 said...

I think I would've preffered to have my kids at home. I just didn't like the RUH at all.

cheesefairy said...

It is so exciting and empowering to discover the "other world" of childbirth - when I was pregnant with #1 I read all the stuff you did and did the research too...it was like this whole other amazing world that I never knew existed b/c my experience of childbirth was media and baby-shower-horror-story related ("I was in labour for 46 hours and then the baby was breech and then I had a c-section! It was the worst day of my life!")

Everything you read and take in during your research will totally serve you during your labour, no matter what actual framework the labour takes. I highly recommend a book called Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent. She's a midwife and the book is just this awesome collection of great birth stories. It's like a big high-five from the birth goddess. I took it out again from the library near the end of pregnancy #2 when I was feeling too tired to have a baby and it totally boosted my spirits.

OK the end.

contentedfather said...

Finally good to see positive feedback re Homebirthing. As parents of two teenagers, we homebirthed our daughter,(with the help of our certified midwife) and were ready on delivery day to homebirth our son--but had a small problem ,so for safety sake we called a doctor(who had been alerted earler) and he met us at the birthing room at our local hospital. All went well....And, we signed a release to keep all those automatons from taking our baby upon delivery and running him through all those routines---we managed to leave the hospital 6 hours later. Baby was fine and we never regretted it. In fact, my parents told me they and their siblings were all born at home! Our midwife stated: "Giving birth is not a medical problem.it is a natural occurence...going to a hospital should only be done if difficulty arises." We couldn't agree more.. Thanks for your alerting others to this wonderful way to start a family.

i am the diva said...

Melsie,
i've heard pros and cons about RUH...

Cheesefairy,
thanks! i'll look that book up!

contentedfather,
nice to see a pappa here! welcome!
I couldn't agree with your midwife more! Women shouldn't be treated as "patients" cuz they're not sick! i'll have to look into it here to see if i can sign some kind of form that says: "Don't take my baby away - no testing" if i end up in a hospital.

Reesh said...

Absolutely get that form! It is completely up to you whether your baby gets antibiotics in their eyes as soon as they open them, or a million other needles and whatnot "just in case" something goes wrong which it won't. Get that form and make copies of it and pin it up around your room and give it to every nurse and birth attendant there.

Donna said...

I had a hospital birth with a midwife present, and it was beyond great. No hospital staff came in to my room, the doors were kept closed, the lights low. I had free range of the room, bath, and almost gave birth walking around the room with my partner. I'm not sure if this is possible in all parts of the continent (I live in Ottawa, Ontario) but it's worth looking into . . I feel like i had the best of both worlds. My midwife never left my side during labour and two more midwives were present for the delivery itself. (normally it would be just one but I allowed a student midwife to be present). I felt surrounded by strong women and my partner was very involved. I'm pregnant with my second now and look forward to the experience again. Just ordered the Baby Catcher from the library too . . thanks for the rec!

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