30% rise in home birth rates!

tobr24u(z6 RI)January 30, 2012

American women say that they prefer the comfort and convenience of being at home. I am glad that my kids were born in a hospital in case of any complications. This new trend seems pretty scary to me and surely to you too...

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I recall reading that somewhere, too... though I don't recall the details of the story.

On the one hand, women have been giving birth since the beginning without much medical intervention... however, a lot of things within our society have evolved and changed since such times, with regard to the possibility of complications.

Depending upon several variables, I see nothing wrong with home birth... and I believe midwives still do exist... I don't really know, though I would say it's a decision only the woman giving birth, her family, and her doctor could determine.

Scary? Not really... unless it's your first and you are virtually uninformed, or already in a risk situation.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 7:49AM
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tobr24u(z6 RI)

The odds of something going wrong might be slim but I am glad that it wasn't even a consideration back when...

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 7:56AM
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Nothing like getting a hospital infection, wrong procedure or wrong medication..

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 8:13AM
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Before his surgery, my wife , a physician told my uncle to check the hospital's HAI rate as the region and hospitals he was considering had much higher than average HAI rates.

Sure enough, he's currently dealing with complications from a major infection, plus he received the wrong medication and was dropped on the floor accidentally - twice.

Kinda takes the Health and Care out of Healthcare...

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 8:32AM
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david52 Zone 6

A good friend and his wife just delivered at home. They're both unemployed, have no health insurance, and while there were other considerations, they did save themselves several thousand dollars by not going to the hospital.

Personal Responsibility - not burdening society with unpaid hospital bills.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 9:40AM
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I know a couple of women who had very successful home births, and one of my grown daughters has considered it. Instead, she chose to have her child in the hospital with a nurse midwife in attendance. While her midwife is a big proponent of home births for subsequent pregnancies if the mother chooses that, she prefers to see the first birth in a birthing center/hospital.

I thought that was a great middle-of-the-road position to take, and of course, the pregnant mom gets all the same prenatal care as any mom delivering in a hospital. In fact, I think she gets better care. :)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 9:50AM
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I hope none of these infants grow up and run for prezident, even with a doctor signed and hospital approved birth certificate it's not easy these daze.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 10:22AM
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Well, Vgkg, that's only dependent upon a thing... ;-)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 11:29AM
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My DD stopped breathing for three minutes at birth. There was nothing in advance of the delivery to suggest there would be a problem.

If we had not been in a hospital with an anaesthesiologist on site and on call to immediately treat her to get her breathing, she would have died or been mentally retarded. Instead, she is a healthy, alert person with a degree in engineering.

IMO it is not worth it to take the risk. Many women and children used to die in childbirth, or be irreparably harmed.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 7:38PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

On the other hand, why not be prepared for the unexpected? I'm one of those people who has the unexpected happen to them so often I try to at least be aware of the things that can go out of whack and what to do if they do. I had been told I could not have children. The doctors were surprised. The second and third pregnancies happened while I was on the pill. No one knew antibiotics could mess that up at that time. All my pregnancies lasted six weeks beyond the expected due date. Turns out it happens often in my family, but it created much confusion. The problem was that my labor and delivery were not typical and I almost didn't get to the hospital all three times. The comment from the doctor who delivered my second child was "If you have another baby, don't tell them you deliver fast, tell them you deliver #$%^ fast!"

Since I was aware of the problem of the unexpected, I read the book by Grantly Read, an English doctor who was aware of the number of women who deliver at unexpected times, often with no assistance. There were no other books available at the time. In fact most details about pregnancy and childbirth were not shared with non medical professionals at that time. While the book was primarily about Natural Childbirth, it dealt with things that most doctors didn't talk about. It was a great comfort to know that in an emergency I could handle the whole thing by myself.

All of the people who came in contact with me during labor and delivery were baffled by my calmness, the way I was breathing, counting and the apparent lack of pain without drugs of any sort. We had many interesting conversations about it. Unless there is a real problem, childbirth is not the awful experience so many women are led to expect. Fear and ignorance is what causes the tension that results in a long labor and pain. Of course if you do indulge in all the drama, you can make your hubby feel all sorts of guilt.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 3:44PM
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Excuse me, but just because you had easy births does not mean everyone else does.

"Indulge in all the drama?!!!"

Oh, geesh

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 4:35PM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

Fear and ignorance is what causes the tension that results in a long labor and pain. Of course if you do indulge in all the drama, you can make your hubby feel all sorts of guilt.

Wow, now THAT was a stupid and insulting comment.

You had easy, pain free labour. Many, MANY women do not and it's not out of fear or ignorance.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 4:55PM
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I would agree that all women are different... in fact, even females within the same species of different animals experience the whole thing differently... when it comes to their cycles, pregnancy, labor... and there are a million different variables!

Even canine females experience it all differently, from dog to dog... one of the reasons we always attended and supervised the births.

If the experience is/was easy and pain free for you, then you are/were very fortunate, indeed. Not every woman is quite so lucky.

However, I think that giving birth at home may be less stressful for some women, as it is a familiar environment... but I think such a decision has to be carefully thought about, weighing all the pros and cons and possibilities... and should be up to the individual.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 6:39PM
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tobr24u(z6 RI)

What about the spouse having a big say in this matter?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 6:50AM
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Sleeplessinfortwayne I really enjoyed reading your post. Grantly Dick-Read was certainly a pioneer for natural childbirth and helping women understand the process. I had my first using Lamaze and my second using Husband Coached Childbirth which is based more on Grantly Read's principles. So much better to be in tune with ones body throughout the process rather than focusing away from it as with Lamaze. At least that's my opinion.

My DD is expecting in May and I have passed on all the older books to her. She plans a hospital birth but wants to be prepared to fight to have it her way. Our biggest fears are all the unnecessary inductions and c sections. I was thinking of hiring a doula for her but her DH is so immersed in the process and so determined to learn all he can to "defend" her right to as a natural a birth as possible that I am no longer so concerned.

I had a long hard labor with the first and a short easy one with the second. But both labors had medical personal interfering and preying on fears to gain control.

Today the latest scam seems to be to convince new mothers to be their babies are getting "too large" and that they should A. Induce or B. schedule a c section. Hospitals over medicalize the entire procedure. The IV drip (just in case), the fetal monitor (just in case) routine episiotomies (just in case). No wonder more mothers are choosing home births.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 8:12AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Wildchild, thank you for getting it. You are right. The interference that makes a natural process into a strictly artificial one is not good. While there may be difficulties with some deliveries it is more rare than we are led to believe. Statistics and studies show we are exposing newborns to harm in too many cases. Possible problems can usually be identified during the pregnancy. I cringe when I hear about inductions and Cesareans being scheduled for the doctors or parents convenience. By that standard, all of mine would have been preemies by weight.

As for my comments on pain, I can assure you I do know what pain is. Childbirth doesn't begin to compare with nerve damage and I haven't needed to make a scene with either. Try reading a bit about controlling pain without medication or with very little. You may find your mind can be stronger than your fear and panic with a little training.

Pain becomes more intense if you feel you have no control.I have the deepest sympathy for those who suffer unremitting pain but understanding it is the first step to controlling it. It even makes medications much more effective.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 10:32PM
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Many birth difficulties have more to do with the baby's ability to fit through the birth canal than with the ability to deal with pain.

In my female line, female infants do not position their heads properly in order to utilize the compression potential of the fontanels. Consequently, although DS's head was shaped like a football at birth, DD's had a little "point" at the top instead--something you often see in newborn baby photos, but which I not have heard or seen explained anywhere. DS was 10 lb 6 oz and had a speedy delivery, whereas DD's was definitely not speedy. However, in the case of DS's birth, the uterus turned inside out as he emerged, and, again, if I had not been in a hospital delivery room where rapid surgical action could be taken, I would have bled to death. After DS's birth, DH's relatives revealed that one of his grandmothers had had several quite large infants, one of them weighing 13 pounds at birth. It is not just the genetics of the mother that count during childbirth; the graveyards are still full of old headstones of two or three women who were married and died in childbirth by the same man.

One is playing with life and death when one tries to avoid the medical system at critical life junctures. That is not to say, however, that an overly medicalized approach to childbirth is proper. DD finally crouched in a vertical position to deliver, something that the attendings were not particularly thrilled about--but there is much tradition behind that position in giving birth; birth stools were made to make that birth position easier in some cultures. Additionally, IMO there should be birthing locations separate from medical centers that treast infection, which also exclude those who themselves are carriers of infection. I had to share a hospital room with a roommate that had genital herpes when I had DS. It was not a pleasant experience.

If one has descended from a family line where most previous generations were allowed to die if they could not negotiate the birth experience with little assistance, one might be safe dong a birth at home. Otherwise, I don't recommend it.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 11:04PM
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With home births growing more popular in the U.S., the death of a home birth advocate who went into cardiac arrest during childbirth brings renewed attention to the debate over the safety of giving birth at home.

Caroline Lovell, who advocated for midwife funding and legal protection in Australia, died Jan. 24, a day after she was rushed to the hospital during labor, according to the Herald Sun newspaper. Lovell, 36, had planned a home birth and was believed to have been assisted by private midwives, the paper said.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which has 55,000 members, said in a statement last year that hospitals and birthing centers are the safest place to have a baby.

"Although the absolute risk of planned home births is low, published medical evidence shows it does carry a two- to three-fold increase in the risk of newborn death compared with planned hospital births," the college said.

Dr. Erin Tracy, head of the college's Massachusetts section, said pregnant women are generally healthy and most will be fine, regardless of where they deliver. It's the emergency cases -- when women need potentially life-saving surgery, blood products or medicine -- that make doctors worry about women delivering at home. The time is takes to get to a hospital often means the difference between life and death, she said.

Quite the decision to make. I know that hospitals are rife with germs but on the other hand, where better to be if there is a problem?

Here is a link that might be useful: source

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 10:53AM
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Tobr, I meant the individual family and doctor... historically, the male seems to have played the part, mainly, of pacing, worrying, hand wringing, waiting... and more recently, holding and operating the video camera... or standing by, ready to cut the umbilical cord... if he didn't faint first. ;-)

I'm not really up on the subject of home births, but I believe midwives do still exist... and historically, it was usually the elder and/or experienced female family members that attended to births... or the local midwife... before the advent of more modern medical facilities, doctors, and procedures.

The men, the husbands, were usually shooed out of the bedroom/delivery room, and the women or a midwife would take over. Of course, that was many, many decades ago.

Today, anything can happen... and while it's probably best to have emergency, knowledgeable persons and/or equipment on standby, if all appears to be normal and low risk, I don't see why a woman couldn't deliver at home.

What did women do before the advent of modern medicine?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 11:20AM
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david52 Zone 6

What did women do before the advent of modern medicine?

An awful lot of them died in childbirth.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 12:20PM
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Well, many women died before the advent of modern medicine, and too many babies died during childbirth, as well; however, many maternal deaths can be attributed to lingering infection. Those types of deaths are not emergencies that would kill a mother who delivers at home today.

Anyway, statistics prove again and again that homebirth with an educated midwife is a safe alternative. The key is proper prenatal care with all the same tests and scans that are available to other pregnant women. It is extremely, extremely rare to have an unexpected death during childbirth.

I know someone who came very close to dying due to eclampsia; however, that condition is monitored by midwives and any evidence of pre-eclampsia would dictate that the mother needs to give birth in a hospital.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 12:24PM
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"Anyway, statistics prove again and again that homebirth with an educated midwife is a safe alternative. The key is proper prenatal care with all the same tests and scans that are available to other pregnant women. It is extremely, extremely rare to have an unexpected death during childbirth."

Why take the chance, with something as important as the birth of a child? The modern technology is all there, in the hospital, to deal with any emergencies. There is no way the average person could afford to have all of that for their exclusive use outside of the hospital.

I had excellent prenatal care, and I had potentially lethal problems both times. No matter how rare complications are, that doesn't matter when it's YOUR OWN baby that might have died.

I would never advocate for anyone to take the risk on having a baby outside of a hospital unless, realistically, for geographical or other reasons, that was the only rational alternative. If I had agreed to DH's relocation to an area without a publicly accessible hospital with birth services, my first child might be dead or retarded now, and I would have died in childbirth with my second.

I can see already this is going to go the same way as the immunization thing, with home births being the trendy thing to do, until too many horror stories develop to scare people off again.

Apparently so many women historically dying in childbirth
does not faze some--but it should. The deaths were not all due to infection.

Remember, we have a population now that was born with adequate medical care. How many thinking to reproduce now are actually descended from those who lacked this care? Many of them might not be here to reproduce if they had lacked it at birth.

You are suggesting we go back to Darwinian selection, in which those unable to reproduce safely without modern medical care will die and therefore their genes will not be perpetuated.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 11:53PM
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I had an uneventful pregnancy but without immediate medical intervention my son would have died.

Though the new and frightening "hospital infections" that are raging now most certainly concern me (made everyone wash their hands for a full minute when they came into my room last year, most especially including all medical personel) I still would need to be with all the medical technology, RN and doctor available were I going to give birth today.

It's not just my own life and physical well being I would be responsible for with my decision, I figure the little person I gave birth to would also have the basic right to all that could be available to him, should he need it right away.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 12:01AM
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According to what I'm reading, the USA has one of the worst mortality rates for infant births... so, there's a gap not being covered, here, somewhere...

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 4:26AM
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A lot of that mortality rate has to do with women without insurance getting no prenatal care.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 8:54AM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

An awful lot of them died in childbirth.

David's right. Before the advent of decent medical intervention, the leading cause of death for women was childbirth. And Eibren is also correct. Due to medical intervention, the whole Darwinian natural selection was thrown out the window.

More women would have problems in childbirth now than they did before medical intervention. Hopefully we never have to go back to those times because we'd see a dramatic rise in maternal (and infant) mortality rates.

That said, I am not bashing home births. There are some very skilled midwives and hopefully a hospital is not too far away in case anything does go wrong.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 9:08AM
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Well, the good news is that our infant mortality rate isn't nearly what the statistics would have you believe.

In most other countries, a low-weight baby that is "live" at birth but will die is counted as a miscarriage even if the baby lives hours to a couple of days. Here in the U.S., if the baby lives for a few hours, that child is not counted as a miscarriage, but as an "infant mortality."

We actually make an attempt to save many more low birth weight babies in the U.S. than in other countries. Some of them die and are included in the infant mortality rates.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 9:22AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Thank you, bird lover6, for pointing out just one of the fallacies about infant mortality statistics. The whole thing is screwed up because so many things are not equal. The one that annoys me the most is that many countries cannot support the extensive care and intervention in pre-natal care that we see and expect here. Low birth weight is just one of the differences. I don't intend to present the research to prove the numbers but early intervention in problem pregnancies is practically an industry here and pregnancies that would normally have ended in miscarriage or spontaneous abortion are often carried to term or at least to a point where survival is possible. I know personally of quite a few live births that happened only because of medical intervention, some quite early in the pregnancy. Sadly not all of those children survived or thrived. It leads you to wonder if all that intervention was really something that should have happened when the survival odds are so low for that particular birth.

The loss of a child at any point, for any reason is a tragedy. It seems sometimes we are making it torture.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 3:40PM
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