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Home birth popularity

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hello all! I am doing a research paper for one of my classes. I have decided to focus on the rising popularity of homebirth. My first child was a hospital birth and then I managed to stumble upon a friend who was researching homebirth for her third child. I was also pregnant with my second and was imagining the mental pain and helplessness I felt during DD's labor and delivery so I read one of her books. I was so interested I decided to do my own research and learned of the many dangers of having a hospital birth and all the freedoms having a home birth. So my question is to those who have had a home birth, why did you choose it ? Also, if anyone has any resources I can look into that would be greatly appreciated. I am just gathering information and of course I won't use anyone's names, even fake. But if anyone wouldlike to help me in an indepth way please PM me and we can talk. Thank you!
post #2 of 17
some books off the top of my head:

immaculate deception II s. arms
homebirth s. kitzinger
birth as an american rite of passage (i love this book!) r. davis-floyd
thinking woman's guide to a better birth h. goer
obstetrical myths vs. research realities h. goer

you can check out the mehl study for matched hospital/hb outcomes and safety....gentlebirth.org has great resources, too. mana.org

i picked hb b/c i have a holistic view of birth now.....first birth nightmare in the hospital. sorry, little ones at my feet...gotta run.

all the best,
post #3 of 17
You might want to cross-post on the homebirth forum.

When I was first pregnant I started out going to see an OB at the hospital where I was insured. From start to finish it felt wrong, wrong, wrong. I mean, he was a nice enough guy. But I just got a very weird vibe from the whole situation. When the doctor was done with me I was supposed to schedule another appointment, and I remember walking through the waiting room (the receptionist was away from her desk) and just feeling like I had to get out of there. I half-expected the receptionist to come running after me yelling "wait, wait! You have to schedule an appointment!" It felt like I was escaping. Silly, I know, but the feeling was there nonetheless. As I was walking back to the car I knew with complete certainty that I would not be going back, though I didn't have a plan in mind for what I would do.

I think it was probably always in the back of my mind that homebirth was an option, because my SIL had had a homebirth. I wasn't at all interested in the why or how at the time -- when I walked out of the doctor's office was the first time I had considered not having a hospital birth. But now homebirth popped into my mind as a possibility. So in the beginning it was really about finding something that felt more right. I didn't know that hospitals are germ-ridden and uncomfortable, that obstetrical management so often leads to iatrogenic complications, that the hospital environment is stressful. In fact, I had had this fantasy of how exciting it would to rush to the hospital in labor, and then have all this attention heaped on me, then have people visit me afterwards and bring me flowers while I lounged in bed. :LOL But none of that was relevant initially in making my decision. It was all about that intuitive feeling I had at the clinic, that this situation was not right.

After my first birth I started doing research, and began to understand that my intuitive feeling could actually be intellectually supported. At first I focused on the problems with the obstetric model of care and the hospital environment, but eventually came around to where I am now, which is the belief that the monitoring, guiding, and observing of labor is not conducive to the body functioning normally, in an instinctive, spontaneous, healthy way, in birth and postpartum.

So now my choice to give birth at home is based mostly on that. Some sources I would recommend are Michel Odent and Sarah Buckley (she has a great article on the Mothering site.) Some other writers that have been influential to me are quoted in my birth website, link below.

If you have any other questions, feel free to PM or email me!
post #4 of 17

In a word: safety.

In a sentence, after a great deal of soul searching and research, I had to conclude that during birth, my own home was the safest place for both myself and my babe: emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically.
post #5 of 17
My mom had her first in a hospital. After that, she swore she'd never have another baby in a hospital again. So my sister and I were born in an early version of a birth center, my two brothers at home. She never said anything scary about hospitals, just that she had to fight every time she wanted to see her baby and that it was hard to stare through a window, watching her baby cry and feeling helpless (they did the 4 hour feeding regimen back then).

My sister had her baby in a hospital. I only saw her afterward, but the room felt..cold, like a hotel room. Like you were visiting someone else's home. The baby was in a plastic bin. It really lacked a feeling of love and closeness that I felt should have been there.

When I got pregnant with my first, I saw my OB (initially to get a pg test). After they called me with the results, they scheduled me for an insurance/intake type thing. My dh came with me. He was the only man in the waiting room. The nurse shook his hand at the beginning and from that moment on, acted like he wasn't there. I didn't make an appt when we left. I wanted a provider that would include my dh in the pregnancy, not make him feel like he didn't belong. I knew I'd be seeing the nurses way more than the Dr. so that was an issue. Then I was talking about it at work and found out that a co-worker had the same Dr. for her births. She had an emergency c/s and he cut her vertically, inhibiting her chances of ever having a VBAC. He could not give her a clear reason why afterwards. That REALLY scared me. I also knew already that the eye ointment they put on babies in the hospital was for maternal STDs. I didn't want to fight anyone about not having goop in my baby's eyes and not having them whisked away to a nursery, etc. I didn't want a birth experience where fear of having my baby taken from me played a key role.

So I started thinking about my mom's births and decided to interview some mws and see how I felt. We loved the first mw we interviewed and from that point on, everything just felt right. She informed us of the pros and cons of each test, etc., but let us make the decisions. I never felt that she used a fear tactic on me. My baby was born quickly and lovingly at home and 3 hours afterward we were all snuggled into our own bed with the morning sun shining in our window. My dh was concerned at first, but quickly became an advocate. He loved that he felt so comfortable during my labor. I'll never have a baby in a hospital. (Unless of course there is a truly valid medical reason )
post #6 of 17
I never wanted to have children because of my fear of labor! I have heard so many horror stories (about episiotomies, c-sections, vaccums and similar) from my mom, cousins, TV etc, that I feared labor for many years!

When I found out I was PG I almost aborted my DS because of that fear!!! But ironicly I feared abortion as much as lobor :LOL
I have had so many bad experiences with dr's and hospitals that I could be here for days talking about them. I have literally grew up in dr's offices and hospitals and was fed with antibiotics.
I spent last 9 years puting my health back together with homeopathy and the help of other alternative medicine. And I knew I did not want my DS to start his life in hospital with medications with his eyes, his heel being pocked at and vaccinated.....

So I knew I would NEVER birth in hospital from the very begining. If I was to have that child the only choice for me was homebirth.
Then I read the book "Thinking women's guide to a better birth" and ALL my fears about giving birth were GONE! I was finally free and looking forward to have my baby! I had absolutely ZERO fear and fealt very safe during my labor.
My mom was there and she said she has never experienced anything like that before. SHe was worried about me during my labor, of course, she is my mom, but she said: "when I saw the midwives just sitting there and watching you, and being so calm and peaceful - I knew you were in best hands!" It was wonderful experience and the best choice for me and my family.
post #7 of 17
Giving birth anywhere but in my home never even occured to me. I guess I am a hippie-type and always on the left side of things but honestly, giving birth ,in my opinion, is not a thing which needs to be medicalized (in a healthy pregnancy). It is a thing to be celebrated with the family and friends you choose-- not a hospital staff 'tracking' your behavior and progress.
okay, I hope that makes some sense, I am due for a homebirth any day now and thinking is somewhat of a difficulty at this point....
post #8 of 17
Why make life unneccisarily (sp) complicated?

Sure, if I had a high risk pregnancy, I'd go to see a doctor. But since I'm healthy, there was no reason to consult with a surgeon (which is what OBs are).

It's just like anything else in life. When I have a cold, I stay at home for a few days, take it easy until I'm feeling better. I don't rush into a hospital, so they can monitor my condition "in case something goes wrong." It would be overkill.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
anne, that's actually a agood point. I didn't think about it like that
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 


So it seems like the ability to labor your way was one of the governing influences. I am going to reference some statistics and I am also going to use a great book I just finished reading called the baby catcher by Peggy Vincent. She really stated why women birthed at home well. Thanks for everyone's help!
post #11 of 17
I was in a class where we were assigned to read Christiane Northrup's Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom. The stuff about birth and a report someone did on different birth traditions really got me thinking.

Then I found Sense and Sensibility in childbirth in a bookstore, and I learned about the cascade of interventions.

The whole business of being on your back for labor, which is really about the convenience of the Doctor, just didn't make any sense to me. My cousin had been at a birth and came back appalled because the nurses wouldn't let the mother squat.

That was when I decided I wanted a homebirth, and I knew I also wanted waterbirth from the minute I heard about it.

I got more info as I went along, about safety, and fetal monitoring, and the culture of the local hospitals, which is all about pushing back when the nurses feel pushed by parents with birth plans, but that is really just icing.

The decision came from knowing I didn't want to give birth on my back, I wanted to do what was comfortable when it was comfortable supported by women who believed in me.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

Can I use your quotes?

Hey can I use the following quotes from you ladies. I will put that when researching the why of homebirth, women I spoke to had these comments-
I wanted to do what was comfortable when it was comfortable supported by women who all believed in me
it's just like anything else in life when I get a cold I stay home for a few days. I don't rush into the hospital so they can monitor "in case something goes wrong" it would be overkill
i never felt she used a fear tactic on me
in reference to a mw on testing. OH yea, and that OB's will seem willing to do natural births then do a switcheroo. Not something she wanted to risk. I am almost done with my essay. It kind of turned into a personal narrative but I think my point will be made and well received. I hope
post #13 of 17
Hospitals are for sick people.

Hospitals are place where some people go to die.

When a woman has a baby she is not sick or dying. She just needs alittle help, support, and encouragement to get through the natural process.

Hospitals are notorious for germs and other unhealthy things. Why would anyone want to go there to have a baby unless they really needed the technology and science provided there?
post #14 of 17
My first was born at a freestanding birth center, and I think for that birth it was the right decision.

But for my second, I only considered homebirth. We had moved to a state with no birth center (New Jersey) and the closest one was IMO too far away and just not worth it. I didn't even know if NJ allowed homebirths, but there was NO WAY I was going to a hospital. Why should I? I knew what I could do. My second birth was probably the best experience of my life. And I think being at home contributed to that a lot. I was where I was comfortable.

There were so many differences between my birth center birth and my home birth. I don't remember my midwives even using a fetoscope/doppler at home, I was only checked once - at my request, and probably the most important was that I knew my two midwives intimately. I had seen them, and only them, my whole pregnancy. With my first birth, I got the midwife on call who I had seen for only a couple of appointments, and two nurses I had never met. And one of them made me extremely uncomfortable. My homebirth was surrounded by people who knew *me* and because of that I let go of any fear I had.

Incidentally, the birth itself was amazing. DH caught our 9 lb baby boy who was born in the caul. DS was also full OP. Fast labor, squatting birth, no tears.
post #15 of 17
I considered homebirth for my first, but once I saw dh's reaction to a mention of it I quickly put it out of my mind and researched birth centers. Only one in Indiana and it was over an hour away and I was due in January. So, dh talked me out of it. Long story short, I was put on bedrest for a week and induced at 38 weeks for PIH... my bp was a whoppin' 130/80. I was made to stay in bed because I was induced... no shower and no walking (so I went potty a lot ). An extremely unsupportive nurse and I had a lovely episiotomy and my pelvic floor muscles were incredibly sore from pushing in the lithomy position (a wonderful position for an OB to cut your perinium, eh?).

For our second, I had state insurance (dh had just started a new job and we weren't insured yet)... I wanted a homebirth and just didn't know how to get it. At 15 weeks, the OB did a pap even though I had already had one a few months prior, left the speculum in while she dug around in drawers for a Q-tip and I was SO sore and felt SO violated afterwards. I started actively researching homebirth and read books such as The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth and convinced dh to look into it. I went for my u/s four weeks later and left without seeing the other OB. I never went back and they never called me either! A coworker was planning a homebirth and invited me to her prenatal and I loved the mw. Long story short, I had a homebirth. I loved it and even though it had some interventions (I had two internals and allowed her to break my water at 9cm) it was a wonderful birth.

I truly can't wait for the next birth because I know I can do it.
post #16 of 17
My decision was based primarily on one thing: I don't' like people telling me what to do.

When I had my first child, in a hospital, I didn't feel in control. Almost nothing on my birth plan was honored except for my wish for no IV and no epidural.

For my 2nd child, I knew that I wanted to be at home so I could experience the birth the way I wanted to. And I did!

DS age 5
DD age 5 months, waterbirthed at home
post #17 of 17
Originally posted by busybusymomma
At 15 weeks, the OB did a pap even though I had already had one a few months prior, left the speculum in while she dug around in drawers for a Q-tip and I was SO sore and felt SO violated afterwards.
Oh, Good God! I believe it, because I've been on the receiving end of similar treatment by 'compassionate' medical staff. It feels sometimes as if they regard you as little more than the box the baby comes in. My surgeon was busy making loud demeaning small talk with the other staff while he stiched me up after my section. I wouldn't have cared so much except that he had the balls to 'shush' me when I asked the nurse how long it would be before I could see my daughter again. But he had important weather to discuss, so that made it ok.

Anyway, I went the HBAC route because my hospital VBAC was such a nightmare of interventions, I wanted to avoid them at all costs. At first I was a bit worried. It did seem like a drastic step to my still fairly pro-hospital eyes (my VBAC team was really good to me). However, once I did the research, it was clear that I was in much more danger of having a wholly avoidable and unecessary c-section foisted on me than actually being in a situation where I might truly require one. That's when it hit me:

Why am I going to the hospital?
I'm going in case I need a medical intervention that I can't get at home, like pitocin or a c-section.

What might cause me to need a medical intervention like pitocin or a c-section?

What are the honest odds of XYZ occurring?
Less than 1% in most cases, less than 2% in all cases.

What are the honest odds of my getting a medical intervention like pitocin or a c-section anyway? Somewhere between 98 and 100%

And that was that. I ended my 42week pregnancy with a 4hr spontaneous labor and a very healthy baby boy, on my big comfy sofa. No one's ever been able to throw a "what if" scenario at me that could hold a candle to the local c-section rate, which since they banned VBACs at 2 major hospitals, is close to 40% (although the 1 in 4 national rate is nothing to sneeze at either). Furthermore, the pitocin rate is in the 90's; they're inducing or augmenting nearly every pregnant woman that waddles through their doors. Having my baby at home was the smartest, safest, sanest choice for us and I would do it again in a minute.
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