Who homebirths? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-04-2008, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am wondering if homebirthers are a unique subset of the population. Are there any studies that compare the characteristics of homebirthers with non-homebirthers? I am talking about planned homebirth. I am thinking about accessibility of homebirth for all. It seems to me that most of the homebirthers I know are a very empowered, educated, thoughtful group of women.
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:34 PM
 
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I believe one study showed that we tend to be older and more educated. I personally fall into both of those categories. I'm 38 and I have a master's degree.
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:45 PM
 
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awww shucks.. I love the compliments...

FWIW when I had my HB...

I was 32, have a BS in one of the sciences...I also tend to be rather libertarian
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:49 PM
 
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Well I think a lot of us are those who have run the gauntlet of hospital birth and come out the worse for the experience and determined not to re-enlist for more of the same!

I'm 35, had my HBAC (home birth after c/sec) at 34, had my section at 31 (but went in thinking I was "safe" for natural birth because I was informed and had "medwives" ;P).
Ah well, live long learn late. But hospitals won't see me again unless I am in some danger that outweighs all the dangers that hospitals introduce.

Urban Homesteader, secular homeschooler, HBACer, sewing cloth maxipads, reading Diana Gabaldon, (rhymes with 'cobblestone') hoping for a Star Trek future rather than a Firefly one.
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:59 PM
 
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In my experience of meeting other homebirthers, we run the gammut. I personally am relatively young 28 with my 5th birth, conservative, Catholic, and have my BA as well previous Americorps experience which I think contributed to my tendency to question the status quo, something all homebirthing mamas do
One of the midwives I worked with has a great montage on the practice's website front page "Who has homebirth?" http://www.riverandmountain.net/
I need to get them to add Republicans ... but I think that's where they draw the line ;-)

Mom to DD 7, DS 6, DD 4.5, DD 2.5, DS 1.5 and expecting DD4 anyday now. Planning my second : and ready for fun!
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Old 11-05-2008, 12:03 AM
 
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I did a homebirth for my first, I only have an AS degree but have been in college for 6+ years and school is my hobby. I have enought credits for a masters or doctorate but they are not all in one subject area. I also have some Libertarian leanings. I think if some one did a poll they would have to split homebirthers into two categories. Those who choose to homebirth due to bad previous experience and those who choose it for other then do your stats from their. It would be interesting to see a study on this.

Livin' surf.gif Laughin' lol.gif Lovin' joy.gif - Just Me and Sammers, my homebirthin' little girl. 

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Old 11-05-2008, 12:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Cool montage, srlpenny!
I googled and found this

http://www.uptodate.com/patients/con...0l0wKntyU7Dhn1

It was taken from US vital statistics data.....looks like homebirth population tends to be older, white, more educated, nonsmoking, "native" born, and at term. More reported no prenatal care. The interpretation of this was that some were unplanned home births, but that some were undoubtedly planned with no "traditional" prenatal care.

What I am wondering is...is homebirth really accessible to all women? Or just the lucky few who manage to educate themselves? If homebirth tends to cater to a particular demographic, how to reach other women?
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Old 11-05-2008, 12:19 AM
 
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I am the odd ball out. I am young (25) and never finished high school.

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What I am wondering is...is homebirth really accessible to all women? Or just the lucky few who manage to educate themselves? If homebirth tends to cater to a particular demographic, how to reach other women?
I do not think homebirth IS accessible to all women. Until my midwife moved to town the one midwife who did homebirths would be very picky about who she cared for.

Then again, I do not think all women should homebirth. Some women really need the "safety" of a hospital in order to give birth. Some need obs because they are high risk. I am also finding that anyone and everyone has a story about a baby that died in a homebirth. It can be scary unless you really know you stuff.

Laura wife to Chris proud mommy to our lil monkey (c-section 6-10-06), our other lil monkey (HBAC 3-08-09) Our next and last son (due by HBAC mid July 2011) and our angel (10-03-04). My middle son has many severe food allergies.

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Old 11-05-2008, 12:20 AM
 
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What I am wondering is...is homebirth really accessible to all women? Or just the lucky few who manage to educate themselves? If homebirth tends to cater to a particular demographic, how to reach other women?
When you find out let me know because I believe that this is really the crux of the issue
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Old 11-05-2008, 12:56 AM
 
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I don't know - I'm young (25) but educated (BS in Biology). I had a relatively ok hospital birth, but I didn't feel in control and was bullied into a lot of dumb policies. I'd like to think that the homebirth crowd is more educated, but not necessarily in the traditional sense - from what I read on here we are definitely more educated on birth and the effects of all the interventions. I think of it as "intentional" parenting ~ we don't just go with the flow and accept everything that is told to us or done by the majority of people ~ we do our own research and make an informed decision.

I think it goes along with a lot of the other traits you see on this site, too - if you are choosing to not vaccinate, or to unschool, or to breastfeed, chances are you've done your research. There are certainly going to be people who don't vaccinate because it's trendy, or unschool because they're lazy (and I'm not talking about people here - it's parents I've met/heard of IRL). But the majority are informed about the benefits. Part of the reason is that you *have* to be! If you are constantly defending your decisions because they are uncommon, I bet you can spout off this or that study that shows the benefits

Sarah, loving wife to Michael (9/6/03), SAHM to my big girl Maya "Monkey" Grace (10/5/07) and my baby girl Charlotte "Bugsy" Mae (7/2/09) : :
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:54 AM
 
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I have NO clue where people hear so many stories of babies or mamas dieing in homebirths. It drives me insane.

Laura wife to Chris proud mommy to our lil monkey (c-section 6-10-06), our other lil monkey (HBAC 3-08-09) Our next and last son (due by HBAC mid July 2011) and our angel (10-03-04). My middle son has many severe food allergies.

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Old 11-05-2008, 02:54 AM
 
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masters degree, 37 with first hb, 42 for this one, liberal daughter of republicans, dubious of society & status quo - but I also had a disappointing hospital birth with first baby, and chose to follow more AP behavior after she was born ... at *that* point I was exposed to hb, but before, I think I was very mainstream about childbirth. (we did have a doula with that birth, at least, but my mom thought it was ridiculous - haha, she really thinks we're wacko now)

anyway, I have 3 very young friends - all are economically challenged, but they were so committed to natural birth that it was the only logical choice for them. D. is a poly-family mama who has 3 kids now, first one at 21 years old - 2 others were uc, partly because of economics. B. got knocked up right out of high school and got medicare to pay for a bc birth. C. is Morman and unschooled - 38 weeks pregnant now, she can't be more than 20. Her mom had all hb kids, as well as her DH, so it's the only thing she could imagine.

there are definitely 3 categories: older, younger, and those who had horrible hospital experiences.

Mama to 3 girls 12,8,3
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Old 11-05-2008, 02:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by G8P4 View Post
I am wondering if homebirthers are a unique subset of the population. Are there any studies that compare the characteristics of homebirthers with non-homebirthers? I am talking about planned homebirth. I am thinking about accessibility of homebirth for all. It seems to me that most of the homebirthers I know are a very empowered, educated, thoughtful group of women.
Most homebirthers are "birth educated" having read up on statistics and medical interventions, etc. They may or may not have had a previous hospital birth experience. Generally homebirthers tend to have a more holistic view of health and view pregnancy as a normal, physiological process.

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What I am wondering is...is homebirth really accessible to all women? Or just the lucky few who manage to educate themselves? If homebirth tends to cater to a particular demographic, how to reach other women?
Homebirth is NOT readily accessible to all women due to it's legal status in many states. The regulations placed on homebirth practitioners vary from state to state. In states where homebirth has alegal or illegal status finding a homebirth midwife can be a challenge. In states where homebirth is legal often payment by insurance companies is a barrier to families utilizing services.
Homebirth is accessible to those women who desire care and take the time to research and find a midwife or birth practitioner to attend their birth. They may face legal, economic or other barriers to homebirth though.

Summer: crafty mama to 2 little girls and wife to Bob
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Old 11-05-2008, 02:58 AM
 
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I am the odd ball out. I am young (25) and never finished high school.

I do not think homebirth IS accessible to all women. Until my midwife moved to town the one midwife who did homebirths would be very picky about who she cared for.

Then again, I do not think all women should homebirth. Some women really need the "safety" of a hospital in order to give birth. Some need obs because they are high risk. I am also finding that anyone and everyone has a story about a baby that died in a homebirth. It can be scary unless you really know you stuff.
You got that right! But if you are prepared, it is one of the most awesome things in the universe. To make a baby, grow it, birth it yourself, then nurse it, and if one homeschools, to educate that child, is a wonderful, great, humbling task. But it is so much fun! (most of the time)...Where in P'burg are you- we moved from there to here 3 years ago...I didn't know there was anyone else hbing in the Southside area...I was there for 20 years! My hubby is a native of P'burg....
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Old 11-05-2008, 03:17 AM
 
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You got that right! But if you are prepared, it is one of the most awesome things in the universe. To make a baby, grow it, birth it yourself, then nurse it, and if one homeschools, to educate that child, is a wonderful, great, humbling task. But it is so much fun! (most of the time)...Where in P'burg are you- we moved from there to here 3 years ago...I didn't know there was anyone else hbing in the Southside area...I was there for 20 years! My hubby is a native of P'burg....
We are living on halifax st. Hoping to move up to chester, to be closer to hubbys work.

Laura wife to Chris proud mommy to our lil monkey (c-section 6-10-06), our other lil monkey (HBAC 3-08-09) Our next and last son (due by HBAC mid July 2011) and our angel (10-03-04). My middle son has many severe food allergies.

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Old 11-05-2008, 07:01 AM
 
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I chose homebirh only after I had a hospital birth that left me feeling stripped of my power and dignity. I'm a conservative Christian, married young w/ high school education, had my first at 22 in the hospital and my 2nd at 24 at home with my midwives. My first was a planned hospital birth, though homebirth was offered to me by my Ontario midwives- I declined cause I thought homebirth was a little bit crazy. I ended up being transfered to an OB at 34 weeks due to PIH, thus the bad hospital birth experience. Planning another homebirth with baby #3 due in 9 days!

When I had my dd at home I didn't know anyone IRL who had a homebirth (besides my midwife!). Then my SIL decided to have a homebirth with her #3. And my little sister is planning a homebirth with her first baby in the summer! I seem to have started a movement!

Jewels & Jon (Married 11+ yrs)- Homeschooling, No Circ, BF, CD Mama to:
Alex 8 Gabby 6 (Homeborn!) Gideon 2.... chickens, ducks, cats and a dog
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:45 AM
 
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I tend to research every decision I make and then really think it through and yet trust my own instincts even with all the knowledge I attain through the research. Maybe it's just the type of person who is willing to trust themselves (mind AND body) and willing to work to make the right decision for themselves rather than just going along with the crowd?

And for what it's worth, I was 25 when I had my daughter (my first) at home. I have an M.B.A.
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:52 AM
 
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I have also known women who hb'd for financial reasons (such as Amish, Mennonite, others w/no insurance). And some who hb'd for religious reasons--mainly Christian and Muslim fams who wanted their pregnancies and birth care to be handled according to their god's design, not according to the 'doctor-gods'--and may have wanted to avoid men seeing the woman naked and such other things like that.
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:52 PM
 
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My first was a routine hospital birth, pregnant now with my second at 23, and some college.


I don't really define myself as strong and empowered YET, I feel this homebirth will lead me to define myself comfortably as strong and empowered.


I think because younger people are easily influenced, its not as common to find younger homebirthers. Its hard to not feel unsure about giving birth at home, when its not today's norm. But I followed my instincts, and knew there had to have been a better way. And when you know better, you do better.
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Old 11-05-2008, 02:14 PM
 
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just go visit Babygaga.com, where you'll be severely bashed for believing in natural birthing and homebirthing, and where everyone on there is very young, very uneducated, and very ghetto-dramatic.

of course, i'm exaggerating, but seriously- it seems to me like the girls (online) who hate HB so much and make ridiculous, non-factual statements about it are high school dropouts who can't spell worth a crap and who have the craziest "baby daddy" stories and who love the drama of rushing to the hospital.

that's just what i've noticed. women on this site tend to be incredibly intelligent and more mature.

(btw, i'm 30, college-educated, and about to have my first baby/ first home waterbirth any day now...)
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Old 11-05-2008, 02:17 PM
 
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I also have met women who HB because that's what their mother/family members did, therefore it's the norm in their family regardless of education, race, etc.
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Old 11-05-2008, 03:29 PM
 
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Well, I'm neither older nor more educated...I'm 25 and never went to college. But, I think I have this in common with most homebirthing women: I have the desire to LEARN MORE about birth and the human body in general, and my findings have led me to believe that homebirth is a better choice for me!

I have to agree with a PP, though, that homebirth is NOT accessible to all women. I knew that homebirth was an option when I was pregnant with my first, but I didn't really consider it an option for ME, and it was illegal in this state when I had my first child anyway so it would have required more footwork than I knew how to do at the time. The idea of homebirth in general is just beginning to make its way into the public eye, so it's not really something many women consider when they're pregnant, regardless of their opinion on it.
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Old 11-05-2008, 04:14 PM
 
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I also have met women who HB because that's what their mother/family members did, therefore it's the norm in their family regardless of education, race, etc.
count me in. my mother had all three of us at home with midwives. she was just a post-hippie (had her first, me in 1981), active feminist, vegetarian/macrobiotic and challenged the societal status quo in most ways so why not in her births?

i am 27 now 37 weeks pregnant and planning a homebirth. I had my first child at age 20 in a hospital and though i was very educated about birth me and DS were put through the hospital wringer and i don't want that again if i can help it.

I have an associates degree and other college under my belt and come from an educated middle/upper-middle class, politically liberal family.

homebirth is not financially accesable to most people. when i was 19 and pregnant i wanted a homebirth but could not afford the 2000-3000$ fee charged by the midwives in my area.
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:47 PM
 
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i'm 38 and have a master's degree from an ivy league university. i received scholarships all through college & grad school (my parents, although highly educated themselves, did not have any money).

i spent 10 years in a senior position in a very intellectually challenging profession before i had my first child, and became a SAHM.

i have learned so much about birth & parenting in the last few years that i truly believe the smartest place for a low-risk woman to give birth is at home. (i also believe there's a lot of self-education involved for such a woman to be comfortable with that choice)
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:53 PM
 
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Well I had my first homebirth when I was 16, married and a community college drop-out. I've had 3 successful home-births and have never had any mainstream pregnancy/birth care.

Even though I don't have any higher "education" degrees, I was unschooled and am a very empowered and intelligent person not caught up in the expectations and standards of society.

Laura

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Old 11-05-2008, 11:36 PM
 
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This is a really interesting thread. I'd never considered before that there could be a "type" of person more prone to homebirth, beyond the obvious fact that it's definitely not mainstream thinking. I'm generally not one to categorize those around me, but the student in me loves to play the role of observer and find little commonalities.

I'm a young mom too, my son was born this past January, just two months shy of my 22nd birthday. Totally planned, just like our homebirth (which I knew I wanted before we got pregnant). Actually, I remember my midwife telling me that it was pretty unusual for a young, first-time mom to have a home birth because the majority of women choose to stay home after having bad hospital experiences.
We had a great water birth (which was another thing I was told was 'unusual' for someone my age) and I'm grateful every single day that we were able to birth at home. It changed my life.
As for education, I completed my first year of university at 19 before moving and continuing my studies through distance ed. I enjoyed my psych, philosophy and women's studies courses, and took quite a few of them before setting my mind to a B.A. in honours English Literature. I'm taking a break to raise Oliver, and I plan to return within the next year.

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Old 11-06-2008, 12:25 AM
 
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Ok I guess I'm not technically a homebirther...yet, but I'll go ahead and answer because I'm determined that any future children will be born at home! I suppose I'm in the minority here...I'm 21, I've been with my DH for 4 years, and I have some college, but no degree. I definitely think I'm birth- educated though.

The main reason I will HB in the future as others have said is due to a traumatic birth experience at a hospital.

Very interesting thread
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:34 AM
 
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It is an interesting question, and the studies I've seen tend not to differentiate between planned and unplanned homebirths. I couldn't offer any hard, reliable data.
But from what I've seen, homebirthers tend to be intelligent, thoughtful and educated (either formally or self-taught). They clock untold hours researching everything they can on the science and politics of birth. They largely have faith in their bodies. They appreciate the existence of modern medicine in case their pregnancy becomes high risk. However, they don't blindly trust doctors to manage their childbirth, and often are distrustful of them, because they've done enough research to see that the current system is dysfunctional. They have homebirths because they think it's the safest and best choice for themselves and their child.
There is that really interesting split that I see here on MDC, where uber-liberal tattooed pagans and ultra-conservative right wing Christians see eye to eye on birth. I've often wanted to start that discussion.
I know we're not really supposed to talk about other specific forums, but gosh, when I read the comments on some of them, it just makes me sad.
I see mamas who can tell you every make and model of stroller at Babies R Us, but don't know the basic things their own bodies will do during labor, or the basic risks of things like elective inductions. All those "the dr said i would meet my baby today!!!" comments just make me want to cry.

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mamajen, I love this, what you said...

Quote:
There is that really interesting split that I see here on MDC, where uber-liberal tattooed pagans and ultra-conservative right wing Christians see eye to eye on birth. I've often wanted to start that discussion
I think that most women want to give birth somewhere where they feel safe. But I also believe that some women never even consider the idea of home birth. They just follow the mainstream without even thinking. It could be that people with out-of-mainstream views ( uber pagans and RW Christians) are already used to thinking outside the box.
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:07 AM
 
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Well. I'm 29 and working on my master's degree, but when I had my first HB, I was 21 and a college dropout. However, I have a hippie mother, and I was raised with a respect for nature and a healthy distrust of doctors - so that could explain things a little.
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