Back To The Homebirth DiscussionSunday, January 24th, 2010
After last week’s blog I received quite a few emails and a post here responding to the article I discussed about Tracey Hermanstorfer in Colorado who nearly lost her life during childbirth. A few of them responded by saying that her respiratory and cardiac arrest were actually the “result” of her being in the hospital. Furthermore, as you can see by the comment here, that it was, in fact, caused by her having had an epidural. I strongly urge you to see my response to that comment. Sadly, this sort of dialogue yet again outlines the lack of knowledge that the general public has about health matters.
I am going to focus on the discussion of homebirth and “natural” childbirth for the next several days. I continue to support well-structured homebirths and I have attended numerous homebirths. That means a birth attended by a Certified Nurse-Midwife with physician backup or by a physician, in very close proximity to a hospital.
There is research that shows that the safety of labor and birth in a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy and birth is the same whether the baby is born at home or in a hospital. Neither being BETTER. Yes, giving birth in a hospital involves the use of such things as electronic fetal monitoring, however, the maternal/fetal outcomes (as well as the level of maternal satisfaction) have been shown to be the same. I didn’t make this up. It is good research, not empirical data. And, of course, there is no argument that any normal labor or birth can change in an instant.
Unfortunately, the discussion becomes an “either/or”, “you pick a side of the fence” dialogue. Blanket criticism towards a birth-center or hospital birth seems to be fair game but the mere act of asking tough questions and pointing out not just the possible, but also the very real dangers of homebirth is considered to be “defensive and threatened”. Sounds like politics to me. Let’s dissect this a little more.