Tori's Blog

More on Homebirth

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Several days ago I posted a blog about homebirth and as frequently happens with any challenging comment on it, I was slammed by some for “being part of the medical establishment and defending it”. Interestingly enough, I wonder if those same people actually even read my post or followed the links that further outlined the points I was making.

I am going to focus on the discussion of homebirth and “natural” childbirth for the next several days.   For clarity, I certainly do support well-structured homebirths and  I have attended numerous homebirths. There is also significant 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 solid research, not empirical data.

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.

The sole reason I wrote my book, The Joy of Pregnancy, is that, in recent years, I have seen such an increase in the worry, the anxiety, and the “fear” surrounding pregnancy and birth. Not only the anxiety of the process itself but that of “doing the right thing”, and “making the right decisions”. Having an expectation that things should “be a certain way” in order to be a positive experience is an enormous and unfair burden to place on a woman at such a special and meaningful time. Where has the “lightness”, the joy, and the humor gone in this incredible experience? My goal is to help women feel reassured in the process, to trust it, yes, but also to allow themselves to let go of the control of how it “should be”. Acts of nature do not move a particular way because we tell them to.

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