Tori's Blog

Sparrow Hospital – Lansing, Michigan

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I felt extremely honored to have been so graciously received here. By design, Sparrow Hospital was the first stop on my 100 Hospital National Tour – promoting “Positive Pregnancy, Positive Birth”. The reason I am doing the tour is to bring awareness that all across the country, women are choosing to give birth “as they desire” in comfortable, supportive, and safe places. Birth centers and hospitals are indeed the safest place to give birth. There is simply no counter argument to the fact that “most of the time, things go well… but when they don’t, they don’t very quickly”.

There has been much celebrity promotion of home birth recently and as I professionally sorted out why this was, it became clear to me that the appeal of home birth, to many, is the inherent fear that a hospital birth cannot, or will not be intimate and personal.

I was received warmly at Sparrow and was hosted by John Lux, the Director of Communications. I spent the better part of an entire day with nurses, physicians, residents, and administrators, as well as meeting the CEO and President of the hospital. What I found at Sparrow was an exceptionally progressive facility with the best of the best in options for women. Options ranging from natural labor to epidurals, VBAC’s (vaginal birth after cesarean), vaginal twin delivery in the labor rooms, rooming in with the baby and exclusive breast-feeding.

Sparrow has a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery (NICU) and is at the forefront of the most current research-driven, evidence – based practice. It is also a Magnet hospital, which means that it has been awarded a status of excellence in nursing care, professionalism and a leadership system that promotes advance practice nursing and nursing satisfaction. This creates a high level of patient satisfaction.

I wish to openly thank all of the people I met at Sparrow for taking time out of their day to meet with me. I have heard repeatedly from those who argue that hospital birth in America today is less optimal than home birth, that because my practice is in a major urban center on the west coast, that my opinions are skewed and that “the rest of the country is not like California”.

I am certainly not naive and know (and will discuss) that not every community offers every option in birth choices. However, clearly in mid-Michigan, women can expect a wonderfully positive pregnancy and birth experience.

Your Comments

  1. And, to be clear, you are horribly WRONG about why people chose homebirth. It is rarely because “the appeal of home birth, to many, is the inherent fear that a hospital birth cannot, or will not be intimate and personal.” Most women chose homebirth because they don’t want the risk of intervention that is been proven higher in hospitals, especially attended by an OB/GYN. You make it sound as though women are afraid of not getting a personal experience and so they blindly decide to just give birth at home. However, if you REALLY do your research, you’ll find that most women who chose homebirth do so after a lot of research into what is safe and what is NOT safe and find that there are far more unsafe practices touted as “safe and routine” in the hospitals than there are when giving birth at home.
    The mortality rates are the same at home and in hospitals when attended by a CNM. However, morbidity rates are much lower in homebI’d love to see the research you did to come to the conclusion that women chose homebirth because they are afraid that the hospital won’t be personal enough.
    I’d also be interested in hearing who paid for your research and “tour”.

  2. I’m wondering how you think the studies proving the safety of homebirth both in the US and Europe factor in? The Cochrane Review found that “In some countries almost all births happen in hospital, whereas in other countries home birth is considered the first choice for healthy and otherwise low-risk women. The change to planned hospital birth for low-risk pregnant women in many countries during this century was not supported by good evidence. Planned hospital birth may even increase unnecessary interventions and complications without any benefit for low-risk women.”
    And the BMJ “Conclusions Planned home birth for low risk women in North America using certified professional midwives was associated with lower rates of medical intervention but similar intrapartum and neonatal mortality to that of low risk hospital births in the United States.”

    What evidence do you have that hospitals and birth centers are safer than homebirth attended by Certified Midwives?

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