Inspiring natural, happy, healthy families!

Why Home Birth? More like Why NOT Home Birth! February 28, 2011

Filed under: Pregnancy and Birth — My Natural Family @ 5:22 pm

We had our first-ever class all about the benefits of home birth at the store on Saturday and it was AWESOME.  I’ll start off by saying I was a huge home-birth-nay-sayer not too long ago.  I thought it was a novel idea, but the perceived degree of danger I had associated with giving birth made it seem like an irresponsible, life-threatening choice that only the craziest of parents would make.

Then I educated myself.

Turns out if you are healthy woman, giving birth without surgery or pain killers is pretty risk-free.  Our bodies were designed to do it.  It’s nature.  There is a reason our species survived for so long before we started giving birth in hospitals.  Now it is a fact that home birth is not for every one, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Some women will truly have high-risk pregnancies if they encounter such health problems as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, hemophilia, or preeclampsia to name a few, and in these cases any good midwife will test you for such problems and disqualify you as a candidate for a home birth.  In cases such as these, I thank God every day for advances in modern medicine and skilled surgeons who can perform cesarian-sections on women who in earlier times would have either lost their life, their baby’s life, or both.  There’s also the simple fact that you might be too nervous or anxiety-ridden about the idea of having a birth at home, in which case the calming effects of home-birth would be completely negated it just wouldn’t be worth it.

That being said, the truth of the matter is that most women don’t need these modern medical interventions.  Our media has taught us to believe that labor is an unbearable pain that no sane woman would want to endure, and that giving birth is one life-threatening disaster after another just waiting to happen.  If you watch “Deliver Me” or “A Baby Story” you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Crazy thing is, more often than not it are these very “advances” in medicine that cause problems during labor that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.  Here’s how it goes down: you come in to the hospital at the beginning of your labor.  The nursing staff offers you an epidural right away.  This epidural causes your contractions to stop so they give you pitocin to increase them again.  The more intense contractions caused by the pitocin makes you want to beg for another epidural and they give it to.  Guess what?  Your contractions lessen again they give you more pitocin.  This continues and the up-and-down internal environment is causing your baby’s heart-rate to drop.  Because you are on a constant fetal heart monitor, your doctor says this drop in heart rate means your baby is distressed; the cord could be wrapped around his neck and we’ve got to get him out as soon as possible!  An emergency c-section is performed, and everyone says “Thank God the doctor was here to save your baby’s life.” (As a little side note, the cord being wrapped around your baby’s neck doesn’t mean anything.  Babies don’t breathe through their mouth/lungs in utero, so as long as the umbilical cord isn’t compressed in a way that cuts blood flow to the baby, it could  be wrapped around your baby’s entire body and it wouldn’t cause any danger…but I digress.)

This is not to paint doctors and nurses as evil-doers lurking at your bedside, trying to get you to have the scariest experience of your life.  I’d say just about all of them are wonderful people who want what’s best for you and your baby.  Only problem is, they are trained to believe that what’s best for you and your baby is as much intervention as possible.  They are taught how to handle emergencies and disastrous mishaps that can occur during birth (thank goodness, right?) but with that are taught that every pregnancy should be treated as high-risk.  And if you want to have a totally natural birth, good luck.  Nature takes a while…sometimes with her first child a woman’s labor can last over 72 hours…and hospital staffs do not want that.  Again, it’s not that they’re heartless, but hospitals have a business to run and you taking up a bed for 3+ days cuts in to their profits.  They’ll “kindly suggest” (and that’s putting it nicely) pitocin or even a c-section to get things moving, citing that if your labor is taking that long it means something is wrong and your baby’s health is in danger.

Now that’s not to say that a long labor never indicates something that’s wrong: you could have a calcified cervical band that keeps your cervix from dilating past 7-8 inches in which case, yeah, you’re going to need a c-section because there’s no other way that kid’s getting out.  But for the times where there is nothing wrong and you want a totally natural birth, long labor and all, you are going to have a hard time achieving this at a hospital.

So I suppose the question is, what happens should something like the aforementioned “band” occur, or, God-forbid, a prolapsed cord while at home?  You have a good midwife who also has a good, efficient transfer plan in place.  You prepare ahead of time and make a relationship with a doctor who will act as your back up in the hospital should you need them.  Occurences like these are VERY rare, but it is wise to plan for them.  At the end of the day, research shows that having a home birth, if you are in good health and attended by a certified professional, is just as safe as a hospital birth.

Why have my husband and I decided that a home birth is the  best choice for us?  Because we want my husband to be involved in and needed during the labor and birth, not relegated to a chair in the corner of the room.  Because I want to get to hold and breast feed my baby right after it’s born instead of an hour later.  Because we trust that my body is capable of doing what nature intended.  Because I want to be in the comfort of my own home and feel like I am in control of what is going on with my body.  Like I said earlier, home birth is not the best choice for everyone, and no one should ever be made to feel guilty for making the choice that is best for their family (be it hospital or home).  But know that it is a choice…a perfectly legal choice even here in Nebraska where people will tell you otherwise…that is a beautiful, empowering option.


6 Responses to “Why Home Birth? More like Why NOT Home Birth!”

  1. Katie Says:

    Beautifully written! So bummed we missed the class but we will definitely be there next time!

  2. JS Says:

    I don’t understand your conclusions about home birth based on the negatives you gave about hospital birth with many interventions. Why would your husband be “relegated to a chair in the corner of the room” or why would you have to wait an hour to breast feed your baby at the hospital? Is this just with a C-section? Your negatives about hospital seemed to be about what happens if someone receives pain medicine and then is given pitocin and then a C-section. What about natural birth in the hospital with an involved husband and then placing baby right on mom after birth? I understand that you want the comfort of your own home and that obviously can only be received at home but the other drawbacks you mention at the hospital I think are quite avoidable.

    I would have really liked more info on who can attend home births in Nebraska but then again I was out of town for your class so I missed that.

    I had my baby in the hospital, the nurse helped my husband be more involved, we arrived when I was in transition after laboring at home for 12 hours. Immediately after birth she was placed on my chest and the nursed tried to help her latch on before she was wiped off or weighed or anything. The assessed her while she was on me for APGARs. I’m open to home birth for future babies and have read positive stories about home birth.

    I am not trying to be negative about your blog post but I just did not follow your logic or conclusions.

    • I am so happy to hear you had such a wonderful experience with your hospital birth! You raise a good point that if you are at a hospital and are not only allowed but encouraged to have an intervention-free birth by the staff it can be a great experience. I’d love to know at which hospital you gave birth and who your doctor was so we can recommend it others seeking a natural experience in a hospital setting. It definitely helped that you labored at home for so long 🙂 If you want a completely natural birth, it will be a bit harder to acheive if you go to the hospital at the very beginning of your contractions.

      One of the biggest reasons women choose homebirth (especially in this area) is the tendency of local hospitals to not support or encourage the natural birthing process, and to make it an issue you have to fight for. Some local women have even had the experience of being given pitocin without being asked. It sounds like you had an amazing nurse; the fact that she encouraged and allowed your husband to be involved with your labor is both awesome and rare. Most (but not all) maternity nurses insist that having a birth plan is harmful and prefer the woman to stay attached constantly to a fetal heart monitor, making it impossible for the woman to move through her labor and for the husband to move with her.

      It is also fantastic that you were allowed to bond with your baby immediately after the birth (again, I’d really like to hear about which hospital you used and who your nurse was!). Many women at the class had the experience of not getting to hold their baby after delivery, for some up to a whole hour while their baby got weighed, measured, tested, footprined, cleaned and tested again.

      Thanks for sharing a story of a positive hospital birth. My biggest hope is that women are aware of the realities of both situations and know what to do and what to insist on if they want a natural birth experience (whether they are in a hospital or not).

  3. JS Says:

    Thank you! I delivered at BryanLGH East (Lincoln, NE), my nurse’s name was Julie (no idea of her last name). We didn’t tell the hospital we were on our way, we didn’t even think about it so it’s not like we even asked for a nurse who was comfortable with natural birth. My MD is Dr Sayers, he is a family practice physician with Family Medicine of Lincoln. I had submitted my birth plan when we pre-registered and really I think we got about everything we wanted. I really do think that staying home as long as we did helped.
    I would recommend Dr Sayers, he’s my daughter’s pediatrician now and I plan to keep him as my MD for my next pregnancy, too.

  4. Nancy Says:

    I had my daughter, intervention free at Bryan as well. We were very supported and everyone there told me how awesome I was doing the whole time. My husband and doula were incredibly involved and I could not have done it without them.
    My doctor is Dr. Svjetlana Dziko with The Women’s Clinic of Lincoln. She is super awesome and worked a little magic on both of my kids when I think other doctors would’ve recommended a c-section.
    If you want a med/intervention free birth but find that home birth is not for you, there are fabulous people here in Lincoln who will help you get the birth that you want.

    • Kasi Says:

      @ Nancy,hopefully you see this, I have Dr. Dziko as well and am due in January.I was just wanting to talk with someone that has had Dr. Dziko deliver their baby. If you see this email me at

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