Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Re-discovering Home Birth

At the turn of the 20th Century, 95% of US women birthed at home, attended by a doctor or a midwife. By mid-1950s approximately 1% of women birthed at home. During the 1970s a home birth revival movement began with women realizing that births, in fact, most births don’t require hospitalization.

In the second decade of the 21st Century, a growing number of women are staying home to birth their babies. So many that the movement has reached main stream media. One news source recently reported a 20% increase in home birth.

As any woman who have had a baby in the hospital will tell you, the experience is turned into a medical procedure with clinicians coming & going, medical intervention (and increased insurance billing) just moments away regardless of the situation.

Women are questioning the medical involvement in birth and many are choosing to forgo the unnecessary procedures for a natural birth. The best way to insure the least amount of medical intervention is to skip the trip to the hospital.

Certainly this is not a promotion for risky behavior. If there are complications involved, by all means get the help needed. But be aware of the statistics.

C-sections are more likely to happen in the hospital. Depending on the particular hospital c-sections are 30 – 60% of births. Home-births with complications requiring transport and c-section are 3% of births.

Attendance in a hospital is often the floor nurse and the on-call physician unless you keep a appointment with a scheduled birth. You’re likely not to know anyone in the room behind the many masks that come and go.

With a home-birth the midwife attends the mother until & through the birth. In most cases, unless there an another birth, the midwife stays for a while after the baby arrives to insure a good start for mother and baby.

Cost for homebirth is a $3,000 - $4,000 for a midwife including all the pre-natal and post-natal visits. OB-GYN attended hospital births start at $10,000 and only go up.

As for this author:

Three of my four children were born at home. I believe each woman needs to educate herself to decide how she wishes to birth her babies.

I had a horrible and completely unnecessary c-section experience in 1981 at age 18. When I found I was pregnant in 1991 at age 28, I did my homework & decided to have my baby at home. It was difficult to find a midwife who would help with a VBAC but well worth the research and interviewing. There was no comparison between the two experiences. So it was easy to decide to have my subsequent children in the comfort of my own home.


Feminist Breeder
Home Birth Kits
La Leche League

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