Seventeen years of experience as a certified nurse-midwife confirms what my heart tells me:
The best place to give birth is at home.
Women have been giving birth at home since the beginning of time. Moving birth into the hospital this past century has not been an improvement. I didn’t always believe this.
My experience, both personal and professional, however, confirms it. While I’m grateful for modern medical capabilities including surgery, antibiotics, blood transfusions, anesthesia, and testing, those capabilities are used far too often simply because they are available, not because they are necessary.
Cesarean section, labor induction and augmentation, forceps and vacuum, narcotic analgesia, and spinal/epidural anesthesia are overused in hospital births. The current cesarean section rate alone in the United States is 32%.
More than one in three women gives birth surgically in the United States. That’s an unreasonably large number of operative births!
The hospital environment, unfortunately, can be very disempowering.
I learned about this from my mother, who worked as a public health nurse for many years. She periodically worked weekends, on-call. My siblings and I rode in the car with her as she drove from house to house, seeing patients. I remember my mother telling me that it was in their homes that she really got to know her patients.
She much preferred working with people where they were in charge, where she was an invited guest. By contrast, she didn’t like witnessing what happened to people when they were hospitalized. They lost themselves. They felt intimidated by the hospital environment, disempowered, different.
So it is with many laboring/birthing women. So it was with me, during my own experiences giving birth in a hospital. Once a woman steps foot into a hospital it’s accepted that she’s no longer in charge. She’s on “their” turf. All it takes is one unsympathetic nurse, midwife, physician, and she’s in a battle for control. This is not what any mother wants to be confronted with while in labor.
Without necessarily realizing it, hospital staff members too often play the “fear” card:
“If you don’t do X,Y,Z…you’re in danger of harming your baby.”
No mother or father wants to harm the baby. So, way too often, and contrary to their own inner sense of what they want, mother and/or father succumb to outside pressure for unwanted, and unnecessary, medical interventions.
These interventions range from:
Routinely one intervention leads to another.
The fact is that comprehensive research on the safety of home birth indicates that planned homebirths, in the care of a qualified health provider, achieve superior outcomes, with no increase in risk to mother or baby, and with far fewer medical interventions than hospital births.
The research confirms what makes intuitive sense: Birth is a natural process, and healthy, laboring women rarely need much if any medical intervention.
Women birth best with loving support, in the privacy, peace, familiarity, and comfort of their own homes. Labor and birth can be one of the most incredible, amazing, and powerful moments in a woman’s life; an experience that should not be taken from her.
Babies born into safe, loving arms at home are generally healthier and happier. At home labor can follow it’s own pace. It doesn’t need to be rushed or placed on a timeline. Mothers instinctively know what’s best for themselves and their families. And finally, breastfeeding is more successful when it is initiated at home.
I had to experience two unsatisfying hospital births before I decided to give birth at home. I often confess to first-time mothers who have chosen home birth (sans unhappy hospital experiences) that I admire those qualities that have led them to consider home birth in a culture that does not support it.
These women and families are different. They learned, in a way I didn’t initially, to think outside the box.
I’m delighted to be providing home birth services to women and families in Upstate New York. I’m committed to a holistic model of care. This model is based on forming close, honest, open, trusting relationships with my clients, so that I can provide the support they need during this amazing time in their lives.
I provide support, information, and experience. Your birth, your way.