Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Some thoughts on Homebirth Safety

It was from my son's birth experience when I began to learn how often needless interventions are pushed in hospitals. I succeeded in a non-medicated, almost intervention free (AROM at 6 cm) birth in a hospital practice of midwives using Hpnobirthing (TM).  However I did not have supportive and respectful staff and ended up essentially fighting for the right to give birth under my own power without the midwives needlessly intervening. 

From this I learned that they are businesses who want to maximize the money that comes in and they do it by rushing women through by speeding up labor and/or cutting babies out which because it requires more equipment, more staff, more procedures bills more. The whole system is set up not to promote health and safety, but to promote efficiency and billable procedures (which includes NICU admissions).

The more I learn about midwifery, the more I see how homebirth midwives understand a great deal more about the physiology of birth than hospital birth attendants. Birth really does work best when its left alone (in 90%-ish of situations). I've lived based on that stat. There's a 90% chance that everything will be just fine at home, transfer services work for the remaining situations (and I always lived 10 minutes from the hospital I would transfer to). Midwives are trained in these situations (and since I'm studying those situations now, I'm impressed with the depth of knowledge expected from then).

One of my favorite ways to think about the safety debate is that the meaning of "as safe as hospital birth" means mortality wise. Women and infants do not have a higher likelihood of dying at a homebirth than at a hospital. Its just as safe in that way. However, homebirth is actually SAFER when taking into account morbidity (other ill health that does not lead to death but might bring a person close...) To women wanting to avoid hysterectomy, abdominal surgery, complications from surgery or anesthesia, PTSD, higher rates of infection, the manual cutting of their vaginal openings or severe lacerations to their perineums, etc: homebirth is considered much safer. Researchers down plays the morbidity thing so much. Its like they don't believe that those experiences aren't bad enough that a woman would go to great lengths to avoid them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am happy to find like-minded individuals. :) So much nonsense about homebirth exists... time to re-educate and dispel some rumors.