5 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Home Birthing Mama

Home Birthing MamaChildbirth, like raising children, is one of those subjects on which nobody can resist sharing their opinions or imparting their wisdom upon you – regardless as to whether they have actually had children or not.

Luckily, when I was pregnant, I rarely received comments that were negative or patronising. However, from reading forums and facebook pages that deal with matters of birth, it’s clear that my experience is in the minority.

So, for anybody reading this who knows someone who’s planning a home birth, here are 5 of the things you could say that are neither helpful nor productive. So, um, don’t say them.

#1 – “But what if something goes wrong?”

Wow, thanks for the vote of confidence. –facepalm-

Seriously, though. Why do people seem so determined to terrify you with all of the things that could possibly go wrong at a birth? The fact is, there are only a handful of possible complications that would require immediate medical attention at a hospital. Assume that the person planning a home birth has informed and educated herself, because she most probably has. Lets face it; the majority of people willingly go to hospital to give birth because it’s standard. It’s the ‘done thing’. I’m willing to bet that a large majority of those women haven’t actually researched anything about the safety or the risks of hospital birth (hell, if they did, the home birth rate would probably be a lot higher!). I will just clarify that I am fully aware that there are many women who *do* fully research the hospital as their chosen place of birth, it is just in my own personal experience that the majority of women I know who have birthed in hospitals have put little to no thought into it, mostly because they think they aren’t “allowed” to birth anywhere else.

Related Post: 10 Reasons to Choose Home Birth

And besides, why assume that this woman’s body is broken? She was built to give birth, and unless there is some medical reason that could cause things to go wrong, it is safe to assume that she and her amazing body can handle it. And you know what? She and her body will likely be much better equipped to handle it at home, where she is most comfortable and not feeling like a patient; like a sick person who needs medical care and assistance.

#2 – “You won’t be able to handle the pain; you better go to hospital in case you want an epidural.”

Unfortunately, I –was- treated to this little gem, after telling an acquaintance of my plans to have an unmedicated home birth. What a shame that some people feel the need to ensure those around them are terrified.

I believe that pain during labour is exacerbated by fear. Indeed, my own experiences confirm this theory, and I’m sure many other women who have birthed multiple babies in different locations would agree that their medicated hospital births were a damn sight more uncomfortable than their home births.

If you ever feel tempted to undermine a woman’s ability to cope with her labour sensations, DON’T. The media will have already taken care of that for her. The best thing you can do for her is to tell her she CAN do it, and that she WILL do it. A little old-fashioned encouragement goes a long way.

#3 – “Well, I was glad I was in the hospital for my (induced/augmented/heavily medicated) birth. I would have died if I had been at home.”

Maybe. Or you might have had a wonderful, safe experience due to avoiding the interventions that caused those problems in the first place.

Yes, I know that sometimes complications are unavoidable, and yes I am grateful that modern technology has provided solutions to those complications that have saved the lives of many an infant and their mothers. I also know that births are interfered with in hospitals every single day, and this lack of respect for the normal birth process has resulted in a caesarean rate in the US of more than 32%. 32%!! That’s almost a third of all births. Of course, a necessary caesarean is an amazing and wonderful thing! An unnecessary one can be a pain in the backside at best, and at worst can have serious ramifications.

#4 – “Ugh, what about the mess?!”

Birth isn’t actually all that messy in most cases. Other than a gush of waters (which could happen at home even if you plan to deliver in hospital), and some bleeding around the time of birth and afterwards, there is usually very little mess. A few sheets or some disposable incontinence sheets usually suffice to protect ones floors. And if you choose to have a water birth, your mess will be contained within the tub!

#5 – “You’re selfish to plan a home birth. That might be what you want, but what about what’s safest for the baby?”

Yes, yes, I am incredibly selfish to plan a home birth… that is pretty much as safe as a hospital birth. ACOG recently published their ‘opinion’ on home birth, and said that that home births aren’t as safe (although they didn’t cite their sources…). However, the studies I have found on the subject certainly contradict this statement. One large study in Canada (google it, it’s there) concluded that only 0.35% of midwife attended home births resulted in the death of the baby, in comparison to a 0.64% morbidity rate in physician attended hospital births. In fact, the one study I -could- find that does seem to show home birth as statistically more dangerous is one that has since been torn apart for bad research practices, such as including unplanned, pre-term and other high-risk homebirth scenarios in their findings.

Home birth isn’t for everyone, and I’m not trying to convince anybody that it is. This post is simply here to empathise with mothers who have felt frustrated at the judgements of others over their plans.

I would love to hear what gems you’ve heard whilst planning your home births, or indeed your natural hospital births! Please do share in the comments below :

 

Comments

  1. says

    Once again, I’m enthralled by your blog. LOVE this post! I’m not planning a homebirth–we’re having our baby in a birth center near our home, but I fully support homebirth (and would totally consider having one–I just haven’t asked my midwives if they attend them yet) and think more women should explore it as an option. I’ll be linking this post to my blog as well!

    • says

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it :) I enjoyed writing it; I could ramble on about birth ’till the cows come home!

      A birth centre sounds like a wonderful place to have a baby :) The only issue i have with them is that so many women are risked out of giving birth at birth centres, as the rules that govern them are so strict. it’s a real shame, because it’s a great option for women who want a natural birth but aren’t comfortable with doing it at home – however much *I* love home birth, I know it’s not for everyone!

      I’m writing an ebook on planning for a natural birth that you may be interested in, it’ll be available free from here very soon so keep your eyes peeled :)

      • Valerie Gouin (@ValGouin) says

        Hi, I just read this post and I really loved it.

        I’m new here, and you replied to the first comment saying there would be an ebook about planning a natural birth, I imagine you’ve published it since then. Where can I find it?

        Thanks!

        • says

          Hi, thanks so much for commenting! Yes, there was going to be an ebook but I made the decision not to go ahead with it, after much soul searching. It didn’t feel right to me to provide authoritative information about birthing when I have no qualifications or credentials, you know? Sorry to disappoint :( xx

      • Danielle V. says

        I agree about birth centers. I actually considered one this time. I could either do birth center or home birth. I went with home birth because there was less chance of risking out.

  2. R.S says

    Great post, thanks!
    I really wanted a home birth, but there wasn’t a single midwife in the provine where I live (I’m a French living in South Africa), and I had to borrow a cottage from my sister-in-law, who lives in the city, and we planned the birth there. My sister-in-law had 2 elective cesarians, which is the norm in SA. In her province, the C-rate is 80%… overall in SA I believe it is around 60%. The reason is “This is Africa baby! Not Europe” (the OB told me when I said I wanted homebirth…) Anyway, when we asked her if she minded lending the place to us, among other hygiene and safety concerns, she said she wasn’t sure. “What if you, or the baby died there? we don’t know if we’d like to live here anymore, and we just bought the place.” …long pause. haha, very supportive. Well, I won against her fears, I did have a waterbirth there, and it all went perfectly smoothly. Baby boy was born after 6 hours of labour, no medication, no tear, he was almost 4 kilos. And I’m reading to do it all again!

  3. katie says

    I love your blog. I think advocating for educated, informed birthing and parenting choices is very important in this day and age! I had a natural childbirth with my daughter in the hospital and had a wonderful experience. Many people were a bit surprised at my choice to go natural, but actually many of my friends and family were very supportive of my choice to go med-free. Including the staff at the hospital. And those who were shocked initially (like co-workers) seemed to be much more interested and understanding once I explained to them my reasons behind my choices.

    I totally respect the main idea behind this post – it’s frustrating when people make comments that come off as discouraging, unsupportive, negative, ignorant, or judgmental when it comes to something as personal as parenting. It’s easy to immediately take offense and just write the person off as being an inconsiderate, close-minded jerk. I think, though, that we mommas who go off the beaten path need to show compassion for those who, out of ignorance or lack of experience, can’t understand or relate to our birthing experiences.

    I know that’s not the case every time, but I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I try to consider where these comments come from, and take them as an opportunity to educate and hopefully open a mind a bit. Like you said, most people are not very intentional or educated when it comes to childbirth and childbirth options. The norm is to let the doctors and hospitals advise you and steer you towards their practices, their norms.

    I think that some of these kind of statements (like the questions in #1 and 4) can come from a genuine place of curiosity. I’ve heard so many women say “what, you labored and delivered without any pain killers?! I could NEVER do that, I know that for sure.” and I just want to say, “yes – of course you can! Your body is made for that!” People just don’t know what their bodies are capable of, and I think someone needs to (gently, respectfully) inform them.

    When someone says something to me something like the statement in #2, I take that as an opportunity to teach them why, in fact, I DO believe I can handle the pain. (And the pain IS real – but you CAN handle it, I tell them.) I explain the lessons I learned in childbirth classes, the research I have done, the testimonies of millions of mothers before me. And now that I’ve done it, I can add my own personal experience into the mix.

    When someone says something to me like #3, I take it with a grain of salt. If you don’t want someone to judge you for your childbirth, don’t judge them about theirs. I do, however, think it isn’t the best idea to tell pregnant mommas scary birth stories while they are pregnant. I absolutely hated being surprised with a scary birth story while I was preggers. That’s something every momma should keep in mind when you have the urge to tell your tale.

    I guess this post just really got me thinking… We women really need to support each other, and even thought these comments can be really offensive, I think more often than not they come from a place of curiosity, fear, ignorance, or just the desire to be helpful. So lets take them when we can as an opportunity to help spread the positive sides of natural childbirth/ home birth/ etc.!

    • says

      what a lovely thoughtful comment, thanks so much for taking the time to reply!

      You make some really, really good points. I tend to agree with you, in that most people are basically trying to help or just don’t know any better. Like I said in the post, I have had very little negative energy thrown my way with regards to my birthing choices, even though some of the things I did (such as refusing all pain meds and encapsulating my placenta) were a little ‘out there’ by modern standards. I don’t think people really ‘got it’; they probably thought I was making those choices to make a point or for shock factor.

      I totally agree with the scary birth story thing. At our breastfeeding group, we run a monthly group discussion session for pregnant mamas and their partners and the conversation inevitably turns to birthing at some stage. Most of us who run the group have had very positive experiences, which is good, but there’s only a couple of us that say that we LOVE giving birth… and I think that’s what these women need to hear. It doesn’t have to be scary.

      Thank you again for commenting! :)

  4. Melanie says

    So glad someone linked to your blog. Loved this article! Amen and Amen!
    I just had my 4th baby 8 months ago… My first 2 were born at home, but the 3rd was forced C-section against my will because I couldn’t push him out in the time allotted by hospital policy. (I was only there, because of concern that he might have a serious/life threatening heart problem… which wasn’t true after all.) Anyway, when I got pregnant again, I had to make that big decision about a homebirth VBAC. It was no-brainer, because you wouldn’t get me back in a hospital kicking and screaming (unless “I” felt it was really important.) I found an underground midwife to take me on… and amazingly because (for the first time EVER) I gave birth soooo quickly, the midwife missed the whole thing. I had my baby girl while standing up in my bathroom and my hubby catching her!!! It was probably the most thrilling moment of my life. I NEVER pushed once to get her out! She literally fell out. I’m thinking it will probably be my hardest ever, because of the c-section scar, etc… and my uterus proved ALL the so-called statistics wrong. My VBAC was nothing short of amazing. Next time, I probably won’t even bother with a midwife. I was uber-proud of my husband for rising to the occasion.

  5. Siobhan says

    Just another take on the recent studies suggesting homebirth is not as safe as hospital birth (there have been a few major ones)… The results are not a surprise at all because they included all sorts of homebirths, not just undisturbed, physiological birth. If someone could do a study separating undisturbed, physiological birth at home from homebirths featuring midwives who intervene, a mother who has read and planned too much, a doula who actively “supports”, a father who is just there, a video camera observing, the grandparents in the other room etc etc they could easily show that our interference in the birth process is the problem.

    • says

      I absolutely agree. Birth should only be intervened in if necessary. However, I do think that childbirth is not 100% infallible. It should be respected, rather than wholly trusted.

      I would be very very interested to see the results of a study that only included low risk home birth with highly-trained and competent midwives, and didn’t include all of the rest.

  6. Nicky says

    love love love your blog! I wish I had planned for a home birth with my twin boys. They came so quickly I nearly had them in the car. I was actually trying to get out of the car when it was moving at one point (total instinct to get to non moving land!) but of course I was told I couldn’t have a home birth because I was high risk. My entire pregnancy was low risk I just happened to have two babies and so I was treated as high risk – crazy! Tho I have to say I do associate hospitals with safety so I found it quite comforting to be there in a strange way. Just wish choice in this country actually meant choice! and people spouting statistics to make their point used and explained them properly!

  7. Novi says

    Is it too late for me to comment? I hope not :D Well, I had a CS birth with my first son because I have to admit that I lacked of information during my unplanned pregnancy and I received too many negative comments especially from my relatives. I decided to do the SC because my baby is pretty big and people advised me that it’s better to do the operation.

    Anyway, I first read about home birthing in your blog and was so fascinating about that (although I guess it’s too late for me to try). Unfortunately, home birthing is still somewhat considered to be barbaric in Indonesia since usually those who do that are rural area people :( Most of us end up in hospitals and recently the number of SC rate is getting higher here. Many of those who do SC birth simply said that they were afraid of the pain. I know it’s sad, but even sadder to know that having midwifes here to help your labour is not common too. Most of us would ask the help from doctors. I would really love to socialize home birthing in my country although when I ask people’s comment about home birthing they would say that it’s crazy and too risky :(

  8. says

    Being a doula, as well as a student midwife, I can’t tell you how often I have heard my clients tell me that various friends and family have said all of the above to them. Discusting. I have even had several home birth clients lie to family about plans, which is so sad to me. Honor the Mother by RESPECTING her choices, me belittling them. Thanks for posting.
    In the Doula Spirit,
    Erica Delmore, CD(DONA)

  9. says

    I loved hearing, “What if you bleed out?” Or a personal favorite, “don’t you know women and babies *die* doing that?”Or or “What makes you think that’s a good idea”.

  10. says

    You hit this right on the money! The only one I have to add is the “You’re so brave!” comment. That one got old really fast. In fact, so old that I did an entire blog post about it http://thebatemanbabyblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/why-yes-im-planning-on-home-birth.html

    But I also got the “stupid” and “selfish” criticism a bunch too, so I also wrote this http://thebatemanbabyblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/re-home-births-are-stupid.html

    But maybe I should have just saved myself the time and sent these people your link instead… it’s so much more concise and they would be much more likely to read the whole thing! lol I love this!

  11. Anna says

    When people say “oh I couldnt handle the pain” – I think, what about all the women that do hospital birth WITHOUT pain relief WITHOUT a birth pool or shower!! Those women are strong! I lived in Japan for 10years and most women there labour on their backs in bed and there is no pain relief option at most hospitals unless you actually have an intervention.

    The mess? What mess? Not a drop of blood on anything that couldnt be easily cleaned.

    I dont really tell people I homebirth and I havent experienced too many ignorant comments. For me the worst is when people say “oh, I’d love to do that but I couldnt live with myself if my baby died”. Like I could? and you’d be fine if your baby died in hospital? How about if your baby died in an uneccessary intervention? Sometimes babies die, sadly thats life. I’d rather take responsibility myself than hand it over to people that really DONT care and wont lose much sleep if my baby or I are damaged or die. Thats the reality.

  12. Trisha says

    I’m lucky enough to live in Australia, and had my three babies in a country town hospital which had an homely atmosphere and midwives who handled everything except the life-threatening stuff. They encouraged me to try different positions, use their huge bath, etc.

    So for me I didn’t personally feel the need to have a home birth. Plus, the hospital birth was free and a private midwife would have cost the earth in that state. Other states here have free attended home births though.

    I agree that home births are a safe, comfortable option that should be readily available.

    What I don’t like is the implication that you’re somehow less of a real woman if you use pain relief.

    I used the happy gas and it really really helped me to get through it. And my pain was real and I certainly wasn’t afraid of anything at all.

    I could have survived the pain, by what’s wrong with me having a less painful and happier time with some gas?

    • says

      Absolutely nothing wrong with that if you ask me :) i choose to labour and birth without pain relief but I would never expect somebody else to do the same, just because I did. It certainly doesn’t make you any better or stronger than another women who chooses pain relief. Surely the goal for all of us is a safe, comfortable birth with a healthy baby at the end, and each persons idea of that is different. :)

  13. Jessica says

    I’m actually about to experience (hopefully!) a VBA2C. The first two c-sections WERE necessary, but this time around, the pregnancy has gone beautifully and I am praying that I can make it another two weeks and deliver naturally. It will be a hospital birth, but my OB has been wonderful about allowing me this opportunity. I hear a lot of people who say “they’ll LET you do that??” And I’m thinking, how can they stop me? I plan on laboring at home for as long as possible, because I can’t imagine being attached to all those monitors would be very comfortable and allow me the freedom to move around as I see fit. I have some fear about the process, but mostly about the interventions that I know they will try to force on me. I’m hoping my hubby can step up and be firm with them, and advocate for me…because he’s normally a “whatever the doctor says is best” kind of guy, and he hasn’t researched much (in spite of my efforts to educate him myself! lol). So, prayers appreciated- due the 18th of this month- agh! I’ve started having some issues over the last week with kidney pain, so I’m praying that it will disappear and we can just go have this baby the way God intended things! :)

  14. Kitty says

    What a wonderful post. I wished it was here when I was pregnant last year. I got so sick of the scare stories and comments. Although I ended up in hospital (long story but basically was in for monitoring as was post dates & labour progressed quite quickly in latter stages) and I did have complications (retained placenta & pph) I still wouldn’t hesitate to plan another homebirth. I still wish I’d not gone in for that final monitoring session as I do believe that the complications I had were caused by being in hospital & the associated stress, along with the midwives cutting the cord too early.

    But, despite the above issues, I still loved giving birth; the empowerment I experienced by allowing my body to do what it is designed to do, unmedicated, was indescribable.

  15. Olivia says

    This is such a great blog and this post really hits home for me! My husband and I are currently planning our HBA2C (both cesareans were unnecessary due to cascade of interventions and lack of allowing us to birth on our own time and standards) with a fabulous midwife and doulas and I cannot tell you how many people (friends and family included) have made many of those same remarks! It breaks my heart to think that these people have no faith in my capability to birth a child, let alone think that once a c-section always a c-section! Ugh it sucks. My latest response from a family member with no children was “OMG, what if you bleed to death”? I smiled and said “Well first of all there are warning signs with everything and chances are since I will not be medicated and numb that I will be able to listen and tune into my body and will recognize if something wrong is going on. Not to mention that the midwife, who is incredibly skilled, will also notice if something were going wrong and we would make the proper decision at that moment.” I then told her how educated I was on the subject of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, etc (I’m a DONA trained birth doula) and told her that it is ultimately up to me to be responsible for my health and wellness and education during and after this pregnancy and that I am willing to take the SMALL risks associated with trying a VBA2C.

    The thing that bothers me the most is that no women should have to fight or defend her right to birth her baby however she feels is best! I chose to birth at home because that is what feels right for this baby and for my body. I know I am healthy, capable, trusted, supported, and educated and I have faith that God will watch over and protect us.

    Thank you for sharing this, I will be posting it to my wall and maybe, just maybe someone will get the hint ;)

    Blossom Of Life Birth Services
    Olivia Chovan (Birth Doula)

  16. Robyn says

    You said everything I was thinking before I had my baby at home!

    I was 41weeks 6days and I had people saying things like, “Are they going to induce you?/You’re not getting induced?!” and “My mom had two stillborn babies because they were overdue”.

    I knew one person in particular was genuinely concerned, but I think it’s funny that when people know you’re having a home birth, they assume you’ve decided on a whim and haven’t done research, or don’t have a trained professional to know when there might be a problem. Do they think midwives just wake up one day and decide to deliver babies? Midwives have to be very aware of what’s going on because they can’t roll you over to a delivery room, unzip your body, and pop the baby out like a can of biscuits (or so they make it seem that simple). People have stillborn babies all the time without being “overdue”. And sadly, the girl that told me her mom had two stillbirths had also had a stillbirth, but two weeks before she was due. :( Bad things happen anywhere, so if going to a doctor/hospital is so much better, why do those things still happen when under a doctor’s care?

    I have a friend who has had two unassisted VBACs and my labor and delivery nurse friend kept saying, “She could have died!”. How is a VBAC at home any different from a VBAC in the hospital? In my opinion, it’s acutally safer because you’re not induced and given meds that put even more stress on your body.

    My home birth was my third child and to be honest, I had been a little nervous about the no meds thing, but I had prepared and done Hypnobirthing and from the time I woke up with contractions to the time my little guy was born only 5 hours and I kept expecting it to get worse than what it was. I love telling people how much he weighed (10lb 12oz) and then following up with, ” . . . and I had him at home.” :)

  17. Aleesha says

    Loved this. My third was a homebirth after a c-section. I heard so many negative that I just stopped telling people our plan. We waited until after and still people said the same things.
    I do have to say, that despite going into labor with a great support system and a understanding of labor and pain management, it was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced and I didn’t think I could make it. I really started doubting my choice in the middle and thought I failed. But I was the first person to touch my baby, got to cut the cord, and snuggle with my baby in my own bed. So worth every second of the pain.

  18. Kylie says

    Both mine were in hospitals, no.1 a nightmare but it was because half my stoned relatives showed up and I stopped dilating. 2 was gorgeous, did it mostly alone and midwives only leant a hand if I asked them too, and they welcomed my acupuncturist into the fray, although that was only ecause I had a good midwife on shift. When my cousin chose homebirth, I said ‘don’t tell everyone! You’ll get more negative responses than positive ones’ and she said ‘tell me about it, I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut’ and I thought what a damn shame it’s like that. Turns out they ‘intervened’ because she was over a week, she ended up with 24hrs in a hospital bed unable to move because when they popped her water (after much fumbling) the chord got stuck and she couldn’t move in case she cut off the babies supply of goodness. Then add some oxytocin a drip and a monitor and oh the joys of a difficult hospital birth. I’m convinced they just intervened so she couldn’t have it at home.

  19. Jessica says

    I got “What if the midwife doesn’t make it in time?” a lot.
    Really? What if you don’t make it to the hospital in time?
    At least, having educated myself about birth, I would be calm and know what to do. Most people that have a hospital birth “freak out” if they come close to not making it to the hospital.
    And I’d be in my comfortable home instead of in a car!

  20. Lee says

    I had a pregnancy that turned high risk due to gestational hypertension and my son would have been stillborn if I hadn’t started getting hooked up to a fetal heart monitor every couple days, b/c after a few weeks he started to show distress and they took him via c-section so he could live, and he’s now doing wonderfully. I am willing to start rethinking my opinion on home births if it can be confirmed the philosophy usually includes high quality prenatal care. Is blood pressure monitored? Are Mom’s checked for gestational diabetes? Is the baby checked on a fetal heart monitor? Not just the doplar to confirm the heart is beating and at what rate, but an actual monitor that gives a printout of what the baby’s heart is doing? If that is done, and the pregnancy is shown to be complication free before a home delivery is attempted, I think it would be okay. Can you let me know? Thanks!

    • says

      I think it depends where you give birth and what the guidelines are. Here in the UK you are generally risked out of home birth if you are considered to be anything other than very low risk. The midwives who attend are highly trained (minimum of degree level) and experienced, and will transfer the moment that something isn’t looking right.

      They do not provide EFM unless you go into hospital.

      • Panda says

        I heard ALL of these while planning my first homebirth. *shakes head*

        And I don’t know if this post was actually revised in the last couple of days, but as it reads today, I don’t see you “slamming” women who choose hospital births OR pain relief.

        It’s ABSOLUTELY true that most women do not extensively research their birthing options in general, and the risks associated with the “standard” way of doing it. Go to your nearest playground and poll the moms there….you’ll see how little most of them know about the statistics, and how standard practice affects them.

        That’s not a “slam” against hospital-birthing moms. (Perhaps because the keyword there is “most”?) Some women DO extensively research, and find that the hospital is the best route for them and their baby. And kudos to them for making an informed choice. But the fact remains that MOST women are not that informed, and MOST women choose the hospital not because they extensively researched it, but because it’s what they are “supposed” to do. So it’s kind of ridiculous that most of them are also very quick to challenge those who’s choices differ from the norm….you know, considering they likely know very little about it. If they DO know alot about it, and still choose to challenge it, then bring on the intelligent debate. There’s no “slamming” needed or intended. It is what it is, and all opinions are welcome. But the informed opinions are taken more seriously….what’s so offensive about that?

        And no, requesting that women NOT attempt to terrify other women into abandoning their birth plans with assertations that they “cant handle the pain” is NOT a shot at women who choose pain relief. Choose whatever YOU want to choose. But if a woman expresses her desire to go without, what part of you feels that telling her she can’t handle it did you think was going to be beneficial to her?

        AND finally, yes I have seen some fervent homebirthers also asserting that homebirth is the only safe way. But they are a minority…not only in their OWN community (the homebirth community), but considering homebirthers in general are a minority, there really aren’t nearly as many hostile ones as there are people in general who are hostile towards homebirth. Not that that devalues the feelings of women who have been confronted by them, but it validates why this article was written. To make a few points often missed by the mainstream. OF COURSE there’s another side to it. And the author never claimed there wasn’t. I guess everyone needs an article though….

        Anyway, I enjoyed it because I can relate to it 100%. Like I said, I heard every one of these things more times than I can count. From complete strangers even……seriously. That’s ridiculous. *sigh*

        • Panda says

          Oh poo…..that posted int eh wrong place LOL. Sorry!

          But since I posted it there by mistake, I may as well add, in the US the same is true. EFM is not routinely used outside of hospaitals either. And it is not really proven to be beneficial in healthy, low-risk births anyway. If a birth is igh-risk, and baby could possibly benefit from EFM, then they will be “risked out” (as people say) and transferred to a care provider who specializes in pregnancy pathology (ie, and OB) and the birth would be transferred to a facility with the equipment to provide proper monitoring and intervention.

          And professional midwives are highly trained and licensed to provide safe, thorough prenatal care and tesing in order to detect any signs that elevation of care might be required. (They perform the exact same routine tests that doctors do, in most cases. They are simply trained to handle birth differently, and specialize in caring for healthy women and facilitating non-medical birthing, but are qualified to recognize risks and the need for medical care. So ethat if they encounter a need they are unqualified to fill, they simply transfer to someone who is.) That’s how midwifery and obstetrics are SUPPOSED to work hand-in-hand anyway. Sometimes politics tries to get it the way, but we don’t have to let it :)

    • says

      Oh I just reread your comment; EFM isn’t generally offered prenatally unless a problem is indicated, but blood pressure/etc is checked regularly and GD testing is done for those at risk for whatever reason.

    • Christina says

      This is in response to Lee’s post above since it will not let me reply directly for some reason.
      I am planning a home birth (in the US), and yes, the prenatal care is actually better than what I recieved from the hospital based midwives I had with my first. For one thing, I have yet to have an appointment that lasted less than an hour, while with my first I saw the midwife for about 5 minutes, 10 tops (after having to spend quite of bit of time waiting first in the waiting room and then again in the exam room). During the hour long visit, my homebirth midwife checks blood pressure and other vitals, measures the fundus, pallpates to determine the babies position, listens to the heartbeat and does a urine dip to check for infection or any spilling of glucose or protein (basically everything that a hospital based provider would do). Now, she doesn’t do the EFM, but frankly it’s not standard practice anywhere to use anything other than a fetoscope or doppler to check the heart prenatally, unless there is some complication or reason to be concerned about the fetuses well being. If anything was going on that was beyond the limits of normal I have no doubt that she’d send me over to the hospital to get checked out (that’s what they’re there for!). Now, in addition to the clinical tasks, during the visit we also spend a lot of time talking about how I’m feeling, both physically and emotionally. She’s spent a lot of time listening to me talk and work through my fears and answering my gazillion questions (something that was never done during my first pregnancy because my providers never had the time). She’s also talked to my about my diet, and offered nutritional counseling (nutrition was never even brought up during my first pregnancy). She’s also just taken the time to get to know me, and my family. Oh, and yes, I’ve been offered every lab and screening test that I would be offered otherwise. The only ones I haven’t gotten are ones I chose to decline.
      So…I just wanted to share my personal experience with prenatal care at the hands of a home birth midwife. Planning a home birth doesn’t mean you won’t have access to quality care, and it also doesn’t mean you can’t transfer care to an OB or go to the hospital if complications develop during pregnancy or labor.

    • Heather says

      In general, prenatal care done by a midwife is usually considered to be MUCH higher quality than OB prenatal care, simply because a midwife takes the _time_ to do the job right. No 10 minute appointments. Problems that can be avoided by such things as proper nutrition are more likely to be, simply because of this. What is available as regards monitoring is going to depend largely on the law where you are. Midwives have doppler stethoscopes and can check heart rates, but such things as ultrasounds and whatever more intense fetal heart monitoring you are discussing would depend on the laws where you are. Standard blood tests are generally done, as is some variety of checking for gestational diabetes (the standard test for that is actually quickest and easiest for the medical establishment, but NOT the best way to check or easiest on the mama!). We don’t do genetic testing, but it is available. Newborn screening is also generally done. Sometimes, when a woman is concerned about something like that, but wants to homebirth if possible, she will use both avenues for prenatal care, so that the more specialized testing can be done. However, gestational hypertension beyond a certain point would most likely cause the midwife to send you to an OB, anyway.

  21. Asten says

    Hubby and i desperately wanted a home birth…my cherry on top would have been a water birth…sadly we ended up in a government hospital in south africa…thankfully with the most amazing midwife at our side we succeeded in having a non medicated….not even gas and air…natural birth and hubby delivered our son…it was our first baby and we had all of these comments thrown at us including the one that hurt most….WHEN ….not if….something happens and your child is retarded (basing info on hubbys cousin who was almost torn from the womb by a doctor in hospital that didnt know how to use forceps) could i live with myself for being stupid and not going to hospital…. :-( our lovely midwife was very impressed with us and encouraged us to have a home birth next time around…..childbirth should be a womans greatest accomplishment not her greatest fear :-) cant remember where i read it but i believe it to my mommy core :-)

  22. Sarah says

    My first son was born in a hospital via induction. They gave me 24 from the time I was admitted to the hospital to have him out. I pushed for two hours and delivered with seven minutes to spare. Shortly there after I became friends with a doula and after many, MANY hours of questions (on my part) and patient answers (on her part) I resolved to have the next one at home. Shortly thereafter I found out I was pregnant with my second. I got all of the above comments and then some. I think the one that stands out in my mind the most was my sister. She said, “I couldn’t do that at my house. It is a place of sanctuary to me and that would just be gross!” Really?
    We were able to have our home birth but the midwife did not make it in time. My husband and I delivered him ourselves, which he had said all along was his greatest fear. He did great and our son (who was born with a face first presentation) is perfect. I would not trade his birth for anything.
    My mother, who is a nurse’s aid at Vanderbuilt Hospital in Tennessee has told me every horror story she comes across and still (over a year after the fact) tells me stories about home births gone wrong because she wants me to understand “the dangers you face with an ‘unqualified and dangerous’ midwife!”
    I have to note that I got WAY better care with a midwife than I ever did with a doctor!

    • says

      I have to say I do worry myself about the midwife issue…. I do think that midwives should adhere to a minimum level of training that ensures that they will be able to pinpoint problems if they happen. I live in the UK where midwives are educated to degree level at the very least, and they have a huge amount of practical experience as well as the time they spent studying. Having said that, I support all women’s rights to birth wherever and with whomever they choose — I just want them to be informed about the care they are receiving, and in some places there is no legal requirement for midwives to provide that.

      I’m so glad you had such a beautiful birth :) what a lovely story!

  23. Erin says

    I have been lucky in that most people have either been encouraging or if they disagree with my choice, they wisely keep their mouths shut. I am due in 2-3 weeks with my 4th baby and this will be my first home birth. I have heard “Wow — you’re brave!” a lot. I want to respond with, “Brave? Noooo. Home birth this time is not brave. Going to the hospital to have twins and fighting a c-section the entire time I was in labor was brave. Not giving in to the threats and the scare tactics was brave. Continuing to fight for my vaginal birth after being told I would probably bleed to death or need a hysterectomy was brave. Having to wait 30 minutes for an OR I did not want to have my babies in while my Baby A was crowning was brave. Giving birth to my twins vaginally after everyone said I couldn’t was brave. I’ve done brave. This is just sane.”

  24. Michelle says

    comments like “do you want to kill your baby” or “are you stupid” are unacceptable, but for the most part people would just be concerned for your and your babys safety because they themselves arent educated about home births. but the fact remains that things DO go wrong. with my first pregnancy i was a little scared about the idea of a home birth but i also had heard stories about hospital births that were made very unpleasant by hospital staff and not being able to move around etc. i was yet to make a final decision when my daughter was born by emergency cesarian at 27 weeks when i developed pre eclampsia and myself and my baby nearly died. i had read about all these things that could go wrong and figured that kind of thing happens to other people, not me, and didnt see the warning signs. my second pregnancy i had to have an ‘elective’ cesarian because the placenta was stuck to the scar tissue from my previous classical cesarian (up and down cut), and they didnt even want me awake because of the high chance they wouldnt be able to stop the bleeding and then it would take another 20 minutes to knock me out. then after bub was born it was discovered that he had a heart condition. i have no family history of pregnancy or birthing problems, and i myself had never had any health problems so all of this was unexpected. i am a little disappointed that i have never had a natural birth or even been conscious for the birth of my babies, but i am thankful that i still have my 2 kids despite their medical issues, and that i am still alive to care for them. my point here being dont be too hard on your family and friends who are only concerned about you, some people know more than others about things that can go wrong. in saying that, good luck to all those in a position to be able to have a home birth, i imagine it would be so much more comfortable, relaxing and stress free, and i envy you!!!

    • says

      Wow, what a story! I’m sorry you and your babies went through that. It’s stories like yours that make me feel so grateful that we have access to hospitals and specialised medical care! You’re absolutely right, things can and do go wrong even if there is no prior indication. I have come under fire from the natural birth community in the past for saying that, but I stand by it.

      Thanks so much for commenting!

  25. jennifer hall says

    Geez…
    What if I want to give birth at a hospital, because I think it’s the best thing for me and my baby, are you seriously going to tell me that there aren’t going to be people on the other side of the argument saying essentially the same things to me?
    I’ve in fact encountered that. Everyone thinks that they have the right to tell me how and where I give birth. But mostly home birthers think that they have the right to get in my face about wanting a hospital delivery.

    • says

      Um, nobody’s getting in your face about it here… Are they? Believe it or not, I’m planning to have my next baby in a hospital. http://www.alternative-mama.com/i-had-an-amazing-home-birth-but-i-might-not-do-it-again/

      This was written to appeal to those of us who choose to birth at home. Where you choose to birth is nobody’s business but your own. This was written for those of us who have encountered prejudice for the choice to birth at home, not to slam anyone who chooses not to.

      • Laura says

        Um… it kind of does sound like you’re slamming women who choose homebirth.

        “I’m willing to bet that a large majority of those women haven’t actually researched anything about the safety or the risks of hospital birth (hell, if they did, the home birth rate would probably be a lot higher!).”

        BTW, this is a really strange thing for someone who does not think birth is inherently safe to say. It also implies that a home birth is less risky than a hospital birth.

        • says

          I’m sorry that what I wrote came across to you that way. In my own personal experience, the vast majority of people who give birth in hospital do so because it’s the done thing, and because they don’t think they’re “allowed” to choose anything else. I will clarify my post to make that clearer.

          Also, you’ll notice that this post was written a long time ago, and I’m sure you’ll agree that we all learn, grow and change our views on things over time, don’t we?

  26. says

    I had a hospital/induced/augmented birth with my first which ended in a c-section.

    next time around, we educated ourselves, saw a dr for half of my pregnancy who was willing to do a vbac, but then during 25th week, told me that he was planning his vacation for the week that i might go into labor. so i pulled the breaks on that dr and decided to go with a midwife and have my baby at home. i wanted my best go at having a vaginal birth.

    having my baby at home and working with a midwife was THE BEST DECISION I’VE EVER MADE. It was THE BEST day of my life. I loved every aspect of it and encourage woman to meet with a midwife who can determine if they are a good candidate for a home birth, because there is nothing like being totally left alone in privacy to labor, be surrounded by love and not pressured to get pain meds or induction.

    It’s always better to get as many positive stories in your brain than bad ones!
    hope my positive story helps!

    Birth story:
    http://usthreebirds.blogspot.com/2011/08/elliottes-vbac-birth-story.html

  27. elizabeth says

    Great article! I heard #1 and #2 while I was pregnant and since the birth of my son have also heard #3 a number of times when people found out I had a home birth. Another one I heard during my pregnancy (from my mother in law) “Whats going to happen/what are you going to do if the midwife doesnt make it in time? Does Mark (my husband) know how to deliver the baby?”.. as if it is completely impossible for a baby to come out unless the midwife is there or someone else who knows how to “deliver” the baby (cause obviously mothers have no idea how to have babies unless they have someone there with them).

  28. Stacey says

    Thank you for the article. My best friend is preparing for home birth for her fourth baby, and I fully support her especially with her previous history of smooth births with a midwife.

    I did feel my emotions prickle a bit though on your comment regarding mamas who wouldn’t have had complications if not for medical intervention. I am one of the mamas whose first baby’s head was stuck on my pelvic bones despite lack of epidural, etc. I had prepared for an all natural birth including te various positions that can be used to help a baby come out when there is difficulty. I had an emergency C section when it became apparent that the baby was going to die and I was in a bad spot as well. My baby’s head came out with deep bruising from an hour and a half of hard pushing against bone.

    I am so glad I was at a hospital. I completely support a woman’s decision to birth at home, but I suggest having a midwife present, and access to medical care very quickly in case it is needed. Be sure your midwife is prepared for any eventuality, and be sure you and your baby’s father are aware that though your risk may not be higher at home, the ability to handle complications that arise is greatly reduced.

  29. Angela Sanchez says

    Childbirth is a wonderful, natural process! Having struggled with prodromal labor with both of my children, it is something I considered and educated myself regarding all my choices. However, please be conscientious not to demean a woman’s decision for a hospital birth. As we all know, this is an incredibly personal decision, and we should respect each others educated choices. I respect all the home-birth mama’s out there! Please give me the same respect as well.

  30. Brandy says

    I Love this and am posting a link to this on my Facebook as well as my Facebook mommy group. I am 31 weeks pregnant and we are planning a home birth. Many of our friends and family have been highly critical of our decision (I have had 2 previous hospital births – first one was highly augmented & the 2nd went much better…) I wish people were more educated about birth – including myself during my first 2 births.
    My sister said to me the other day – “why can’t you just have your baby in the hospital like a normal person?” I would totally add this to the list of things not to say to a pregnant woman planning a home birth! :) I am hoping that by having this baby naturally, and at home, it will show my sceptics that natural birth IS the normal way to have a baby – as long as humanity has existed!

  31. says

    Love the post!! I am not entirely familiar with home birth, as I am diabetic and as soon as I began researching it, I found out Diabetics, are in fact, not allowed to do home births. I just wanted to drop a line about how much I admire and appreciate that you posted this.
    I am glad to hear you seemed to have had a supportive group of people with you during your pregnancy :) Honestly, I think, for the most part, that it is a combination of shock (Homebirths certainly aren’t mainstream) and ignorance (again, wouldn’t be a problem if more people knew about it.) that lead to rude/inappropriate comments

  32. says

    I love your posts! I am not pregnant yet (another year or so before we start to try even) but my husband has a child with a woman he really didn’t care too much for, and they just went to the hospital and did everything that the hospital said to do. However I am huge on natural everything so stuff like this will come in handy when I tell him I want an at home, non medical intervention birth. He is pretty natural himself so I do not see him fighting it (except for maybe going to a birthing center “just in case”) but every little shred of info helps!

  33. Tonya Burroughs says

    Bravo! Every responsible CNM would evaluate the risk factors of a momma wanting home birth such as preterm breech gestational diabetics or macrosomia (big baby!) and ensure they deliver in proper settings. Home Birth is for an elite group of researched and well supported NORMAL and fearless women who trust their body that grew a baby to deliver it too! Love your article “)

  34. says

    I would’ve loved a homebirth but our home is more than 30 minutes away from a hospital with a labor and delivery, so the birth center is the only option for me. Midwives in Florida (US) can only attend a homebirth if it’s less than 30 minutes from the nearest hospital with an L&D. So while I’m one of the women that desired a homebirth, it’s not an option for me because of my address. Birth centers are wonderful options for women in my situation, and although the rules that dictate their operation are strict, they’re only strict to provide preventative measures for mother and baby. They’re in place to protect mother and baby, not to impede the beauty of having a natural, unmedicated birth.

  35. says

    I loved this blog! How true :)

    My mom was the one who heard a big chunk of this when she went back east to see family. More than it being family peppering her, it came from the fiance of my one cousin who has 2 kids herself (One being a newborn) and is VERY young… She went down the list of not being able to handle pain, safety factors, is that even possible in today’s world etc… My mother calmly answered each question but was left shaking her head when they left to come home. This has been a learning process for everybody and we believe 100% this is the rout we want to go. I feel insanely relaxed and can’t wait to hold my little one in my arms!!

    Again, wonderful blog!
    Shannon <3

  36. steph says

    I was high risk due to a pre existing blood clot so i planned the most natural birth i could have at the hospital. I brought my birth plan to the high risk obgyn i had to go to and she ripped it apart and laughed at me and said “you will NEED an epidural. You cant do it without one.”. After i birthed my baby unmedicated with no problems she ended up apologizing to me.

  37. Shawna says

    Can you believe that I was actually asked, “Have you thought about how your gonna live with yourself when your baby dies at home?” That one still stings! Ps – I had an amazing HEALTHY home water birth :)

  38. Heather says

    By the way, the Cochrane Collaboration, which is the premier organization for medical research analysis, took a look at all the available research on home birth vs hospital birth awhile back–and issued a metanalysis with the conclusion that homebirth is at least as safe as hospital birth as long as the mama is not high risk. Google “Cochrane Collaboration home birth”.

  39. Amy says

    I would have whole heartedly agreed with this post 6 months ago, but don’t know what I think of it all now. I was planning a home water birth, I was a low risk birth and it was my first baby. For whatever reason I went in to labor 2 months early. When my water broke I was in such shock that I thought there is no way that actually happened. I contacted my midwife told her water was pouring out of me. She told me to have breakfast and lay on my left side, call if “it got worse”. So I did just that. 15 mins later I contacted her again and told her more fluid was coming out, now it was a little bloody and I was starting to hurt. She told me to put hot water on my stomach in the shower and she could see me for an appointment at 8:45, 1hr 45 mins later. She wanted me to come in to put on a panty liner to test for amniotic fluid. Mind you, we listened to her against our better judgement bc we were in shock and she was the one who ” knew ” about birth, and was there to guide us. We got to the birth center at 8:00, I was terrified looking for validation. She was timing my contractions, they were 2 mins apart….I was hurting, yet she still wanted me to put on that damn panty liner. Again I was only 32 weeks. I started bleeding and finally said, ” that’s it! We are going to the hospital!!” She said ok and directed us we had to go to a specific hospital 18 miles away….we passed hospitals to get to a hospital. My baby was frank breech and coming out of me. In 2 hours I was fully dilated having major contractions and we were going 90 on a major highway. My husband got me to the hospital just in time. My baby was an emergency c-section and was in the NICU for one month. She never checked to see if I was dilated, she never said I was in labor, she ignored all my signs and symptoms which could have caused irreparable harm to myself and my child. She, nor the other midwives seemed to realize how bad all of this was. They even made me feel guilty for having a c-section, as if they had their own agenda from the beginning. It was a horrible, terrifying experience. They seemed to only be trained and prepared for normal births. I think midwives can be good, but you must ask the right questions, like what they do if things go wrong, because they can. It’s the safety of the child that is most important, I can not emphasize that enough. To feel as though you failed as a woman or a mother because you have medical intervention in these situations is selfish and ludicrous. So please be supportive if your c-section mama’s too….sometimes a drugged pregnancy is literally what is best.

  40. Sara says

    LOVE THIS!!! People kept asking me ‘why?!?!’… it would pop out before they could stop themselves! I would just laugh and explain my situation: my 1st baby was at a hospital and I took every drug they offered! My 2nd was un-medicated and at the hospital- this was very tricky and I was just really uncomfortable the whole time. So, when it came time for my 3rd, I didn’t see any reason NOT to have him at home and lots of reasons to have him there. Mostly people looked at me like I was crazy, but some people got it :)

  41. Chris says

    I heard all of those while planning the home birth with my first born. I researched, studied, took classes… All so I would be prepared for it all.
    Little did I know I knew nothing, and wish I would have listened to all the negative comments I heard.
    My baby was born after a no-complication delivery and didn’t take a breath. She never ended up breathing on her own and was connected to machines for a week trying to hold on to her fragile body. We were ten minutes from the hospital, but it was ten minutes too long. Because of that time spent traveling to the hospital pretty much all of her organs failed!
    Again, I had an easy pregnancy and a beautiful delivery, all to end in a tragic first week of life! I thought I knew so much about hb. But I didn’t know things could be perfect and have zero symptoms then tragity to occur.

  42. Bethany says

    This is about the nicest thing written about birth that I’ve ever read. So many people with so many opinions (on both sides) often come off scary or sanctimonious. Or both at the same time :) This was lovely, and I appreciate what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Way to go.

  43. Kelly says

    All three of my children were born in the hospital, naturally, and un-medicated….well almost. I was given Tylenol for fever with the first and meds to stop hemmoraging with all three. Yes I had 3rd degree tears and hemmoraging with all three of my children…they were all over 9 lbs! Little fatty’s :)

    I had good experiences all three times (minus being torn lol) I had considered trying home birth many times but personally I am more comfortable in the hospital setting. I have heard many hospital horror stories and had someone try to convince me not to use the hospital with my youngest with a story about “birth rape”. I have had people tell me that home births are scary and dangerous and that’s why they started doing them in hospitals in the first place. I have met women who actually wanted caesareans (I think that’s crazy myself) I met woman who decided to get the epidural the day they peed positive and didn’t even want to try.

    Honestly I think we are all a little crazy, some more than others lol, but I think we all need to learn to respect each others wishes as far as their own body is concerned. If she wants to have her baby at home, good for her! You go girl! If she wants to have it in a hospital, good for her! You go girl! If she plans a c section….nod…. No matter what, we are all giving birth, we all have the same fears, excitement, and the same end result, a beautiful baby!

    I really hate it when people try to discourage you!!! We should support each other either way. I think the women who tell you one way or the other is the right way are closed minded people and need to learn a basic rule. If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all! I feel bad for every woman who was told her decision was wrong!

  44. says

    The most amazing little gem I received when sharing my home birth plans with my ex’s best friend was “WOW, THAT’S A STUPID IDEA!” followed by a story about how his wife almost died (from an epidural) and an explanation about how if she would’ve been at home she would’ve died (???)
    -FACE. PALM.-

    it’s funny, though, because he changed his tune very quickly when he saw how amazing everything turned out.

  45. Lucy says

    Hello I live in Denmark and had my baby in a hospital with wonderful midwives (a trainee and a fully qualified midwive). It’s normal here that there are only midwives taking care of you and the doc only showes up if sth. doesn’t go well. We had a very relaxing surrounding in the room and even a birthing pool next to it. Unfortunately I never made it in that one because my son decided he wanted to come fast. Most of the time I just wanted to be leaft in piece and walk around during labour and the midwives only gave me some guidens about trying a different position that might be more comfortable from time to time. We also had a big double bed so after my son was born and placed on my chest immediately after, my husband could lay next to us saying hello to our baby. I had researched home birth but when we visited the hospital and saw the facilities it looked very welcoming so I decided I wanted to give birth there. Since we had such a great experience I’ll probably go to the same hospital for my second child. I’m really happy that we live in a country where a natural childbirth with non or very little pain medication (if the mother chooses that) is respected. The midwives told us they rather help the mothers through the pain with massage, warm water and acupuncture than with an epidural. It would be lovely if every mother would get support for which ever choice they make where they want to deliver their children. I whish everybody who plans a home birth good luck and strength if they have to fight prejudice and I hope for well trained hospital staff who only intervene if necessary.

  46. Annie says

    Oh, I so agree with you about this! I had two beautiful homebirths- my first was born in Mississippi, and when I became pregnant and started educating myself about things and found out how ridiculously high the Cesarean rates are there, homebirth made sense. My second was born in Northern California, and pretty much everybody I knew either was having or had already had a homebirth. And I certainly don’t fit into any type that people would want to put me in- I”m former military, married to military! But the hospital is simply much scarier to me- germ exposure alone is a nice start for my thinking along those lines, and that is only the start as far as I’m concerned. But back to your point, I have a personal rule: I only say positive and uplifting things to ANY pregnant woman. Ever. Especially if I hear that they’re having a homebirth. Why would I want them internalizing anything negative and being responsible for THAT? I can’t understand why people feel so compelled to pull others down- you’re so right- the media has probably already taken care of that! We, especially we women, do indeed need to spend more time building each other up. Thank you for saying it.

  47. says

    I got: Oh you’re SO BRAVE a lot.

    Also: BUT WHAT ABOUT HYGEINE?? That year there was a vomiting bug outbreak in the maternity hospital I would have been going to. I was happy to stay home with the normal germs my chld had developed antibodies to already.

    I also got: You’ll be SCREAMING for an epidural! Pretty sure I didn’t scream once, thanks, bitch!

    Also – I know for a fact that if I’d been in hospital I would have been induced and sectioned. V glad I wasn’t, thanks to the angel independent midwife who rescued me at the last minute.

  48. says

    What a thoughtful, well written blog. I had an amazing home water birth with my second child, who, incidentally was 10lb or 4.5kg with no pain relief and no tears. There is no way I’d give birth in hospital again as the whole home experience was awesome. I knew early pregnancy I’d have a home birth so I got pretty much 40 weeks’ worth of ‘really??!’ ‘Wow you’re so brave’ ‘are you sure’. Luckily, as I’m a naturopath people assumed I’d done my research though it didn’t stop a lot of women sharing their horror birth stories. That’s another point to add to the list… Ladies, keep your horror birth stories to yourselves as they’re not helpful to pregnant women.

  49. j says

    30 years ago when I first helped a friend give birth, there were few alternatives in hospital. We went armed with a manifesto signed by her Dr. in case she couldn’t be there. We studied the various possibilities, and I, as her advocate, was to make sure that her wishes were respected. It was just becoming clear that Dr.’s might do C-sections for reasons other than the health of baby or mother. We were just beginning to really understand the effects of anesthetics on the baby. I’d been with a friend in Leboyer’s wonderful clinic in Paris in 1976, but there was nothing like that here in our public hospitals. Now things have changed, and birthing, at least in this city, esp. at Women’s, has changed. But, as Dorothy (ha!) says, there’s no place like home. I completely respect home births. But you can bet if someone tells me s/he is planning a home birth, I am going to ferret out what their contingency plans are. I won’t say “but what if something goes wrong?” but I will say “tell me all about!” and I will listen with pleasure. I’ve helped friends have babies in hospital and at home, and I feel it’s imperative and it’s my responsibility to use the knowledge I gained. Not to ask stupid questions, but just to discern if those involved know what they’re doing, because as safe as a home birth can be, it can also be disastrous if undertaken without the necessary planning.

  50. YogaMama99 says

    Loved this list ! As to the “mess” conversation, that was a question I had about my home birth before I got educated that most of the typical “mess” is caused by the hospital because they have hard-surface floors and someone else to clean up after them so, frankly, there’s no incentive to be cautious. And then, leave it to me, the accountant, to do the math. I figured that even if, for some strange reason, I had to REPLACE my carpets the cost would be less than half the cost of the average no-complications hospital birth. So ladies home birth away and when you get educated, you’ll find that the standard of care at home creates a no-mess situation anyway. And, if you must, replace your carpets., you’ll be dollars ahead and a lot safer !

  51. Cami Olsen says

    I had my first child this last September at a birthing center. When I chose to go this route I could not believe the negative feedback I got from so many especially my friends. I got everything from, ” why would you want to feel that kind of pain if you don’t have to..” or ” That’s like going to the dentist and not getting numbed up..” and my least favorite, ” You’re so brave..” . Really?!! I am not trying to prove anything and be ‘brave’. I have so many reasons in which I chose to go natural. Mostly because I don’t like hospitals and I wanted to be in a calm, peaceful setting to bring my baby into the world. I had such an amazing experience. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done and the absolute best day of my life. I plan on having all my babies naturally. For any women out there considering, definitely research it. The more you educate yourself the better- hospital or not, everyone needs to know what to expect during labor. I enjoyed this post, thank you so much!

  52. Erin says

    Thanks for sharing your opinions in such a great way. It was nice to read an article that didn’t denigrate my choice (or lack thereof) in the process of promoting your own. I had an induced hospital delivery with an epidural — 5 times. Additionally, I delivered at a hospital 3 hours away from my home so that I was near the NICU — just in case. I have a blood disorder that makes continuing my pregnancies past 38 weeks dangerous for the baby, and after 2 miscarriages I don’t take any chances. And I was glad to have the NICU for two of my five babies. Also something for people who don’t know, home birth (or at least having a midwife for a home birth) isn’t legal everywhere. Thanks again for writing an article that promotes your decisions/opinions, without demonizing mine.

  53. cat says

    I wish more hospitals had midwives/Doulas. I wanted a home water birth. I pictured giving birth in a nice warm tub surrounded by lavender candles and soft music playing. Instead I got a two week overdue baby and my midwife made me go get induced. It wasn’t a terrible experience. The nurses were very sweet but it wasn’t what I had planned. I didn’t want pain medication but ended up getting an epidural to help me dialate since I really didn’t want to get pitocin, which after 28 hours I did anyway. I was so stoned from the epidural I let my husband change my baby’s middle name at the last minute to something I hated lol! Anyway, maybe next time I’ll have my all natural birth experience I wanted. It took awhile for me not to feel like I failed for not being able to deliver naturally.

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