Monday, July 21, 2008

Birthing choices

Yes, we're planning a homebirth. Don't be frightened. It's as safe for DomerBaby as being in a hospital, and MORE safe for me. I'll put some reference books at the bottom of this post in case you are interested in learning more.

T.J. and I are comfortable and excited about the prospect of having the baby at home. Our main reasons for choosing a homebirth are:

1) To avoid unnecessary medical interventions for me and DomerBaby,
2) To be able to labor and birth in any position that works best for me, and
3) To feel comfortable with the people who are in the room while I'm birthing.

Today I met with the 2nd of 3 homebirth midwives that we are interviewing (T.J. missed this one because of work). She works with another midwife, and they have 40 years combined experience in birthing! Amazing. They were a bit more conservative than the last woman we met - they won't take twin or breach births. But they've also only lost 2 out of 1400 babies! Can you imagine seeing a hospital with that statistic? They transfer about 10% of mothers to the hospital, and about 3/10 of those will have a c-section. That's an amazing statistic. It is in part because of their careful screening of who they accept as a patient, and the self-selection of women who want to homebirth - who usually are in very good health and take great care of themselves. But still. Most hospital c-section rates are around 30%. Thirty Percent!!!

Half of all pregnancies are now medically induced, which seems to be one of the causes of the big jump in c-section rates. It's really quite insane. The average gestation for a first-born baby is 41w3d (assuming you aren't one of the unlucky 50% who are induced). Most doctors won't even go PAST 41w. When the baby is ready to be born, it releases a hormone from it's brain that begins labor. When inductions are done before the baby is ready, the process is often:

Induction -> overwhelming pain from the meds for mom -> epidural -> low heart rate of the baby (from epi and/or from prolonged unnatural contractions compressing the baby) -> emergency c-section.

I think we're safer at home.

Great books about Homebirth:
Obstetric Myths vs. Research Realities - Henci Goer
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth - Henci Goer
Gentle Birth Choices - Barbara Harper
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - Ina May Gaskin
Spiritual Midwifery - Ina May Gaskin


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