Thursday, July 10
Peoples reaction when i tell them that i homebirthed my 3 kids is generally a comment on "how brave" i am, the underlying paradigm being that homebirth is a risky choice. I think "how dangerous" is really what people are trying to express. As with everything, ignorance is the biggest culprit for peoples' misperceptions. Homebirth is not just for 'hippies', in fact the fastest growing demographic of homebirth women in Australia are educated middle-class professional women who have done the research and discovered for themselves that birth at home for low risk women is not more dangerous than hospital birth, it actually results in lower morbidity for mothers and babies and mortality rates are statistically the same. The iatrogenic interventions in birth accounts for a large proportion of the "im so glad i was in hospital because the baby got distressed and i needed a cesarean" births. Click here for interesting story. Satisfaction with the birthing experience is systematically always higher for women who birth at home. Why? homebirth allows control and choice and supports birthing to be what its supposed to be; labour. In a hospital context, every stage of your labour is timed and when that time is up, you are set along the pathway of the next intervention to speed things up (resist if you dare!). Besides being a safe, life enhancing, exhiliarating, affirming and estatic choice for the individual woman and her partner, homebirth also has a public health context which sits in the debate about about appropriate use of social resources and the connections between environmental problems and community health , community cohesion etc. At a very basic level of economic and environmental impact, surgical birth and hospital birth requires more people, more drugs and more equipment, costs more and produces more waste than a home birth. Between 35-50% of birthing women in Australia will end up with a surgical removal of her baby. The WHO recommends a C- section rate between 5-10%; currently only independent midwives achieve such low rates with their hospital transfers. Choosing to view birth in a way that fits within greener, sustainable values is possible however this is not why i chose to homebirth; i wanted a safer and more grounded, non-medical birth for my babies and myself. Homebirth requires being present, mindful and educated and ultimately taking responsibility for ones own health and the health of your child, just like choosing to live in a sustainable way, homebirth is a part of the philosophy of SLOW.