Pregnancy brings with it numerous decisions that need to be made. Six months pregnant I've been facing up to all of them. Lately all sorts of opinions and comments have come forth on a trend that has been developing amongst women in the United States. More and More women are opting out of the conventional hospital birth and instead just staying at home to have their babies. This growing trend towards home birth has everybody taking a position. In my explorations through the vast realms of the Internet I've seen numerous reactions to the subject of home birth verses hospital birth. From the majority who view it as dangerous and taking unnecessary risks all the way to the women who fire their midwives, send their husbands out of the room and delivery the baby all alone. And after all the research, to be completely honest, I'm having trouble understanding what the controversy is about. Is home birth and unassisted birth really that shocking?
Prior to World War II hospital births were a very rare occurrence in the United States. Most women had home births. The hospital was only considered as an option in high-risk situations. So why is it treated as taboo and irresponsible amongst Americans today? Furthermore, prior to the 1800's births were attended to by midwives. To have a man in the room while a woman gave birth was seen as shameful. It is interesting how quickly society in the USA has adapted to viewing hospital birth as the norm and home birth as some sort of strange, life threatening fad engaged in by liberals and hippies.
What has sent even a greater shock through the medical community is the growing trend of women who not only stay at home, but also make the decision to birth their babies with no medical assistance at all; in many cases without even their husbands in the room. While everybody has an opinion on the controversial topic of unassisted birth it is not as uncommon, nor as newfangled as it appears. Unassisted childbirth is nothing new. In the 1950's a group was founded called: The League of Liberated Women. This group of women practised home births without Medical Assistance. The founder delivered seven babies on her own aided by nothing, but a few whiskey highballs. Numerous news stories from the fifties and sixties detail similar birth stories. The latest movement in unassisted childbirth is actually just a long running practice amongst American Women and not as shocking as it seems.
So, it is evident that the ladies have been doing it on their own for quite awhile now. And, while the statistics are limited at this point it seems without all of the terrible results many people may assume. In fact, the statistics on home birth and births in birth-centers compared to hospital births show a lower rate of complications and need for a caesarean section when studies are performed amongst healthy women having typical, low-risk pregnancies. Also, midwife attended births have lower rates of complications, mortality and caesarean section than the typical medical doctor attended birth. Some of the reasons given for this is that a healthy woman experiencing a low risk pregnancy births better in an atmosphere that will allow her to birth naturally, listening to what her body tells her is necessary without the noise and chaos that often accompany a hospital birth. Birth is, despite attempts to view it differently, a natural process performed by the female body.
After all my researching one thing is for certain after my experiences with hospital birth I'm thinking I just might stay home this time, take a bath, drink a glass of red wine and have a baby.