More New York Moms Choosing to Birth at Home

Filed under: Opinions

quote about midwives

Wow. Here's a loaded topic! Want to have your baby at home? Home birth is a process that has been eschewed--well, OK, to use the word from a recent New York Times article on the subject, "condemned"--by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists since 1975. Wow--the's fightin' words if ever I heard 'em. Adding fuel to the fire, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently convinced the American Medical Association to side with them. Home birth is also often viewed by the general public as something undertaken only by uber hippies or the insane. Well, regardless of the stigma associated with home birthing, more and more moms-to-be, especially those in New York City--are choosing to do so, with mixed results.

Many in the medical profession consider home birth dangerous for pregnant women, even those with garden variety pregnancies seen as low-risk. Some doctors say that even a low-risk pregnancy could suddenly become high-risk on a dime, and that homes are not equipped with drugs and other life-saving procedures readily available in hospitals. The other side of the argument, from the moms, is that the women maintain more control of their labor and delivery by birthing at home. Birth, in their opinion, should not be a medical emergency, the way it is often treated by the medical profession. Midwives--at least the one interviewed for the article--point out that a high-risk pregnancy, such as a pregnant woman with preeclampsia, would never be considered a candidate for a home birth.

My main concerns with the home birth plan are shared by many of the moms who decided to do it. For one, New York City apartments are REALLY small. No, really, they are. And when you put a pregnant woman, her family and her attendants--a midwife, a doula--and heaven knows who else (sometimes the other kids too) it can get really cramped in there. But, as the moms point out, you make do. The other concern, which is a lot bigger, is that of germs and cleanliness. I know people say a hospital is full of germs, but should you really be having a brand new baby in any place that isn't 100% germ free, antiseptic cleaned within an inch of its life? I know I am a total germaphobe, but it seems like a hospital would be much cleaner and safer for a brand new baby. There is little to no privacy in a hospital though, and the unique intimacy that comes only for a few moments after birth between mom and child is diminished by all the nurses and interns swirling around.

Would you have a home birth?
Yes - that's the way childbirth is meant to be.259 (47.0%)
Maybe, but not in a tiny NYC apartment!60 (10.9%)
No - a hospital birth is the safest option.232 (42.1%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.