SmackDown: Should Women Have Home Births?

Filed under: Delivery, Opinions

home births

Illustration by Dori Hartley

Home Birth? Here's Why You're Wrong to Choose One

by Tom Henderson

First of all, ladies, let it be known I have no dog in this fight. As a male, I will never personally experience (thank you, Lord) the miracle that is childbirth.

Plus, returning to the dog metaphor, my previous owner had me neutered.

Thus, my familiarity with the birthing process begins and ends with the remake of "The Exorcist" my ex-wife performed when she was in labor with our son. I will never go through that again, so far be it from me to tell you how to bring forth new life.

Instead, I will merely ask a a couple of simple questions. First, do you want to give birth at home? And if so, are you feather-plucking insane?!

I know women have many reasons for opting for home births. I used to serve on the board of a clinic that included midwifery services. The at-home midwives and doulas were great people for whom I have tremendous respect. I just don't understand why anyone would use their services -- at least at home.

So I did some research. Here are some of the reasons to choose a home birth. Let's examine a few of them, shall we?

1. Your home is cleaner than a hospital.

This is supposedly because hospitals are full of yucky germs and sick people. Your house is clean and sparkly. Riiight -- if you're an obsessive-compulsive neat freak who sterilizes her kitchen utensils in an autoclave.

Hospitals are a lot cleaner than your house. Trust me. This is why the authorities get a little testy if you perform brain surgery in your kitchen.

2. Your chances of getting a C-section are reduced with a home birth.

Your doctor isn't going to perform a C-section because she really wants to try out her new Swiss Army Knife. If she says you need a C-section, trust her. The situation is serious. This is not the time for a wait-and-see attitude. You need to be cut open, and the best place to be cut open is a hospital.

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Why I Chose to Stay at Home and Have My Baby

by Denise Cortes of BabyCenter

When I was about to give birth to my first child, I remember my OB walking into the delivery room, crossing her arms over her chest magnanimously and announcing, "OK. I'm here. Now you can have this baby!" Then she stretched out her arms so the nurse could slip on her gown and tie the mask to her face like she was James freaking Brown or something. All she needed was a nurse to dab her sweat.

Meanwhile, I was laying there spread-eagled, my feet up in the stirrups with a baby practically dangling from my lady parts. Not the most dignified of positions.

I told myself I would never allow that to happen again. But it did, 15 months later. This time, the nurse peeked under the sheet to see what all the fuss was about after she heard me panting like a wild boar.


"I have to push, now!"

"Honey, you have to wait until the doctor gets here. Don't make me deliver this baby!"

So we spent the next 15 minutes or so with me doing my wild boar impersonation and the nurse holding my baby's head between my legs until the doctor walked in and my baby shot out like a rocket.

That is when I started researching home birth.

I didn't have movies like "The Business of Being Born" to help me form my opinion, or to educate me with statistics about how safe home birth was, and how harmful unnecessary medical intervention was. It was little old me, the library, various search engines, Barbara Harper's "Gentle Birth Choices," my raggedy copies of "The Compleat Mother," my heartfelt convictions and my dreams of a natural childbirth (preferably in the water). Where were you Ricki Lake, back in 2000? People just didn't have home births. And if you did, you were on the fringes of society. People thought I was crazy.

But I wasn't crazy. I was finally making sense.

Click here to read the rest of the SmackDown on BabyCenter.

Related: Silent childbirth? Holy crap!
Related: When women fear childbirth

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