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Home Birth Choice

Home birth came up as a topic in one of my recent interviews.  This Grandma of five little ones, shared her experience of her decision to give birth to all four of her children at home with a midwife.  Grandma was one of those “alternative” girls.  She marched to the beat of her own drum.  We have to start with her reasoning behind the decision to deliver her babies.

“Women have been giving birth for years before the convenience of a hospital setting.”  It was that confidence and the nostalgia freedom of a natural birth through a midwife that appealed to her.   It was a naturalized method of bringing her children into this world surrounded by the comfort of home.  It was an intimate experience having her babies at home versus an institutionalized room filled with a medical team.  “Having the right Midwife is so important”, she continued to express her feelings.

The redbookmag.com summarizes the trend of giving birth from 1900 to 2010.  The pros and cons of each change in the medical field for delivering babies.  In 1900 swung away from home birth.  In 1914, the maternity hospitals used “Twilight Sleep” This was a method which involved dosing the mother with morphine and scopolamine.  The mother slept through the delivery.  The only problem was it increased the risk for both the mother and the baby.  The Flexner report came out that 90 percent of doctors had no formal training.  This changed with legislation.  By the 1930’s, 75 percent of all births happened in the hospital. Unfortunately, this meant a 40 to 50 increase in birth injuries.

After World War II, Twilight Sleep was still common used in births. The baby boomers were in full swing.  In the 1950’s, ninety percent of the births were in the hospitals. By the 1960’s, births in the hospital were a whopping ninety-nine percent!  Then came the “Epidurals” which became popular as a pain relief during labor; in spite of, they slowed down the contractions in nearly half of the deliveries.  It was in the 1980’s when women begin to have more options again as alternative methods through a Midwife. The use of ultrasound technology became widespread, allowing parents their first introduction of their growing baby. Home birth had a slow come back by 2010.  Hospital births went down from ninety-nine percent to eighty percent.

The young mother of our story was giving birth to her first baby 40 years ago on the Island of Kuai. Sounds wonderful, right?  Forty years ago, having a midwife was not that common.  In 1983, there were 3,563,106 babies born in U.S. hospitals.  Midwives were just beginning to catch the eye of the legislation.  Later, it became a battle with lawsuits of complications in the home.  Now, Midwives need certification that include higher education of a nurse. It is important to check on certification and your compatibility.

This Mother was limited to choices of Midwives back then.  There was only one on the whole Island at that time.  To her much fortune, the Midwife was also a natural path doctor that had many deliveries under her belt.  The midwife walked her through her whole pregnancy.  The mother to be took prenatal vitamins and alpha k as the pregnancy advances. Exercising, walking, and swimming were her normal activities right up to birth.  She ran for the first 4 months of her pregnancy.   The natural path was well equipped with birthing kits, oxygen, and many other needed items at all times.  Preparation was key for any expecting mother no matter the outcome.  The Midwife’s skills were preceded by a certification.  The “mother to be” was happy about that but what was just as important was a sense of trust.  The feeling of relating to the midwife’s gentile temperament.  That good old Vibe sense you get from people of like mindedness.   The soon-to-be mother should have that for her baby’s sake. The interview revealed a young mother who had a sense of ease for the first baby but not as much for the second one. Convinced that the uneasiness transfers to the baby, she encourages other mothers to do a thorough interview.

It was a night of a house full of people that evening of her first birth.  The visitors started to leave the gathering around eight o’clock that night. As she was vacuuming, her water broke.  She finished cleaning the house.  Soon she felt pressure intensify.  She instructed her husband to call the Midwife and to put the sterile sheets on the bed.  She interjected that she never really felt pain, only pressure.  She could feel her hips expanding to accommodate the anticipated birth.  The Midwife did arrive but most of the equipment was still in the car.  “Giving birth was like being in a birth bubble.”, she describes.  “The pressure would stop, and nothing was happening.  It was like a transitional period until I dilated, then it moved very quickly.”

No drugs or tears to mend in any of her births.  After giving birth, she had to stand in order for the placenta to come out.  Once that happened, she got dressed.  She felt fine.  It was all over by eleven o’clock.  She was prepared mentally, spiritually and physically for this specious event.

Close family members were waiting for the delivery in the other room with anticipation. Giving birth was no big deal for this mother.  The most concern she ever had about the birth was the sense of responsibility of having a child during pregnancy.   Her voice reflexed serious and loving tones as she spoke, “The thought of a little human being totally depending on you for everything.  Now that is a big deal!”

Other links:

Top 5 Reasons To See A Naturopathic Doctor During Pregnancy – Abaton Integrative Medicine (abatonim.com)

15 Reasons Why You Should Consider Seeing a Naturopath — Well is More

Why This Doctor is Still Choosing Home Birth – Aviva Romm, MD

Home birth: Know the pros and cons – Mayo Clinic

A Guide to Naturopathic Doctors and Their Practice (healthline.com)

An obstetrician explains the benefits of home birth and why it carries too much stigma. (slate.com)

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One of the things I learned as a student and resident, is that in obstetrics you can have a lot to say about your outcome. In other words, you can pick your outcome much of the time—not all of the time—but certainly about 90% of the time. Pregnant women so often feel they shouldn’t question the expert, the obstetrician. My goal is to provide pregnant women a safe arena where they can freely ask questions about their choices in their pregnancy and delivery. I can’t offer you medical advice, but I can tell you about my experiences with the 6000 babies I delivered.

In today’s medical environment, it is very difficult to raise questions about your choices of care. I want to encourage women to have the confidence to trust in themselves and the decisions they make about their care.

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