45 Reasons NOT to Have a Home Birth

45 reasons NOT to have a home birth (spoiler: this post is not what you think)

1) You’d like an episiotomy, even though that is no longer the standard of care, but the home midwife doesn’t carry Supercut Episiotomy Scissors, 23 cm, in her bag.

 

2) You don’t care that you will be attended by hospital staff who consistently refuse to wash their hands. (Hospital health workers wash their hands as little as 30 percent of the time.)

 

3) You have too many dust bunnies under the bed.

 

4) The research shows home birth with a qualified birth attendant is as safe or safer than hospital birth and the most scientific birth is the least technological but you pay more attention to television shows and birth haters than you do to research.

 

5) You’d rather be rushed through 15-minute appointments with an obstetrician who can’t remember your name and really wants to get on to the next client than spend an hour or an hour and a half talking about diet, exercise, stress, and having any questions or concerns you have addressed with a midwife in the comfort of your own home or in her plant and light-filled office.

 

6) Anne of Green Gables had all seven of her children at home, and she’s a fictional character so home birth couldn’t possibly be for you. Plus her first baby died a few hours after birth (of a congenital heart condition that was incompatible with life), so home birth must be bad.

 

7) Meryl Strep had a home birth and she danced like a crazy lady in Mama Mia, you don’t want to be like her.

 

8) Emmy Award-winning TV host Ricki Lake had a home birth. You always thought she was too out there.

 

9) Actress Pamela Anderson gave birth to both her sons at home and she’s been a lifelong animal rights activist so she must be wacko. She, and all these other home-birthing celebs, are nutsola granola.

 

10) You’ve watched The Business of Being Born and realize that medical doctors are ignorant and even fearful of natural childbirth. Since you’ve never had a baby you’re fearful too. So you’ve decided to birth with the docs.

 

11) Your obstetrician had a home birth but you’d rather do as she says not as she does.

 

12) You don’t want to eat or drink during labor, even if your body tells you to. Luckily most American hospitals will allow laboring women nothing but ice chips.

 

13) You won’t mind having complete strangers repeatedly barge into the room where you are giving birth, take no notice of you, say nothing to you, but instead stand in front of the computer print-out from the electronic fetal monitoring with concerned looks on their faces.

 

14) You also won’t mind having a nurse you’ve never seen before barge into the room where you are giving birth and roughly stick her fingers up your yaya, pull off the glove in disgust, declare, “Nothing, not even a dimple!” about your cervical dilation, and rush out again. That won’t be in the least bit discouraging or have any effect on your cervix’s ability to dilate.

 

15) You also won’t mind having a group of young residents, mostly men, stand around the bed where you are lying and each take a turn measuring your cervical dilation with their fingers, which they do so roughly and awkwardly that it causes your cervix to swell. Someone’s got to teach ’em, why not you?

 

16) You don’t want a birth attendant you know and trust to be there with you, thank you very much. You’re happy to have an obstetrician or a family practitioner who doesn’t show up until you are ready to push.

 

17) You don’t mind being strapped down to the bed. Because you’re not really strapped down. You’re just not allowed to move because movement makes the fetal and uterine monitors malfunction.

 

18) You don’t mind that when the uterine monitor does malfunction—because the hospital equipment is broken—you are told a catheter must be inserted into your vagina “to measure the strength of your uterine contractions.” You ask if this runs the risk of infection. Your nurse says, “Yes, of course, any foreign object inserted into the vagina runs the risk of causing an infection.” You say you don’t want the catheter. The nurse and doctor bully you into accepting it anyway.

Hospitals in America make money every time they make a mistake. Another reason to choose home over hospital birth.

19) You’d rather throw up in front of labor and delivery nurses who will shake their heads in revulsion and who won’t remind you that throwing up is a good thing because your body’s hormones are kicking in and you are making room for the baby to come out, than throw up in front of your kind and loving support team in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

 

20) You could always go to the hospital if things get rough at home, but you’d rather just start off there instead.

 

21) You aren’t worried about the fact that you might get a virulent antibiotic-resistant infection in the hospital. After all, you have dust bunnies (see #3) at home.

 

22) You don’t feel comfortable in your own home.

 

23) You don’t want your birth to be natural.

 

24) You’re happy to have the hospital nurses and doctors tell you to “be quiet” or “stop making noise” so you don’t scare the birthing women in adjacent rooms.

 

25) You haven’t read the science so you don’t know that continuous electronic fetal monitoring leads to unnecessary C-sections but does not improve fetal outcomes. Your hospital insists on it, for LIABILITY reasons, and that’s reason enough for you.

 

26) You want your baby to be ahead of the pack so you have no problem having your labor artificially induced so the baby can come early.

Medically induced births increase a baby's risk of myriad health problems yet doctors often urge early induction. Let the baby decide. Another reason to choose home birth.

 

27) You look forward to giving birth lying flat on your back in the most uncomfortable position possible.

 

28) You find hospital birth professionals wearing blue pajamas to be more reassuring than experienced home birth midwives wearing their regular clothes.

 

29) You don’t actually want to feel anything and, like Jessica Gottlieb, you plan to get “my epidural” as soon as they’ll give it to you.

 

30) You have no idea what you’re doing. So you figure it’s best to do whatever the doctor tells you. Only the doctor won’t actually be there (see #16.)

 

31) You were afraid to take aspirin during your pregnancy but look forward to the drugs and anesthesia that will be foisted on you during hospital labor. Bring on the Demerol. You aren’t worried about the myriad negative side effects of epidurals or opiates. The doctor says they’re safe.

 

32) You want your labor to be on a time line. You’re as impatient as the obstetrician, though for different reasons.

 

33) You understand that if your labor takes longer than is convenient for the doctors—and for the hospital’s insurance reimbursement plan—it will be aggressively managed with synthetic hormones to speed things along. Not for the good of your body or your baby. But for the doctor’s convenience.

 

34) You understand that if your long labor does not respond quickly enough to Pitocin (see #33), you are likely to have a C-section.

 

35) What’s wrong with a C-section anyway? And who cares that some hospitals have over 50 percent C-section rates?

 

36) You like the idea of scheduling your baby’s birthday. 11/11/11 was a popular C-section day.

 

37) You’re not worried that over 14,000 babies a year are nicked during C-section birth in America. What’s a little nick? Or a missing finger?

Over 14,000 babies are harmed during C-section birth in America every year. Another reason to have your baby at home.

Screen shot from BabyCenter.com

 

38) You want the medical personnel to scream at you to “PUSH! PUSH! PUSH!” while they watch your contractions on a computer screen.

 

39) You think it’s best for a baby to be born into bright lights and a cold, sterile room.

 

40) You want the cord to be cut immediately, which is what will most likely happen in the hospital, depriving the baby of up to 40 percent of its blood volume.

 

41) Immediate cord clamping causes anemia. You’re grateful to be in the hospital where they have technology to help your baby overcome the anemia the hospital’s policies caused.

 

42) You think your baby should be vaccinated at birth against a sexually transmitted disease (hepatitis B) for which you and your partner have both tested negative and that is most common in prostitutes and IV drug users. You know that’s good thinking and good science but home birth midwives don’t administer the hepatitis B vaccine.

 

43) You don’t mind that the hospital personnel may take your baby away from you right after birth, scrub your baby with antibiotic soap (see #21), and separate you from your baby for long periods of time, whether it’s necessary or not.

 

44) You don’t want to breastfeed and are glad to know that the hospital does product placement and covert advertising for the formula companies and will be loading you up with “free” formula and coupons.

 

45) Your baby’s birthday is your birthing day too. Your world changes forever when you become a mother. Your friend who had a home birth tells you it was the most empowering and validating experience of her life. For you it was a day of humiliation, bullying, emotional, and physical abuse. Being treated so badly validates all your childhood feelings of self-doubt and self-hate. It must be your body—not the system—that is broken. So next time you’ll have a hospital birth as well.

Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D.: 45 reasons to have a home birth

Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is an award-winning journalist and the author/editor of six non-fiction books. Her oldest daughter was born at Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more about birth in her most recent book: Your Baby, Your Way: Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Parenting Decisions for a Happier, Healthier Family (Scribner 2015).

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Categories: pregnancy and childbirth.

Comments

  1. Hannah

    my hospital birth was the worst experience of my life. After reading this I wish to God I would have just had my son at home instead of being bullied and treat like trash by my ” nurses”

  2. Lala

    I would be dead if I had birthed at home. Home birth isn’t safe for everyone. I actually contacted a well known home birth advocate when I was pregnant, and she told me she had never heard of my heart problems (mitral valve prolapse and atrial fibrillation) and that my history of strokes wouldn’t be a problem during delivery.

    • Jenn

      Same mitral valve history of strokes vaginal septum breech baby you name it! Sorry my friend sent me this link, I feel it I don’t know what hospital they are referring to? Mine was amazing

  3. Victoria

    Oh my god. what a bunch of fearmongering bull. What inspired this, a 1960s birth? Have you even HAD a hospital birth, Jennifer? I’ve had three and none of them were anything like this. (Though the midwives in my birth-center birth classes tried to convince me they would be. The same birth center that shut down after news broke that they’d lost five babies, btw.)

    • cora

      ive had three, two of which WERE hospital births and went exactly like 98 percent of this. Thank goodness my last was an out of hospital birth. Im about to have a fourth and this too will be out of hospital. Hospitals are dirty, disgusting, deplorable and loathsome places for expectant mothers. Only in the U.S. is it common practice to have needless amount of prenatal visits, 22 on average compared to U.K.s 4 prenatal visits with a midwife. And on top of that, in every single country it is taboo to birth in a hospital or even see a dr. midwives and birthing centers are common place as well as home births. The u.k. is of comparable income, size and populace, different standards and somehow the U.S. with all their superior technological advancement still holds the number one all time high of fetal and maternal death rate, despite these comparable similarities. Midwives i find, have a passion to continue their education and opt for extra certification, doctors have the luxury of passing on elective additional certification or education, they figure “hey ten year of college and residency, i earned not having to crack open anothe rbook and fully rely on text thats a decade old”….Midwives along with homebirthers i tend to also find are the ones most educated compared to those who would rather roll over and relinquish their god given right to their own body functions to a complete nimrod whos bottom line is your dollar. I would like to ask, can you palpate your fetus position? do you even know what cephalic aversion is? do you even know how to take your own blood pressure, blood for testing? can you calculate your weight/height to week in pregnancy and know if youre in a safe zone? are you so in tune with your body that you can predict labour days before it actually takes place? Did you know that you dont need a doctor to administer blood tests, pap tests, glucose tests, STD tests and urine tests? all of those can be obtained online, taken at home and sent back in to their labs which then email the results, the same labs used by your docs here in the u.s. bet you cant do any of the above, know any of the above…. And im just a stay at home mom with three kids. It is refreshing to be able to converse with other like minded individuals, as well as those who arent like minded, but i advise you, before you start calling someone out for listing off their experiences merely because “your experience didnt include those” so all of this must be bull, educate yourself from both ends.

      and in response to your accusation that a birth center near you was shut down due to the deaths of five babies, i would like to see proof. AND on top of that, five babies in the span of how long? what were the causes? and did anyone sue? and who shut them down, if anything im willing to bet it was egged on by the local doctors association as is always the story, attacking birthing centers. disgusting….. your lack of GENUINE proof in your response, i will conclude will means you are a giant fibber. Five deaths in probably a few years ammounts to nothing compared to a month at a regular hospital….. ignorance, its always in disgusting form.

  4. Marni

    How can there be mostly male OB GYN residents standing around watching you, when over 85% of OB GYN residents are women???

  5. Stacy

    You forgot a couple! Here are my biggest reasons:

    1. I don’t want my baby to have Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy and need brain cooling.
    http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378%2813%2901604-9/abstract
    2. I want my baby to have an Apgar >0 at 5 minutes (i.e. I’d like my baby to be breathing, have a heartbeat…you know, little things)
    http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378%2813%2900641-8/abstract
    3. I want my baby to be alive.
    http://weill.cornell.edu/news/pr/2013/09/birth-setting-study-signals-significant-risks-in-planned-home-birth.html

    But I guess episiotomies and dust bunnies are more important to other people.

      • cora

        Most “emergencies” that arise in a hospital are due to the domino effect, and are always mostly due to interventions that would have otherwise not have happened in a homebirth. Unless you state specifically what these ’emergencies” were, then i think we can all assume either youre full of it, or you know they were avoidable. its sad that most people think their “emergency” would of meant a death sentence if it were a homebirth, when they really dont know that the emergency itself was created in the hospital

    • patty

      Mostly this stuff is accurate-a little exaggerated, maybe, and not much in the S.F. Bay Area.Julia says torcher me, starve me etc. ,,,,Doesn’t she get it that that stuff also effects the baby? High intervention births( for low-risk women) ARE MORE dangerous than ” keeping it as simple as possible” No I am not an OB, but I do know many who agree with me. I have attended 534 births in 11 different hospitals, and the for profit institutions do have a higher C-Section births. Remember it is true that continuous fetal monitoring routinely leads to more surgical births-much riskier than vaginal delivery in a great majority of cases-without a decrease ins bad outcomes! Wish people would not get so emotional, without RESEARCH!

      • Stacy

        “High intervention births ARE MORE dangerous”
        Citation? Dangerous in what aspect? Please provide a single reference that in low-risk women interventions increase the risk of neonatal death.

        “I have attended 534 births”
        Ah, so far fewer than a 1st year resident OB.

        “Please this is silly! No one wants these things! CNMs at home, and licensed midwives that deliver babies at home within 20 mins. of a hospital are safe attendants, in a safe setting.”
        So you oppose MANA and all CPMs in the United States?
        If a baby is born blue and floppy, how many minutes do you think the midwife has until that baby is permanently brain-damaged? Here’s a clue – it’s a lot less than 20.

        “Research home birth”
        Um…that’s exactly what my post was. REAL research – peer-reviewed, published literature. I’ve had 2 homebirths myself is that’s the kind of “research” you were really thinking off. I prefer that white paper though.

        “if they carry lifesaving equipment / meds.”
        What CNM midwife (let alone CPM…) carries an anesthesiologist, OR, blood bank, pediatric intubation equipment, neonatal resuscitation team? If a life is REALLY in danger, at a birth, THOSE are the things you need. A mask and an O2 tank really aren’t going to cut it.

        We could do away with all interventions…but then we’d be the third world and I know you wouldn’t want to give birth like a rural Afghani.

        You’re not really against interventions. Just the ones you’ve deemed morally inferior.

    • patty

      Please this is silly! No one wants these things! CNMs at home, and licensed midwives that deliver babies at home within 20 mins. of a hospital are safe attendants, in a safe setting. Research home birth-you will find them as safe as a hospital-if close, and if they carry lifesaving equipment / meds. Unnecessary interventions-not keeping it simple creates MORE problems… it all depends on the situation-it is called the risk/benefit ratio- always a balancing act in medicine-esp. birth- a normal process, not a medical event.

    • Lanaya

      I wanted to touch upon the peer reviewed journals you have referenced in opposition to homebirths. The last two papers are one and the same, so you have cited two papers that dispute the safety of homebirths. Both of these papers (Wasden et al 2014 and Grünebaum et al 2013) have major sampling issues, so much so that I’m surprised they have been published. It’s important to look at where the funding is coming from and if the researchers may have any ulterior or bias motives.

      In Wasden et al they were trying to compare 5 home births against 340 hospital births. In Grunebaum et al they were trying to compare 12,663,051 hospital births against 67,429 home births. There is no sense in performing statistical analsysis on these data – the results are obsolete (this is coming from someone with a background in research). Statistics can be manipulated to tell us anything, that’s why it’s important to read the whole study and have an understanding of the research methods used and statistical programming. There are in fact papers done in the UK and across Europe that show homebirths are just as safe and even safer then hospitals.

      I researched birth extensively and chose to give birth to my children at home. I feel it is safest place to give birth. I would die for my children, if I needed a c-section or episiotomy, then I would do it without hesitation – if it were medically necessary. However I object to my baby being used as a weapon to control where I birth and who I labour with. I refuse to live in fear of birthing my babies.

      • Stacy

        Grunebaum has published multiple papers on the safety of homebirth in the last year. One on increased risk of death, one on Apgars of 0, one on the inflation of Apgars by homebirth midwives, one on the increased risk profile of homebirths. The links are not the same. He’s just done so many in the last year I can see how someone might confuse them. They’re all pretty horrible.

        So if you throw out the statistics from Amos’ papers, you equally discredit MANA’s “study”, right? Since it wasn’t a “study” at all but a voluntary survey of just 17,000 women (not 13 million and 67,000) in which there are numerous instances of missing outcomes for women and babies. Also, anyone that “knows statistics” would know that you cannot make any reasonable comparison between homebirth in the UK, Netherlands, Canada, Australia or New Zealand as the systems are completely different. In those countries all the midwives have advanced education (nursing level and masters degrees) and are integrated into the health care system. That is patently not the case in the US and MANA and lay midwives actively fight against it becoming like that. You cannot point to a UK study and say that it shows that US homebirth is safe.

        I’m not trying to “control” your birth. Have a homebirth if you want to. I’ve had 2. But don’t pretend that it’s as safe or safer than hospital birth. Don’t LIE to women and repeat that tripe. Women deserve truly INFORMED CONSENT before deciding to do something that increases the risk of their baby dying by 400% or more.

        • Lanaya

          I apologise – I had assumed this was a UK article (as it was posted on a UK birthing forum). Thank you for dealing with my ignorance patiently. I was under the impression that you were a UK lady pointing to a US study to say homebirth is unsafe. I didn’t bother reading this whole article because I felt it was undermining to women who chose to give birth in hospitals, and I got the gist of what it was saying after the first 10 points or so..

          You’re right I do also throw out MANA’s study, that’s why I didn’t cite it – I was just meaning to use it as an example that research can show us anything. It was not the study I based my decision on to homebirth. I wasn’t aware of the US situation on MW, and it certainly seems like its more complicated then this article lets on. I didn’t realise how fortunate we are here in the UK to have such educated and experienced MWs.

          I know that you were not trying to control my births. I wasn’t meaning to insinuate you were. I completely agree with you – women need informed consent in their choices.

    • Julie

      Heather –
      I am in no way saying that there should be un necessary interventions .. quite the opposite. And just like you said .. “research” is SO important. Two words that I don’t believe in are NEVER and ALWAYS. You will not ALWAYS get a picture perfect birth in ANY setting. And all hospital docs do not ALWAYS do un necessary interventions either. However, I would think women in today’s day and age would want these interventions available IF NEED BE. I mean the fetal monitor strap? Birth is painful we all know that. If your worst pain is those straps making you uncomfortable, I say you lucked out girlfriend. Research .. doctors DO NOT do any unnecssary things. I have never ever heard of a doc doing a section because he wants to go home or whatever. They’re dont to prevent life threatening issues to both mother and baby. I would rather get a section and live to tell my baby about it than the alternative. I can’t say every single dr doesn’t do unnecessary things, but I will say the vast vast majority do not. If it is being done, then it is necessary. Additionally, many of these things are precautionary interventions. Meaning, “let’s do it now so we won’t have to cry later.”
      The point is, when women birth at home they generally have no idea if it is a “normal” pregnancy because these same women are the ones who refuse “interventions.” Just because you feel good doesn’t mean something can’t be wrong. And even if you had all tests done, you still don’t know what is in store for you. Being in a hospital with life saving equipment and professional, trained doctors mere feet away is worth more (to me, at least) than anything else.
      And I did not imply that it is okay to “torCHure” (sorry, I am a teacher!) women. Obviously I exaggerated (as did the author of this article). No doctor will literally torchure patients. I simply meant that I would do anything necessary to ensure a healthy baby, no matter what the cost was to my “experience.”

      • You never heard of an unnecessary c section? Seeing as no health outcomes are proved with a rate over about 5-10%, that makes the remaining 40 in some places unnecessary. Mine was unnecessary and I could point you at women who have had all the crap above. Including me.

    • Carolyn

      No! Wrong! Midwives are trained to handle infants that need help breathing at birth. From what I have learned. Infants born at home recieve a higher apgar score than hospital birth babies who will never be given anything above a 9.
      btw
      Stacy, You are awesome! thank you for your amazing, incredible article! As a woman who is studying to become a Midwife (and attend home births!) I applaud you!!

  6. Carrie

    I’ve never felt rushed by an OB. When I had my first, my OB was great about giving me all of the time I needed to chat. She treated everyone like that. Plus, I was a reader by nature, so I bought every pregnancy book there was, so I had most of my nutrition questions answered there. By the time I had my fourth, I was the one rushing through the appointments! I mean, I don’t need an hour to hear the baby’s heartbeat and pee in a cup. And, with three little ones, I didn’t have that kind of time.

    Plus, when you have little ones and home, and your closest family is hundreds of miles away, scheduled c-sections are the BOMB! (Also, when your child has craniosynostosis, they’re a life saver. Literally.)

  7. courtney

    So true. My first birth was in the hospital, and I was so demeaning, humiliating and traumatic. Second was at home and it was 100% different. Sadly this whole list is true for me.

  8. Steffany Mattioli

    I’m sorry you have such a poor opinion of hospital births. My hospital birth was everything I had hoped for and I was very lucky. The way you expressed your views leaves much to be desired.

    • cora

      desired? whether you agree or not that is not the right context in which to use “leaves much to be desired”. And if i understand what you really mean, it may leave those who disagree unsatisfied.

  9. Meira

    While many of these reasons are good, some hospitals are wising up especially with breastfeeding and more home-style rooms in more modern hospitals. Also you CAN deny the HEP B vaccine and get it at your dr’s office.

  10. Steph

    #46 – After submitting to numerous doppler and growth scans which your obstetrician insists are necessary (why would she ever subject you to unnecessary tests?), you’re diagnosed with severe IUGR. You’re told that your baby’s abdomen hasn’t grown a millimeter in 2 weeks and that your baby’s dopplers are ‘worsening – indicating that your baby is becoming distressed’. You’re then wheeled in for a C-Section (why bother with a TOL – small babies “can’t cope” with contractions and will “inevitably” become distressed and need yanking out via C-Section anyway), which you agree to because your OB says that as this stage your baby stands a better chance in an incubator than in your uterus – she wouldn’t say that if it wasn’t true, would she? So you follow your OB’s advice and don’t give nature a chance to take its course and see what happens over the next few weeks – you have a C- Section at 34 weeks instead.

    • Anon

      I had to be induced at almost 35 weeks due to a severe case of pre eclampsia & while I had a Dr who was keen to start an epidural in the likely case of a c section, I just asked to establish labour first. My midwife supported our choice & I had a very successful, very calm & happy 5 & 1/2 hr labour with my baby being born within 3 contractions when it was time to push. Yes, I had a plethora of monitoring devices on my tummy given the situation. But I really wonder sometimes if we don’t set ourselves up for disappointment when we focus more on the journey than the outcome. I had to have ‘medical intervention’ for both my babies & yet still had the most beautiful birth stories. But then for my husband and I, it was all about ensuring happy & healthy baby whatever that looked like. Possibly things are different in Australia (where I am) than in the US but again, I have never actually heard of unnecessary c sections & I always got at least an hour with baby on skin to skin before anyone moved or weighed baby or anything. And certainly breastfeeding is very encouraged here!

  11. nicole

    I’ve had 4 hospital births. 3 completely all natural. Never an episiotomy, never drugs, never separated from baby, breastfed all of them, 1 breech and began to turn, still born “sunny side up”, 2 labor’s were spent almost entirely in the tub which the nurses kindly refilled with hot water at my request. Never flat on my back. Never strapped or hooked up. Always encouraged to move, use the birthing ball, and birth stool. A nurse Put my hair up and rubbed my back as I threw up while she explained why this was happening and it was no big deal, they were bringing clean blankets and socks. I am 100% FOR homebirth for people who want it. But I don’t want the mess of the birth, the stress of all of the other children, and the house needs, all hanging over my head. I like to relax in the hospital and will be having my 5th child with my patient ob in approximately 10 weeks. 🙂

  12. Kate

    Love this article. I have had three kids and almost died with my last delivery. If I would not of been in a hospital setting, I would not of made it. Other than that, I know if I ever had another it would be a birth in a hospital setting with just a midwife. I still don’t like all the bossy nurses, and the fact that you get no sleep at all after the baby is born. No one will leave you alone. I want my babies with me, but with a c- sections, I did not get much say. My first two were born in large hospitals. I did have great Pediatricians , who were not quick to advocate circumcision. That, I will always be happy about, but I know most midwives don’t either. This article made me laugh. It hit it right on.

  13. Julie

    The more I read the more I agreed with her sarcasm …. yes, I WOULD like to give birth in a clean sterile hospital surrounded by medical PROFESSIONALS, as I care more about my child’s health and quality of life than I do about being in a “plant filled room..” I understand she meant these sarcastically, but anyone with a brain would agree with them. Who really cares whether you are on a first name basis with your nurse? If you can get my baby out healthy, strap me down, starve me, do what you gotta do, torture me for all I care, just get me my healthy baby!
    Additionally, most women can attest to the fact that many of these are not even true (looks of revulsion, etc. .. and again, who cares how they look at you anyway?!).
    Lastly, number 20 cracks me up. Does anyone else even realize what this means .. by saying “if it gets rough we’ll go to the hospital,” you are actually admitting to putting more stock in doctors than us non-crunchy people!! So basically you’re saying when something goes wrong, then you’ll rub to the hospital .. and what, take a bed and time and attention from someone who had the common sense to be there all along??!! Idiotic.

    • Elena

      I love your comment. I always say I would rather have the most unnecessary c-section with the rudest ObGyn in the world than an out of hospital birth. Plants and kindly birth attendants with no medical degree? No thanks.

      • cora

        that is really quite a sad take. wow. what would you do if one day we were found to have no power, no fuel to run generators and were forced to birth a way that you disagree with? wouldnt be so nice, to you at least, right? assuming that midwives are untrained and uncertified shows your ignorance. And it is about how secure and comfortable you are along with safety, birth isnt a process in which strict adherence to man made policies is required. Birth is an experience which should be looked back at as satisfying, with positive feelings. not regret, embarrassment, and negativity. it is quite sad that you feel you would have everyone birth that way. midwives are most definitely prepared for REAL emergencies, not hospital “emergencies” that in fact were actually created BY the hospital. I suggest to do a little more research with credible sources, abstracts, and perhaps taking some actual courses.

      • Pat Mallinson

        Why would your Midwife need a medical degree? Is pregnancy an illness? Surely a degree in Midwifery would better equip a person to care for you in labour, this includes the knowledge to recognise deviations from normal and refer to an Obstetrician if required.

  14. Love it! Especially #6 because I love Anne of Green Gables. I had both of my daughters at home with amazing midwives in attendance. I know homebirth isn’t for everyone, I totally understand how women with high-risk pregnancies would want to be at a hospital … hopefully more doulas can be available to women who need to birth in the hospital.

  15. Having 10 children all born in the hospital, I have to say I had good experiences. All were natural births except for 3 emergency c-sections – the 4th, 9th and 10 were from2 – 2/12 mths premature and had I not been in a hospital environment, both me and the babies would probably have died. I had supportive OBs who agreed with my philosophy of natural childbirth being the best but the most important goal was to have a healthy baby. God has blessed us with 10 healthy children!
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  16. Sarah

    I just had an amazing hospital VBAC with a CNM. I was always respected, consulted about any actions taken, and never pressured into interventions I didn’t want. The nurses were wonderful, midwives were wonderful, pediatricians were wonderful, lactation consultants were wonderful. The residents I saw were few and far between and were knowledgeable and respectful. My care was competent and compassionate. Breastfeeding and bonding were highly encouraged. Even the food was pretty good! It was nothing at all like anything written here. I get it that this is a response to the criticisms of home birth. But honestly, this kind of divisive snark serves no one.

    • Elena

      It’s not supposed to be how secure you feel. It’s supposed to be about what is the safest for your baby, which is in a hospital.

        • Julie

          The thing is, no one knows if at what point any birth will turn risky halfway through. Me? I’d never ever EVER take the chance. There is nothing that is more important to me, not my comfort (although I wouldn’t feel comfortable at home anyway) nor my experience that would trump even the chance of putting my baby and myself at risk.
          And most importantly, most women (if not all) that don’t use a real obgyn aren’t even getting all the tests run.. so how do they even know if it’s low risk/normal?? The only way to know that is to actually see doctors, get the proper blood work/sonograms/etc. all throughout pregnancy (not once in the beginning and then never again).

        • Julie

          And if a home birth is “just as/safer than a hospital one,” then why do they plan on going to hospital when things do get tricky?? Stay home then. No matter what.

        • natashao

          please provide evidence of homebirths being as safe as or safer than hospital births in the u.s. the mana study showed the opposite…

  17. Heather

    my sister and nephew would have both died if she had tried a home birth. Home births aren’t right for everyone. Make your own choice (as everyone has the right to do and not be judged) and research both sides. The pros and the cons. Don’t just google why are home births good and hospital births bad. Also Google why is it dangerous to do a home birth. Have all the information. I am not for or against home birth I just want people to be educated and make their own choice not the choice others are telling them to make. Not everyone can do a home birth and you shouldn’t feel bad if you can’t or don’t want to. If you feel it is right for you, great, have at it.

  18. april board certified ob

    This is a terrible article full of fear inducing falsehoods about hospital birth. I hope everyone does their research with reputable sources and finds the real truth. Please, talk to your obstetrician / gynecologist / certified nurse midwife / veteran l&d nurse before believing any of this. Ask them how they handle natural births. There are many of us that are supportive of nature. Find a practice that incorporates a low intervention model. Just because Ricki Lake jumps off a cliff, doesn’t mean you have to too.

  19. Natasha

    Wow. As someone who just gave birth in a hospital a couple of months ago, what a bunch of bull. I did have an episiotomy. Why? My daughter’s head was stuck, and it didn’t matter how much I pushed, she wasn’t coming out without help. Her heart rate kept dropping, so excuse me if I’d rather be cut and get her out safely than keep trying to push her out with no luck. I had an awesome doctor who was there the whole time and delivered my baby. The nurses weren’t yelling at me to push, they were calm and very encouraging. They were very pro-breastfeeding, and I struggled with it a lot in the beginning. My amazing nurses made sure that I knew that giving her formula wasn’t a bad thing if that’s what I needed to do. What you wrote makes me want to never even consider having a home birth.

  20. mandy

    Ive always though home birthers were open minded people. This article was frustrating for me. If the way you believe to be best is so great…why make fun of the way other people choose to have their babies? I dont make fun of you. My experience with hospital births has been great…but that doesn’t mean I believe it to be the best way for everyone. But I would never criticize your way. Rude.

    • Rachel

      I completely agree. I found this article disgustingly rude. I had no opinions either way before I had babies. I opted for a hospital birth with midwives for my first because you never know what might go wrong. Good thing. I had retained placenta and the midwife pulled too hard, popped the chord and I hemorrhaged. Had I not been in the hospital right next to an operating room, I’d be dead. This woman is very biased, and inappropriately so. “Right” is different for every woman, every body.

  21. Claire

    This is absolute rubbish, it almost makes the alpha parent look credible. I have had a VBAC without epidural by the way so I am not anti doing it naturally.

    Here are my reasons not to have a homebirth: if I have a placental abruption/shoulder dystocia/uterine rupture/cord prolapse/obstructed labour I’d rather my baby didn’t die. If I have a PPH/eclamptic seizure I’d rather not die. If the fetal heart trace shows fetal distress I’d rather have an intervention than my baby have a hypoxic brain injury.

  22. Nic

    This is so irritating. None of these things were true of my two completely natural hospital births with midwives. It’s misleading to act like the only two choices are “obstetrician who gives you an episiotomy and doesn’t look you in the eye or wash his hands at the hospital” OR “midwife at home”.

    Home birth is a good option for low-risk pregnancies with a licensed nurse midwife present and a hospital nearby in case of emergency. But, for those who don’t fall into that category, inaccurate articles like this are dangerous in that they don’t tell the real story of all of the options out there.

  23. Francine

    I had both sons in the hospital with amazing docs and nurses who let me labor as I wished. When #1 son came out not breathing after shoulder dystocia, I was pretty glad to see a huge NICU team run into the room to save his life–an option that would not have been available to me at my own home. When son #2 was born via (GASP!!) c-section so he wouldn’t have the same problems, but was rushed to the NICU with respiratory distress too, I was also glad to have that available. Dear god then I went crazy and formula fed BOTH OF THEM. Imagine my surprise to have two healthy, bright boys after all the hell I put them through.

  24. I easily could have had my six at home as I was very into the natural thing and had uncomplicated births but my husband was never comfortable with it so we had them in the hospital. All (with the exception of the first) were awesome experiences. I just watched my daughter give birth Saturday, again in a hospital and it was amazing. I think it all depends on the doctors and nurses you get. These ladies were all so lovely, cheerful, helpful and kind. They were so good about everything, even having a whole crowd of us in the room and they told us how much they love their jobs and how it never gets old. Home birth can be a lovely experience but so can hospital birth! I am just so glad we have a choice!
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  25. I think it 100% depends on the type of doctor and hospital. I know people who have given birth in hospitals (myself included) who have had a great experience – gentle nurses & doctor, tons of help breastfeeding, lots of patience, etc. But I also know people (myself included) who have had a ‘bad’ hospital birth.
    The rate of necessary transfer to hospital for those who plan a home birth is around 20%. One in five women who plan a home birth end up needing to go to the hospital for one reason or another – the baby gets stuck, the mother is exhausted, the mother develops pre-eclampsia, or some other reason. That corresponds with the approximate number of mothers and babies who had complications (and/or died) during the labor and birth before medical science improved (17-18%).
    So I fully support women who choose to birth at home. And there is some truth to some of the statements above for some situations, doctors, nurses, hospitals, etc. But thankfully, it doesn’t happen everywhere, all of the time.
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  26. Anna

    While i agree with some of this, the article as a whole seems a bit mean spirited, not witty or fun. I felt bad after reading it even though I had to have my girls in the hospital at 43wks and 42 1/2wks. No one should feel that way about their birthing location. It is a personal choice totally dependent on a persons unique circumstances. It is not for others to judge. I have had wonderful experiences giving birth in hospitals and thank God I was at a hospital with my oldest when she came out purple with her umbilical cord around her neck. My ob got her breathing before any damage was done, but nicu was still there with an incubator and an examination immediately. The only time they ever took my girls away from my sight was for examinations and when I comfort nursed my daughter for almost 24 hours and was exhausted. Even then we made a deal they would take her to her exam and if i was asleep when they got back they would keep her in the nursery until I woke up. I passed out before they were down the hall.

    TL;DR version I don’t make sarcastic, shaming quips about people who don’t nurse, quit nursing (I’m still nursing my 3yr old we will quit when shes ready) or go back to work after they have kids, so people shouldn’t do that about birthing choices. All these are individual choices and sometimes the decision is made for you due to circumstances. No one should be belittled for any of these.

  27. Lola

    All of these are the reasons I decided to have a maternal request caesarean. Everyone washes their hands going into the OR, no medical students gawking at my nethers, I was able to stay with the OB who had seen me throughout my pregnancy (her office is a lovely light-filled space in a LEED Gold certified building overlooking the ocean), I get to give birth like Britney and Christina and Kim Kardashian, among others, no one sticking their hands in my vagina, no catheter in my vagina, I didn’t throw up or lose control of my bowels in front of uncaring nurses (or my family, not that vomiting and defecating in front of trusted friends makes it that much better), no one told me to stop making noise, in fact, I was having great conversations with the lovely people in the room who helped welcome my baby into the world, no one screamed at me to push, because it was scheduled there was no rush and my doctor could focus on doing a good job, and the focus of the day was entirely on the baby and not my experience. IT WAS FANTASTIC. Thank you Ms Margulis for sharing this.

  28. Malia

    I hate this article, and this is why. This is not an article about why not to have a home birth, this is an article about mom-shaming. It’s sarcastic and has a very one sided approach that is designed to make people feel bad about their choices.
    Can we stop this?
    I was able to have a natural birth without medication or intervention. While not everything went as I had hoped, I am so glad for that. Not every mother has that experience though. But do you know what? I appreciate that their birth experience was still powerful. To my friends who needed a C-section or other interventions, wow, you are also heroes. To my friends that had to be shipped out the area for huge emergencies I look up to you for facing a hardship even greater than mine. My goodness, we brought children into the world and that is an amazing process. I respect that.
    Now can the rest of you who think you made better choices respect me?
    Here are my responses to those 45:
    I had a hospital birth and I love it!
    1. I did not have episiotomy.
    2, 3, and 39. The birthing center was clean but also homey and calm. In fact my delivery room was decorated with art painted by the mother of my childhood friend.
    4. The research also shows that when home birth gets dangerous, people change their mind and go to the hospital. Or if the birth has any risks the hospital is already on the plan.
    5. The people were kind, no fantastic, and they remembered who I was and treated me with utmost respect. My experience was followed up with home visits and regular check-ins.
    6-11. My decision was not influenced by any TV show or media star, I don’t watch TV. I know that people have done it safely; my brother was born at home as were many of my friends, so don’t assume my decision was made out of ignorance.
    11. I was fed great food and allowed to eat and drink during my labor. I was even allowed to hang out in a huge tub. When my birthing process was over three meals a day were brought to my bedside, served hot, and cleared away. The food was excellent.
    I was not strapped
    1-16 and 19 The staff at the birthing center were friendly, personable, kind and supportive. The amazing woman who helped me deliver was able to calm in a way that my family was not during the time she took a break from my very long labor in order to chance the clothes I had soaked with amniotic fluid. She was right with me for hours and hours. The only misgiving I saw on anyone’s face that worried me were from my mom, an experienced home-birther. Each new nurse that rotated in personally introduced themselves and made a connection with me. Almost all the staff were women. No one showed disgust, no one was disrespectful. I was aloud to have anyone I wanted as support staff and brought four of my own people though I relied mostly on the women who staffed the birthing center.
    17. I was not strapped down.
    18 and 42. The birthing center respected all the choices I made about my birth. I was able to opt out of “standard procedures” that I didn’t want and accept the ones that I did.
    20. That option, to run to the hospital when things get rough, yeah, that helps the numbers doesn’t it?
    21. I caught nothing. My good friend who had a home birth a few months later contracted a horrible infection that resulted in them having to spend time in a air regulated room under quarantine when the baby was only a few weeks old. Just an anecdote.
    22. Sure I do, but it was nice to have all the professionals there too. The lactation consultant just down the hallway. 24 hour checkup just down the hallway. Help an arm’s reach away to answer panicked but unreasonable new-mother questions. Food brought to my bedside, dishes washed. And yes, I had a supportive family ready to help, but it was nice to give them a chance to recover too.
    23. My birth was natural.
    24. Believe me, I vocalized. No one tried to tell me differently.
    25. I opted out of electric fetal monitoring until the last moments.
    26. I was not artificially induced, I was a week late.
    27. I had a lot of options, including a tub.
    28. I remember that the woman who helped me deliver was wearing clothes. I don’t even remember what the other people wore. Somehow that was low on my priority list.
    29. I don’t know who that is, but I didn’t get an epidural.
    30. I did research, I went through birthing classes, I’ve heard lots of birth stories. I cannot express how grateful I was for all the knowledge the staff at the birthing center brought. It really did give me piece of mind and allowed me to focus on what I needed to do.
    31. Like I said, I had a natural birth. I didn’t take any drugs.
    32. My labor was almost 48 hours long. I was exhausted. Even though my water had already ruptured they allowed me to go back home after our first check in since we were close.
    33. I brought a birth plan that I had typed before I went into labor. It was respected completely. There was nothing that was done for anyone’s connivance other than my own.
    34-37. Locally we have a 25% C-section rate. More importantly there isn’t anything wrong with having a C-section when it is necessary. C-sections save lives. I know a number of people who have had C-sections and none of them planned it. THEIR BIRTH EXPERIENCE IS ALSO MEANINGFUL AND IMPORTANT. They should not have to be ashamed or feel guilty for their process. Birth is a beautiful thing. Any woman who brings a child into this world should be proud of that process. If there were some interventions in the last few moments why do we have to focus on that? She was just carrying that thing for nine months, that is amazing! Stop mom-shaming people whose experience doesn’t match your postcard image, no one is going to start putting births on post cards anyway. It generally has some messy aspects and that is just another part of it.
    People have been having babies for thousands of years and we have cut a piece of that process back quite a bit. That piece is dead babies and dead mothers. Thank goodness for less dead babies and less dead mothers.
    38. No one screamed at me. The woman who helped me deliver my son had the most sing-song beautiful and calming voice. She connected with me using years of experience and a lot of eye-contact. It felt like magic.
    40-41. No only was my chord not cut immediately the woman who helped me deliver massaged the blood from the chord into the baby before it was cut. My mother cut the chord. I have struggled with anemia all my life, my baby showed no signs.
    43. My baby was not taken from me. He was put immediately into my arms and I was encouraged to nurse him. When he left my arms he went immediately into one of his dads arms. He was never once separated from either of us for anything. He was not washed until I wiped him down days later with a warm cloth. After that he has only been cleaned in showers. At five months he has had one shampoo with delicate shampoo and soap behind his ears where he tends to build up crust. That is it.
    44. Everyone I worked with from my pre-natal to my post natal care encouraged me to breastfeed. I was encouraged to breastfeed as soon as my baby was born. The birthing center had a lactation consultant who checks in with each new mother at least once and is there to help for free, any time, for months afterward. She was available by phone at any time and sent me supplies when I could not come in to help with my issue of an intense flow. I was taught many nursing holds in the hospital and given advice for burping and reducing spit up. I was given a hand breast pump in the birthing center and information on how to obtain an electric one for free so that I could have plenty of milk when I went back to work.
    I was fortunate to have a tremendous milk supply. If I hadn’t I would have done anything I could have to increase it. There are those who can’t do that though, so for some, formula or the milk bank is the only option. That’s okay. They are doing what is right for their kid to keep them alive and that is more important than being able to tote that your baby was breastfed. Their choice also needs to be respected.
    45. My experience was both validating and empowering. How dare you assume otherwise? I experienced no humiliation, bullying, emotional or physical abuse. I want to do good for the world which helped me choose my carrier as a teacher but after giving birth I have considered going back to school to become a nurse. This is a direct reaction to how cared for and helped I felt at the birthing center.
    The woman who wrote this article is using the same kind of fear tactics that doctors used twenty years ago used to steer people away from home births. In doing so she is becoming no better than they are.
    We all choose different paths and for different reasons. If you can’t appreciate the beauties of your own path with-out making other paths seem horrible than you have a problem.
    I know there are horror stories out there. There are horror stories on both sides. If you care about the empowerment and validation of the birth process than you have to start by allowing more than just your model to live up to that.

    • Lanaya

      I chose to home birth my children, and I agree with you, this article is misguided, presumptuous and quite rude. I respect all women’s birthing choices. We are all wonderful women on our own journeys – no judgement necessary xx

  29. Jocelyn

    A lot of things that bother me about this post, one of the main irritants being the condescending attitude towards those who choose hospital birth (which, despite what you say in #4, is shown by numerous recent studies to be AT LEAST three times safer for the baby than giving birth at home), but I just want to make one correction, on possibly one of the silliest things on the list: Anne of Green Gables. Her fictional baby that died at home did not, as you say, have any kind of “congenital heart condition that was incompatible with birth.”

    I’m actually reading the Anne of Green Gables series right now, and I just read, tonight, the account of Anne’s birth and death of her first child. There is no mention of a congenital defect whatsoever. The labor is described as being difficult and long, and the baby “very white” when she was born. She died soon afterwards. I’m not sure how you draw, from that account, that the baby was destined to die. There are a lot of things in the Anne of Green Gables books that were “incompatible with life”…back in Canada in the early 1900s. That doesn’t mean they would have killed people today. Anne’s friend dies of tuberculosis. Numerous other people in the books die of illnesses that could have been cured with today’s medical care. Reading the books has actually opened my eyes to how much longer our life spans really are now because of modern medicine.

  30. Bonnie

    None of these bad things happened to me listed on here. I was in laboring for almost 24 hours. I started out saying I didn’t want pitocin, they said ok and didn’t once push it. They asked if I wanted an epi, and waited until I said ok. The nurse was super super nice and was with me the entire time, giving me back massages, wiping my head, brushing my hair, anything I asked. When my contractions were the worst, and I could open my eyes just a sliver, she had the same expression my mother and boyfriend had. There was no pushing for a c-section. No episiotomy. Hospital staff washed their hands every time they came in the room. I only had a total of 2 people in there until Jude was born, then they had a lot because he was born blue and deprived of oxygen. None of them were ever disgusted or rude. Wasn’t strapped down, or told not to move. Not forced into a catheter. The fetal contraction was only in for a few minutes and was taken out when I said it was uncomfortable. I was comfortable and could make any request of the nurse. Nor told to be quiet. They didn’t scream at me either to push? The nurse held my hand and talked calmly to me. They washed him with just water. And they sent a lactation consultant to me immediately. I was really happy and will have all my children there, they really cared about me and took care of me. I even got calls checking up on us from the nurse who delivered my son seeing how we were doing.

    I defiantly understand some people have the exact opposite of this, but I’m not in denial. I absolutely loved my hospital birth.

  31. newmum

    I gave birth in the midwife-led unit in a small town hospital in England and had a very good experience. I couldn’t fault the midwives or nurses I saw, a doctor breezed in and out afterwards to check I hadn’t lost too much blood after a tear and he was busy but nice. At every point I made decisions myself on drugs (gas and air), positions (leaning back in a birthing pool) etc and they only took my son off me (after a quick breastfeed) to weight him and put a woolly hat on. Then when I really needed to sleep they took him from me again, straight into his father’s arms.
    There seems to be a big difference between how American and English hospitals treat their birthing women, and a difference between how midwives and doctors treat them. I liked the security of knowing if anything went wrong I was 1 corridor away from medical assistance, and I spent 1 night with my son in the postnatal ward with other new mums and midwives and got a lot of really good advice and reassurance that I wouldn’t have got at home.
    If I have a 2nd child I may choose a home birth as I’d be more confident in myself, but wouldn’t rule out a hospital birth if any complications arose.

  32. I would have loved to have had a home birth, but Boy am I glad for the hospital and our amazing team of physicians and nurses as I became pre-eclamptic at 34 weeks, and blood-flow to the baby was critically diminished, requiring a c-sect. My sister also had an all-natural birth in this same hospital with the same physician, and it was a great experience… although, I think that had I not been there, the nurses might have pressured her a bit more. I was proud of her for standing her ground and doing it her way… unfortunately I do believe that this is probably the exception to the rule. We are VERY lucky to have a physician “with a midwife’s heart” who had actually attempted to be a midwife, but was rejected because he was male (<- not even kidding!). I do think that most hospitals have a certain "time line and process" that they automatically put a delivering woman through, but I think we can certainly change that through determination and discussion… although, admittedly I would still prefer a home birth for the ease and comfort, no doubt. 😉

  33. Rosie

    5 children. 4 hospital births (2 so so b/c I had no clue) 1 totally traumatic, 1 partly traumatic. 1 amazing, peaceful, beautiful, and empowering homebirth.

  34. Wonderful! I really enjoyed your wit in this! Proud homebirth-er here. And sadly, even when I attend beautiful hospital births I wonder how they might have been at home. It’s a good place to birth 🙂

  35. Many examples in the list happen at most births in some hospitals. Other hospitals are much better. This is why asking questions and doing research about hospital policies and cesarean section rates are so important for expecting women. Hiring a doula for a hospital birth is so important as well, as no matter who else is in the room, a doula will provide continuous care and believe in her ability to birth.

  36. Lori

    I’ve heard the “I would have died” story often when women hear that I birthed at home. There is a lot of fear wrapped up in birth, and that fear attracts a lot of negativity. I prefer an informed decision that acknowledges the massive positive in peaceful birth. Self determination is important. When women are being manipulated into fearful births, that isn’t self-determination.

  37. I am a Home Birth Midwife and finally Jennifer says it EXACTLY as it is! I have said the same to many people BUT when it does come out strong like this I hold back and put in a P/C statement like, “but the mom should e where she feels safe” in the fear that I will be perceived as irrational and angry, and in our culture Midwives are not ALLOWED to be ANGRY, we have to be always calm, loving accepting, and keep this inside. WHAT does that reming you of??????

  38. Lauren

    I support the right to choose. I support the right to express opinions in favor of home birth. Whether the topic is birth or some other issue having to do with a woman’s body, no one has the right to say what is right for her. Only she can say. I am glad to hear that some of the commenters have had positive experiences in the hospital. I don’t know if I would have, but I am glad I chose a home birth and will do so again if I have more children.

    My home birth experience reinforced my trust in my own body. I was attended by a midwife and things unfolded within normal limits. Giving birth happens differently to every body, but the majority of female bodies and infant bodies are naturally equipped to withstand birth without an unacceptable risk of morbidity or mortality.

    My home birth experience reaffirmed my belief in evolution. If human childbirth were so fraught with peril, we would not exist as a species. Giving birth is a life event, not a pathology, and there is evidence to support the author’s claim that medicalized birth often involves unnecessary interventions that may lead to complications. Home birth doesn’t just happen in “granola” enclaves in the United States. There are Western, developed nations with higher rates of home birth and lower infant mortality rates.

  39. Cindy

    I have had 3 babies out of hospital. I work as an assistant midwife in a birth center and at home and I doula in the hospital. Women should give birth where they choose based on fully informed choice and with skilled providers. Hospital birth in the US is dangerous. Many of the complications that arise are brought in by over management and intervention. Home birth is not perfect either and you accept a certain risk that you aren’t in the same building as surgery, transfusions, and a NICU. This article is snarky and rude and makes me feel really defensive as a supporter of home birth. The midwives I work with are trained in neonatal resuscitation and carry meds for bleeding, oxygen, and iv fluids. They are always assessing risk and offer all of the same testing options as an OB. They are not shy about transferring care if a woman has too many risk factors to be a candidate for out of hospital birth. And midwives absolutely do perform episiotomies if necessary. This article does not serve to educate or make any point but only to ridicule with sarcasm. There is so much wrong with hospital care but this article is largely inaccurate. This should be about women and babies getting good care, physically and emotionally, not about pitting one side against the other.

  40. cora

    i will have to disagree with those who insist home births are far riskier than hospital.
    what constitutes a risky birth at home? what are the possibilities or issues that could arise at home with a trained certified attendant? what are the possibilities that a non invasive procedure could be performed at home within care providers scopes and the possibility of a positive outcome? ok, now what are the possibilities of having complications in a hospital setting? what are the inherent immediate risks associated with a hospital birth? with exposure to each person in the hospital assuming they practice adequate sanitary procedures, what are the possibilities of contracting an infection or illness?

    On top of my two hospital births and their unique stories and the one home birth i have had, the certifications i hold through harvard on epidemics/virology/vaccine efficacy and safety, and the ten years of comparable statistics in prenatal care, fetal/maternal death rates and home birth midwife stories and techniques, i have found that the risks associated with hospital births outweigh the benefits of having on site immediate emergency care. home births are far less riskier, and the outcomes are inherently better. true there are those who feel compelled on this site to lie about their experience or the experience of a “friend”, or they really do have a scary story of home birth or hospital birth, but when you look at the complete and full picture of it all, home birth with experienced and competent caregiver is healthier, safer, more comfortable and isnt demeaning.

    hospital: you are exposed to the competency or lack of competency one shows for the sterilization of your environment and the people attending you. MRSA is rampant in every hospital across america, when i gave birth to my first child, the attending nurse exclaimed “MRSA is rampant on the floor above maternity ward”. not something you want to hear, especially in southern california at one of the nations top hospitals. you cant count on visitors and staff to wash their hands diligently before riding that elevator, grabbing a food tray in the cafeteria, but you have control over how sanitary and clean your home is for the birth of your child. those who proclaim home births are unsanitary, must have unsanitary living conditions themselves. Hospitals contribute to the restriction of labor movement thus contributing to the domino effect of “emergency” intervention. it is sad there are those who say “if it werent for a hospital birth, my child would be dead”. well please, spill the beans on what exactly went down, i can almost guarantee it was hospital guidelines, policy and intervention that created this “emergency” that needed immediate attention. hospitals births too are demeaning, self serving conveyor belt/assembly line unhuman and unemotional settings. You also are exposing your child to newborn vaccines which are incredibly uneeded, and you should be insulted at the eye ointment. drugs are pushed and you are force to labor and deliver in the most unatural position imaginable. please, try it yourself, lay in birthing position and try to slide a mere tampon past your pelvic bone, the bone, not the cervix or vaginal opening as those enlarge and open during labor.
    And even if your offered other positions, you still have ever mounting risks in a hospital setting. the only rare “emergencies” i can see needing a hospital setting are true very real unforeseen unavoidable emergencies. not those created by negligence.

    home births: for emergencies such as prolapse cord, guess what, midwife is trained in how to untangle and fix this issue. baby coming out backwards, no problem, midwife is trained in cephalic aversion. a normal “emergency” that would be proclaimed as a c section candidate right out the door at a hospital…. episiotomies, dont even utter it. yeah a midwife cant do them, thank god…. they lead to vaginal discomfort, rectal incontinence, a mere slice leads way to a huge tear, id rather stretch than require stitches because i tore all the way into my anus from an episiotomie. midwives counteract this need with early intervention, perineal massage and oils, look it up. midwives do not take into care high risk individuals, so you can count out any argument of gestational diabetes, overweight individuals or those with complication histories, or women over age who attained pregnancy by ivf or fertility drugs. multiples, no way, unless its a birthing center across from a hospital, that crap isnt happening. homes properly prepared, cleaned and stocked for birth are cleaner than hospitals, and this is a 100% guarantee, unless you live in a sty which im starting to think is true for those who use this argument against home birthers. yes there is a chance of a true emergency, but you are still at lower risk than in a hospital.

  41. Josie

    I tried to have vaginal delivery in the hospital. I had a perfect pregnancy and I went to the hospital room when my water broke. That was painful I was only 3cm dilated and I just asked for a epidural. But after 30 hours, I gave up. The baby was not coming out in the correct position. The c- section was not my dream delivery experience, but I am glad I did it. My second baby went straight to C-section, and my third will be too. I am not even going to think about trying to have vaginally. Lucky those who are able to delivery without any pain killer. Not my case. Giving Birth is very personal and each one has their own limitations.

  42. Adrienne

    Such an interesting conversation… and sadly one that often has women attacking each other. Surely, at the end of the day, the keyword here is choice. How lucky are those of us who do have choice in this modern world of health care. And I can’t say for sure, but can imagine some women in other cultures who don’t have the choices such as assisted home birth, birthing houses or centres, natural birthing suites in hospitals, private hospitals or just the plain, old everyday public hospital, would put their hands up in a flash if they could experience any of the birth options we have. We have so much choice, so why don’t we just let each other choose, appreciate the beauty in all births, and empower all women. Let’s teach all women that they can stand up for themselves in every situation including hospitals. I wish someone had taught me how to stand up to the woman who questioned me in the street about my up coming birth. When I told her I was having a c-section she began to badger me as to why I didn’t have a personal midwife instead of an Ob and why exactly, I was having a c-section. She didn’t know me from a bar of soap and she certainly was not privy to the myriad of reasons I was having a c-section. I felt intimidated and judged… not exactly what I would have expected from a woman who wanted to support another woman during one of the biggest events of their life. I left that situation wanting to have said to her, “A baby sling and a home birth under your belt does not give you any right to judge me or other women who choose to birth differently to you.” I did tell her I was happy with by Ob and choice but this just didn’t compute to her. I have many friends who have home birthed and one of my best friends has had three home births, (one of which I photographed and yes, it was amazing), but she doesn’t feel the need to carry a flag. This is her choice and her quiet respect for all women is so inspiring. She has just completed her nursing degree! I support those who fight for their right to home birth and I know there has been reason to fight of late with policy changes etc. But so much of what I read is scathing of the medical profession and hospital birth, as is this article. Similarly, it isn’t right that those who choose a medical setting admonish those who choose to home birth, particularly if medical assistance is required during or after a home birth. They systems that give us choice should be supporting each other. If we want to empower all birthing women, we need to promote strength to choose what is right for each woman as an individual. We can certainly educate them in how to ask for what or who they need in any birthing situation, or if they cannot find their voice, how they can get someone to advocate for them. Saying the medical system is all the things described in this article is just silly. This isn’t a war and it’s time we, as women, joined together in celebrating our fortune as birthing women… CHOICE!
    Thanks,
    Adrienne
    {supporter of all birthing women, of their right to choose, their right to be educated, their right to be proud of their choice)

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