I want to give you fair warning – I’m about to feed into the Mommy Wars. I’m about to dive into one of the biggest “mommy battles” of all time: home birth versus hospital birth. I couldn’t help myself after reading an outrageous mom blog that bashed home birth and compared it to driving without a seatbelt.
I had two unmedicated births for both of my sons, just a few years ago. My first son was born in a birthing center near a hospital. By the time that I was ready to have my second son, just 16 months later, we had moved 45 minutes away. But as luck would have it, our midwife lived in our new town. She provided the same birthing services in our home without the use of a birthing center.
I feel confident in the decision my husband and I made to have a home birth. Fortunately for me, everything went off without a hitch. Though Karen Alpert of Baby Sideburns compares unmedicated birth to Satan and Freddy Krueger stabbing your uterus, I disagree. The birth experience is not universal. My births were uncomfortable but not exceedingly painful. I had a pretty OK time, but two was enough for me, thanks.
Alpert went on to present her argument against the home birth movement. “I’m not taking a hard-line stance against home births or anything. I just don’t get it. Like parents who don’t make their kids wear seatbelts. If it makes your kid safer, why not?”
Her sarcasm in the post is laid on thick, but I don’t fault Alpert one bit. She is coming from a place where she almost died during labor. I do not have that same experience. I have also written plenty of snarky blogs in my day to prove a point. I get it. I just don’t agree with her at all.
Women who do their research, hire a professional midwife and choose a home birth should not be shamed for their decision. Childbirth educator and former doula Ami Burns shares her insight. “As a childbirth educator and doula, I prepare families for unexpected outcomes. The truth about birth is, there are never, ever any guarantees. The best parents can do is ask questions and gather information so they can make informed decisions about their care – that includes where to give birth.”
That’s an excellent point. No matter where or how you choose to give birth, there’s no predicting what will happen at the finish line. Even in a hospital, things can and will go south. Burns adds, “When I was planning my homebirth, some people thought I was nuts and not thinking about the safety of my baby. Well, doctors didn’t act quickly enough when my sister was compromised during her birth and she has severe cerebral palsy as a result. So, you can’t tell me that a hospital is always the safest place to give birth.”
Not all women who give birth at home are idiots. The same applies to women who birth in a hospital. It’s your choice. Home births are on the rise. While more research is needed, some studies even suggest no greater risk to babies born at home versus a hospital in Canada. Study your options, talk to your doctor or midwife and make the choice that works best for you.