Birth is a Journey! Start by Choosing a birth place:

Hospital vs. home birth

The Majority of women in the US go to the hospital to have their babies.  It became common from the 1920’s on when it was believed that births would be safer there. Sadly, that has not necessarily been proven to be the case.  Evidence based birth practices have shown that restricting interventions and promoting natural birth actually improves outcomes. However, the majority of the research today shows that Hospitals do not practice evidence based medicine. As a result The United States has the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality than any other developed country in the world.  We also spend the most money, and are the most interventional.

Most women do not realize that birth does not have to be a horrible painful, interventional experience.  They don’t realize that the interventions themselves can cause pain, and have serious risks for them and their babies. So what’s a mom to do?

When choosing a birth place it is important to make sure you are well educated about your options.  Take a thorough childbirth class, and choose a care provider who supports natural birth.  Studies show that babies born to mothers who have no medications and interventions tend to fare better.  Learning to stay healthy and low risk is important so that you don’t lose options because of serious health problems.  Prevention is the key!

(Please see our article on “How to Stay Healthy & Low Risk” )

That said, a women should birth where she feels safest and most comfortable. It is her choice.  However, from a psychological point Dr. Michel Odent commented that in order to let her baby out she needs to also needs to feel so comfortable that she could make love with her partner in that environment. Hospitals definitely do not inspire intimacy.

So what is safest? Studies show that for a low risk Mom, a planned, midwife attended homebirth is just as safe, if not safer than hospital birth. So from the point of view of safety they are about equal, with a few exceptions.  The biggest difference is that women who birth in hospitals receive excessive amounts of medically unnecessary interventions.  Also a 2013 study published in the British Medical Journal also found that severe complications were less common in homebirths than they were in hospital births.  And last, but not least, the Cochrane Database conducted a review of available studies on home birth in 2012 and concluded that planned home birth in many places can be as safe as planned hospital birth and with less intervention and fewer complications.

So can you have a normal, natural birth in a hospital setting? Yes, you can, but you will have to work hard for it.  You need to choose the right care provider, take a thorough childbirth class ( like Bradley!), hire a Doula, as well as choose the right hospital. This combination cuts your chances of a cesarean in half, and the need for interventions & Medications by 2/3rds.  . (You can find details about NYS hospital statistics here).

(For more information on choosing a Homebirth click here.  For a list of local Midwives check out the Rochester Area Birth Network Provider Guide)

Amy V. Haas, BCCE