Home births have increased by 20 percent from 2004 to 2008, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of home births in 2008 was 28,357 of the 4.2 million total U.S. births, the study reports.
Why has there been such a big jump in the number of home births?
In some cases, cost is a definite factor, as the big bill associated with hospital deliveries isn’t affordable for everyone. Those without health insurance definitely feel the burn of a hospital tab.
Others cite the comfort of home and familiar surroundings as a peaceful beginning to their newborn’s life.
One expert weighs in on the demographics of home birthers. Robbie Davis-Floyd, a medical anthropologist at the University of Texas at Austin and researcher on global trends in childbirth, obstetrics and midwifery, said “at first, in the 1970s, it was largely a hippie, countercultural thing to give birth outside of the hospital. Over the years, as the formerly ‘lay’ midwives have become far more sophisticated, so has their clientele.”
Naturally, there are plenty opposed to home births, with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warning that home births can be unsafe. Well, what else would you expect them to say?
Of course, if a mother is high risk, then a home birth may not be the best option, but otherwise, why not?
One OB-GYN who supports home birth, Dr. Joel Evans, commented that medical professionals have become “resistant to change, resistant to dialogue, resistant to flexibility.”
He notes that “Women are now looking for alternatives where they can be treated as individuals, as opposed to being forced to comply with protocols, which however well meaning, have the impact of both medicalizing childbirth and increasing stress and anxiety around delivery.”
My two children were both born in the hospital and I had two very different experiences, as one was delivered by my OB-GYN and the second was delivered by a midwife. The experience with the doctor felt rushed because she seemed almost bothered to be there, while the midwife really listened to our needs and was very supportive.
Personally, a home birth wasn’t even a consideration because my husband would have been too freaked out by it!
Women have options though, and if you aren’t facing any complications, you can certainly have a safe and peaceful home birth. It’s absolutely a personal decision.
Where did you have your baby/babies? Did you have a positive hospital delivery or home birth story to share? Did you have a negative experience?