May 23, 2012 4 Comments
Interesting article from NYT Magainze about the rise in home births. It focuses on a woman, Ina May Gaskin, who is one of the few midwives in the country who will vaginally deliver a breech baby. Now, I’m no expert on such things, but I’ve got to think that back when childbirth was often deadly to women, a lot of those births were breech births. Is having a “natural” experience really worth risking your and your baby’s life for. As for home birth, you can actually say the same thing. Sure most home births are just fine, but when they’re not, there’s a huge downside to not actually be at a hospital. We have a former neighbor across the street who lost her baby about a year ago during a home birth. Of course, that could have also happened at a hospital, but a baby born “in distress” as this one apparently was, would have had immediate access to all sorts of high-tech medical care that quite likely could have saved it’s life. I found this comment on the story from a paramedic particularly compelling:
I am a 15 year veteran firefighter/paramedic who has had to respond to some horrific incidents at birthing/midwifery centers and home births. I have seen babies die because of the choice the parents made to have out-of-hospital births–babies who would not have died if born in hospitals…
The bottom line is that if you choose to have a home birth, you better be prepared for your baby to die due to a lack of immediate neonatal advanced life support medicine if something goes wrong. And when things go wrong there is not a minute to spare.
As a result of my experiences, I urge all my friends and loved ones to give birth in a hospital. Sure use a midwife if you’d like–but have the necessary resources close at hand IF things go south. Why take even a small risk?
From a purely rational cost/benefit perspective, home birth is a horrible idea. Sure you presumably have the event of this wonderful, “natural” childbirth in a comfortable environment, but if something goes wrong, you are greatly increasing the likelihood of the worst possible outcome any parent can face.