Hummingbird Health and Natural Birth

Here is a great article posted by Hummingbird Health out of Harbor Springs, MI. 

Prior to the 1930’s, more than 90% of all births in the U.S.A. occurred at home.  Then women were offered “pain free” birthing with medications in the hospital setting. It didn’t take long for the concept of “better living through chemistry” to catch on, and less than a century later, 99% of all births are now performed in a hospital. With this 99%, the United States now has the dubious distinction of having the highest Cesarean rate ( 31%) and the highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized country.  The World Health Organization has declared that  NO country is justified in having a c-section that exceeds 10%.  Despite this, the American Medical Association (AMA) recently passed a resolution saying “the safest setting for labor, delivery and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex.”  According to the AMA, the reason for this resolution was due to recent media attention given to homebirths and their fears that more women would start to question whether a hospital really is the best option.

Statistically, there is plenty of data to support the choice to birth at home. The European countries that use Midwives and support decisions to birth at home have far fewer c-sections (under 5% in most cases), lower infant deaths, and lower death rates for the mothers due to complications of medical interventions.  

My mother was a labor and delivery nurse for over 30 years, and I’ve had the pleasure of being present at many births, both in the home and the hospital setting, myself.   We both agree that the hospital environment has turned birthing (the most natural process in the world) into a high-tech, high-intervention big business. Statistics support this as well.  Birthing is the number one reason for admission to a hospital in the US and it accounted for nearly four trillion dollars in health care costs last year, and these costs keep growing. No wonder the AMA and hospitals are afraid of women taking birthing back into the home. It would hit their pocket books… hard.  The average birth costs more than $8,000.00 not including all the pre- and post- natal care.  On the other hand, a midwife and a doula for a home birth is typically less than $3,900.00 and includes ALL the costs; prenatal, birth, and postnatal care. 

I have to say that I much prefer the home setting in most cases. I can list dozens of reasons why the home setting is better:  decreased risk of infection, little to no unnecessary interventions, freedom to choose any number of birthing positions, dad can delivery his child if he chooses, no rush to cut the cord (too soon, and the instance of jaundice and other nutritional issues increases), no whisking off the baby to be cleaned & blood typed and otherwise poked and prodded, quiet bonding time for mom, dad, baby and any other family members, the freedom to eat, the freedom from the mandatory saline lock or I.V., etc, etc, etc… I could go on for days.  But there is only one reason why I would want to be in the hospital; that very rare crisis. And I do mean rare, like a prolapsed cord – where the cord comes out ahead of the baby and gets pinched, cutting off the necessary blood and oxygen supply to the baby.  However, these kind of events only happen in less than 1 out of every million  births and in which case, given the mortality rate in the hospital setting, there is no guarantee that the outcome will be any better in the hospital than it would be at home. So, we are in full support of all the women who are looking at the option of a home birth.


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