Why We Chose a Home Birth
When Jen and I discovered that we were expecting, we knew immediately we wanted to have a home birth. Jen’s mother had both Jen and her younger brother Mark at home. Jen’s first memory as a child was the day her younger brother was born. I wanted a home birth because it just made sense. Couples have been having their children at home safely for thousands of years. Even though we both knew in our hearts that we wanted a home birth, we admittedly knew very little about the process or what was involved. Thus began a journey of research and discovery that changed our perspectives, and our lives, forever.
Over the course of the next 9 months, we increased our knowledge of home birth via a number of wonderful resources.
Our amazing Doula Cheryl Gilman
Our wonderful Midwife Debbie Perry
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price
Healthy Baby Issue from Weston A Price Foundation
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
The Waterbirth Book by Janet Balaskas
Make an Informed Vaccine Decision for the Health of Your Child by Mayer Eisenstein
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon
Bradley Method 12 week course offered by Summer Hill (Bradley courses are offered throughout the country)
Friends and Family who had successful home births
**Special Note: Although we deeply value and believe in the research of Dr. Weston A Price, we do feel that the WAP Foundation promotes a diet high in fat that may be problematic and not tolerated well by most pregnant women (and their babies) who have congested systems, specifically livers. Many women do best avoiding dairy, even raw, and better when focusing on lean meats, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables as well as healthy fats such as avocado, olives, nuts and seeds in moderation. Watch our most recent video on Pregnancy Nutrition for our updated diet recommendations for a healthy pregnancy.
To our amazement, the closer we got to the birth, the more confident we became in our decision to have a home birth. What was truly surprising was that not only did we become more and more confident in our decision, but we became fully dismayed and disheartened regarding the truth about what takes place during hospital births. The lack of information given to women at hospitals, the dangerous and regular complications that arose due to medical mistakes and even sometimes fatal interventions was staggering.
Hospitals are ideal for high risk births. However, for a healthy woman, and a healthy pregnancy, we learned that a hospital is no place to be.
What is necessary to understand about modern medicine is that they are always looking for pathology. In other words, they are looking for problems, looking for complications, looking for sickness, looking for reasons to circumvent the natural process if anything seems out of the ordinary. There is very little trust or understanding of the natural processes surrounding birth. There is little to no trust that a woman’s body is designed for birth, and that labor is not a medical procedure. Some of the “routine procedures” done at hospitals are often unnecessary and even dangerous.
We want to share with you some of the statistics we learned that made it clear to us that our home was definitely the safest place to give birth to Naomi. The following statistics are provided by Citizens for Midwifery. The study included all home births attended by Certified Professional Midwives in 2000 and included 5,418 women in the US and Canada doing home births.
Zero maternal deaths
At six weeks well over 90% of the mother’s were still breastfeeding their babies
Only 1.7% of mothers said they would choose a different type of caregiver for future pregnancies
Low rates of medical interventions compared to hospitals:
Induction of labor with oxytocin or prostaglandins
Home Birth: 2.1%
Hospital Birth 21%
Electronic Fetal Monitoring
Home Birth: 9.6%
Hospital Birth: 84.3%
Home Birth: 3.1%
Hospital Birth: 33%
Home Birth: .6%
Hospital Birth: 5.5%
Home Birth: 3.7%
Hospital Birth: 19%
Regarding these statistics, we were very shocked at cesarean section rates. We learned that many hospitals average 40-60% c-sections, and some as high as 80%! With home births on the other hand, c- section rates are usually 3% or lower. Why the huge difference? There are a lot of reasons that we encourage you to explore. C-sections today are seen as regular and commonplace. However, this is a major medical procedure that has many potential dangerous complications for both mother and child that are listed in detail in Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.
Here are just few examples of the things we learned that confirmed our decision to avoid a hospital birth at all possible.
The cord is usually cut way too early. The cord will continue pulsing blood and critically important nutrients to the baby after birth. Most hospitals cut the cord immediately.
Cytotec is still given to women, which is a drug not approved for pregnant women. Boldly written on the drug label is a contraindication for any pregnancy. In 2000, a warning went out stating that “Cytotec administration by any route is contraindicated in women who are pregnant because it can cause abortion.” Cytotec is still routinely used during labor in spite of multiple deaths, amniotic-fluid embolisms, major hemorrhages and hysterectomies. Cytotec increases uterine rupture by 28 times. Despite the warnings, it is still used to induce labor.
In 2010, the United Nations placed the United States 50th in the world for maternal mortality, higher than almost every European nation as well as several countries in Asia and the Middle East.
Surgeons started using a one layer uterine stitch instead of the traditional two-layer stitch. This resulted in a four-times higher risk of uterine rupture in future labors. If the mother has a sequential pregnancy, the placenta can actually grow through the stitch and into other organs. During labor, it often hemorrhages, a very dangerous and often fatal complication. In spite of this information, the one layer stitch is still taught in many medical schools. Why? It saves 5 minutes of surgery time!
Research shows that episiotomy is rarely, if ever, necessary. This is a deliberate injury made to the woman that has now become routine. Research shows that women heal much faster and more safely from natural tearing than from an episiotomy.
Cesarean’s are commonplace when usually not necessary. Again, home births average 3% or less.
Hospitals regularly take the baby away immediately after birth for a “check-up,” which minimizes skin to skin contact time with the mother. This initial hour, and subsequent three days after, are critical for bonding, temperature regulation, breast feeding and so much more.
Epidurals are routinely given to women to cover up the pain without a full understanding of the risk involved. Epidurals are opiate drugs, derivatives of cocaine. If you read the labels on the various drugs you will see they end in “aine.” Women are almost never told the extreme dangers of these drugs for both mother and child. A fellow Bradley classmate gave a testimony of a close friend whose mother was permanently paralyzed following an epidural and is now bound to a wheelchair.
Some of the other factors related to our decision involved the amazing way in which God designed the female body to give birth. For example, the symphony of hormones released are perfectly orchestrated to help initiate contractions and deliver the baby through the pelvis naturally. This release of hormones is often interrupted when a woman is fearful or encounters a major surge of adrenalin (fight or flight emergency hormone) which happens in a panicked rush to the hospital and within the hospital environment itself. Adrenalin counter-acts the release of oxytocin and can slow and even inhibit labor. The body has natural protective mechanisms, as do animals in nature, to stop the birth process when they feel threatened.
We believe this is why so many women struggle to give birth naturally at the hospital and must then undergo synthetic drugs and other interventions to force the labor process.
Here is a scenario. A woman goes to the hospital, adrenalin is pumping, and labor stalls. She is unable to restart labor within the time-frame the hospital wants, because hospitals traditionally want the labor completed within 24 hours. Pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) is administered to induce labor. Pitocin cannot re-create a natural labor, but forces severe and painful contractions. She cannot handle the intensity of these mechanically induced contractions, and the pain becomes too severe to handle. She then requires pain drugs such as an epidural (opiate drugs). Epidurals can often stall labor and the mother is not progressing. Her body has two synthetic drugs now working in her system that are contrary to one another in action. This puts extreme stress on the baby, often resulting in abnormally high or low heart rates, or the labor just fails to progress. The result is unfortunately a c-section. This is why c-sections rates are so abnormally high in hospitals and so minimal in home births. All of these synthetic drugs also drug the baby, and can make it more difficult for the baby to breastfeed after the birth. The way God designed the body will always be superior to any man-made chemicals.
God has created hormones within women to do everything that man-made synthetic drugs are trying to mimic. God’s methods are always wiser. Women's bodies naturally release the right balance of love hormones such as prolactin (the mothering hormone), endorphins (your natural pain relief hormones), and oxytocin (the main birth hormone). Oxytocin causes the muscular contractions and uterine contractions that eject the baby and placenta at birth. This same hormone promotes feelings of attachment and love and is highest immediately after birth to help mother and baby fall madly in love. The problem with synthetic oxytocin (the drug called Pitocin) is that it imitates the mechanical effect of oxytocin, but blocks the release of all natural love hormones, a vital and necessary need for an exhausted and tired mom and baby.
There is so much more we would love to share. We recommend reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirthand The Waterbirth Book as a starter that will empower you with this information and more. After all of this research, we decided that we would only use the hospital as a back-up plan in case of a major emergency. We came to complete peace knowing that giving birth at home was much safer, less invasive and the optimal environment for a healthy mother and baby.