Friday, March 30, 2007

Homebirth vs. Hospital

As you all can tell from my previous posts, I've been in a struggle to decide how our baby will be born. I think some of it is fear of disapproval from friends and family on safety issues. Well, I found this article on the safety of homebirths. (Click here!) It goes to prove the safety of homebirths - not only is it safe, but it's safER than hospitals births...and for a variety of reasons, i.e. less intervention.

Let me point out a few quotes from the article:

Understanding the potential danger in the overuse of childbirth
technology, the World Health Organization has repeatedly implored the U.S.
medical authorities to return to a midwife-based system of maternity care as one
way to help reduce our scandalously high mortality rates.

Respiratory distress among newborns was 17 times higher in the hospital than in the home.

A six-year study done by the Texas Department of Health for the years 1983-1989 revealed that the infant mortality rate for non-nurse midwives attending homebirths was 1.9 per 1,000 compared with the doctors' rate of 5.7 per 1,000.

Prenatal visits to an obstetrician's office or public health department usually involve long waiting periods before seeing a doctor or nurse for a very brief checkup. By contrast, each prenatal visit with a midwife is usually relaxed, friendly and can last from 30 minutes to an hour.

In a sincere effort to catch complications early and produce healthier babies, medical science has changed the atmosphere surrounding birth from one of a circle of loving support around laboring women to one of space age technology in a laboratory setting...Though technology can save lives in a crisis, the routine use of technology can interfere with the normal birth process.

Women who are allowed to move about freely during labor complain less of back pain, and many childbirth authorities feel the motion of walking and changing positions can enhance the effectiveness of the contractions. (Can't do this with IVs and monitor belts.)

Obstetricians frequently rupture the bag of waters surrounding the baby in order to speed up the birthing process. This procedure automatically places a time limit on the labor, as the likelihood of a uterine infection increases with each passing hour in the hospital after the water is broken. (I am NOT going to be induced!)

A recent study published in a medical journal states that the routine use of electronic fetal monitors, compared to the old-fashioned method of listening to the baby's heartbeat after contractions with a fetoscope, may actually cause more problems than it prevents.[1] In eight randomized clinical trials, perinatal mortality was not reduced with electronic fetal monitoring. And perhaps because electronic monitoring can lead to unnecessary cesareans, birth outcomes were mostly superior in the groups monitored by fetoscope.

Women who have taken drugs in labor report decreased maternal feelings towards their babies and an increase in the duration and severity of postpartum depression.

...about the time physicians, who also cared for the ill and dying, began to attend births in clinics. As hospitals became the places to go for birth and death, infections became a plague upon childbearing women and other hospital patients.

Today, strict and expensive infection control procedures have still not eliminated nosocomial, or hospital-caused infections from common and dangerous organisms, like resistant strains of staphylococcus.

Each family becomes accustomed to its own household germs and develops a resistance to them. Since fewer strangers are likely to be present at a homebirth than at a hospital birth, the chances of acquiring foreign germs are less likely in a homebirth situation.

Homebirth research studies indicate much lower rates of infection in the mother and the baby than is likely in the hospital.

Breakdown of costs for a hospital birth include an average physician's fee of $1,492 ($2,053 for a cesarean), and hospital costs (not including other fees like the services of an anesthesiologist) of about $2,842...The average fee charged by a midwife was $994, a price that usually includes prenatal care, childbirth classes and supplies, while a physician's fee does not.

So, if any of you are wondering why I would even CONSIDER getting a midwife vs. going to the hospital, please read the article before trying to convince me I'm crazy (mom, dad, this includes you).

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