Erin Walker

What is homebirth?

Childbirth used to be something that occurred at home, without a second thought.  Women in a community would get together whenever there was a birth and it was always in a woman's home.  Women that attended many births would become the town midwives.  Then in the 19th century, the medical community decided that doctors should be attending births instead of midwives, so they began attending births and trying to phase out midwives all together.  Physicians would say how ignorant and dirty midwives were and that they only wanted to take money from women having babies.  Slowly, more and more births were attended by doctors and by the mid 20th century, most middle and upper middle class families had their babies in hospitals.  Birth became a potentially pathological process instead of a natural, normal, social event.  Many women were strapped to tables and drugged so that they still felt everything during labor and birth, but they often didn't remember their experience.   In a hospital setting, intervention is something that is almost guaranteed.  When inductions and epidurals are commonplace in hospitals, then forceps, vacuum extraction and c-sections are bound to happen.  The c-section rate in the US reached almost 35% by 2010.  Most obstetricians today aren't even taught how to deliver a breech baby.  The US is ranked #34 in infant mortality according to the United Nations in 2010.  Could the increased rate of hospital intervention and cesarean sections have something to do with this?  Newborn respiratory distress is 17 times higher in a hospital than at home, according to a study conducted by Dr. Lewis Mehl in California.  Fortunately, more and more women are researching their options and have chosen to birth at home. Homebirth can help give control back to the woman doing the birthing.  It is every woman's right to decide where she feels safe and comfortable giving birth to her child.  By having a homebirth, you can eat, drink and move around freely.  You can labor and deliver in whatever position works for you; hands and knees, squatting, using a birthing stool or in a tub for a water birth.  The World Health Organization stated that "Midwives are the most appropriate primary healthcare provider to be assigned to the care of normal birth."  Homebirth is a much better option for most healthy pregnant women.

Thanks to Stesha Whitney Photography