New Guidelines Have Been Set for Home Births. Would You Consider One?
Have you ever considered a home birth? A growing number of women are concerned that the medical interventions practiced during hospital birth actually lead to the complications that doctors claim they are better equipped to handle. Some of these women, like me, choose midwife-assisted births in hospitals and/or hire doulas. Others are choosing to skip the hospital altogether and give birth at home.
My friends think I am nuts because I do everything I can to get out of the hospital 24 hours after giving birth. I have three kids, and another baby due in early November. At the birth of the second, I saw how eager some hospital staff can be to rush even normal birth along, potentially causing complications. Even after my son was born, there was a delay in bringing my (completely healthy) son to me, and the hospital staff was constantly interrupting or hampering our feeding and our sleeping. I couldn't wait to get discharged, and even then, they would only let me leave in a wheelchair. So, I can see why some women want to avoid the hospital.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued new guidelines about home birth, essentially saying, "We still don't approve, but if you are going to insist on doing this, here are some ideas about staying safer." Of course, most midwives already follow these guidelines.
The most controversial point in the new guidelines is that the AAP is recommending families use only Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs); however, most midwives who currently attend home births are Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs). Advocates of home birth are upset that the AAP is favoring one type of certification over the other. They claim that since CPMs are more likely to assist with home births, the AAP is actually trying to shut down home birth in a roundabout way.
Thank goodness for modern medicine when it is necessary. Normal birth, however, should not be treated as an illness. Midwives already follow the fairly obvious guidelines the AAP recommended. Now, turnabout is fair play. Maybe if doctors and hospital staff started following midwife procedures and training and treated typical births as normal, fewer women would be opting to stay out of the hospital.