Home births can be 'harmful,' journal says
July 29th, 2010
06:42 PM ET

Home births can be 'harmful,' journal says

Moms have a right to “choose how and where to give birth,” says an editorial from the medical journal Lancet, “but they do not have the right to put their baby at risk.”

A strongly worded editorial in the British publication,  “Home Births –Proceed With Caution” cites other studies that had found that “home birth can, after all, be harmful to newborn babies."

A recent article from the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology showed that planned home births compared with planned hospital births doubled the risk of neonatal deaths, with breathing difficulties and failed attempts at resuscitation playing major factors.

But home births in the United States and European countries are increasing.

Vaginal births after C-section usually OK, docs say

The editorial continues to say that hospital delivery should be the preferred method of delivery for high-risk pregnancies and wrote that the desires of the mother and the health of the children “are competing interests that need to be weighed carefully.”

Do you have a story to share about home births?  Tell us on iReport.  Your story may be used in a CNN.com story.

soundoff (712 Responses)
  1. MC

    "But home births in the United States and European countries are increasing"

    Likely, the cause of this increase (in the United States, anyways) is a lack of health insurance (due to unaffordability) and the incredible high cost of delivering a baby in a hospital without health insurance.

    July 29, 2010 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • missadr

      I'm not so sure about that. Being a woman, I don't think I would want to give birth in a hospital because I've seen how that works. It's chaotic, they rush you in and out. It's very impersonal and even kind of rough. The doctors are probably going to drug you unnecessarily and they will pressure you for C section instead of natural birth. There's probably someone you've never even met all up in between your legs too! I can see the appeal of giving birth in the peace and quiet of your house with a midwife who has become your trusted friend. Although some might skip the midwife to save money, I don't think cost concerns can totally explain this trend. I would consider a home birth with a midwife to be a more luxurious option than going to a hospital.

      July 29, 2010 at 19:57 | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      I think people think that home births are more natural and cool. (I do not think it has anything to do with money) I think anyone can deliver a baby, but if something goes wrong I want a Doctor there. Both my children were delivered in a hospital without drugs and no one asked or pressure me to have any. I also disagree that Dr.s want C sections. it is always better to deliver vaginally if possible and I have heard many case were the Dr. waited as long as they could which is longer than it took me to give birth both times.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:20 | Report abuse |
    • LL

      I wanted a home birth, but my husband insisted that I be in the hospital. After my water broke 3 weeks early and waiting 14 hours after I had to be induced, I was begging for drugs. They let me go 16 hours with my water broken, which is risky, but they allow you to go up to 24 hours with it broken. They came to me and said that they had two women down the hall become infected and were giving me the option to wait the 8 more hours or to go ahead with the c section. They didn't pressure me for drugs OR the c section. My husband and I discussed and agreed with what the doctors were saying, I had been on the highest dose of drugs to induce with almost no response, I didn't dilate past 5cm when I came to the hospital at 2.5cm dilated. When they did the c section, they discovered that the babies unbilical cord was wrapped around his little neck and if I had tried to push, it would've strangled him. I am so glad that my husband insisted I be in the hospital and I didn't feel pressured either way. However, I am having an impossible time trying to find a doctor who will allow a VBAC which they say in this article is usually safe. Most doctors here won't allow it for insurance reasons, they don't want to get sued if something goes terribly wrong. I know the risks are higher, but there is something about doing it the way God intended.......Also, I believe that most states allow women to be on State run health insurance if they are pregnant and can't afford insurance, so saving money isn't a valid excuse for a home birth.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:33 | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Making a claim like this is like saying that parents don't have a right to drive in the snow because there's 10x as likely a chance of their family being killed in an accident. What kind of safety-crazy pansy society do we live in? This is what happens when you let the government make decisions for you. At the end of the day only parents have a right to decide what's best for their family and their children.

      Funny, the same researchers who claim moms don't have a right to "put their baby at risk" would affirm a mother's "right" to kill her baby by abortion. Bit of a contradiction there.

      July 30, 2010 at 00:01 | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      The V Back issue is a great argument for tort reform. Some Dr.s can not get malpractice insurance to cover it. Not that they do not want to do it. Also high C section rate is due to mother demand not Dr's pushing it. They are afraid of getting sued so do what the patient wants.

      July 30, 2010 at 00:06 | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      no Dr. wants to lose everything because of a law suite. Lawyers are making the medical profession expensive and too safety conscience. Insurance companies and lawyers are to blame.

      July 30, 2010 at 00:09 | Report abuse |
    • Krista

      I'd have to disagree that people home birth because it's less expensive. Most women who home birth do so with a midwife who often costs as much as the deductible for a hospital birth. Before I had my 2 children I also thought home birth was for the uninsured (or crazy). However after my two traumatic hospital births and doing a lot of research, I now see why many women home birth. Many European countries with universal health care have a much higher home birth rate than the US. These women can choose, at no extra cost to them, whether they'd prefer a hospital birth or home birth and they're picking home birth. In fact, I know many women in the US who'd prefer home birth but ultimately do not go that route because their insurance does not cover the option and they can't afford the extra costs. I'm planning a home birth for my 3rd child (not pregnant yet) and it will be much more expensive for me than if I were to go to the hospital. Plus, if I end up transferring to a hospital for an emergency, it will cost me twice as much as I'll have to pay both a home birth midwife AND the hospital bills. However, it's worth it to me to be cared for by a midwife who will treat me like a human being who can make intentional, well-thought out choices instead of going to an OB who treated me like a diseased liability!

      July 30, 2010 at 02:22 | Report abuse |
    • ZhyKitty

      I chose to have my 3rd child at home with a midwife – not for financial reasons (as we were in the military stationed in Ar.).

      It was a MUCH better experience to be surrounded by all of my friends during those long hours of labor – and to have them right there with me to celebrate my son's arrival after the long day of hard work. I felt so good that I got up and helped clean up from the delivery when it was over – and I've never seen such a relaxed and aware baby! Completely different experience than what happens in the hospital – totally safe, relaxed, and reassuring atmosphere.
      Plus, I didnt have to worry about staph infections, etc from being in a dirty hospital. I highly recommend home birth!

      July 30, 2010 at 07:54 | Report abuse |
    • Maddy

      Having worked in major medical centers for 40 years I can appreciate that hospitals can be "risky" to. Humans care for patients in hospitals and last I checked, humans make mistakes, sometimes very deadly ones.
      If the pregnancy in not "high risk" and you want to deliver your baby at home with a trained midwife, it should be your decision.

      July 30, 2010 at 08:09 | Report abuse |
    • RightCoastVa

      So in short to MC, yeah no...

      July 30, 2010 at 08:25 | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Please note, the article specifies that the danger lies in complications, not in the normal delivery of a healthy baby. Also, the little scary anecdotes of hospitals/Dr.s pushing drugs and C-sections are just that anecdotal. Our experience has been the opposite. My wife was in labor for more than 24 hours and progression finely came to a halt and my wife's blood pressure and our baby's heart rate were sky-rocketing before a C-section was even considered. Oh yeah, no drugs until that last really difficult hour and that was an epidural, with no loss of mental alertness.

      Our second child? Easy birth, great apgar. 20 minutes later nurse noticed continued fast breathing, quick transfer to ICU and 10 days later we left with a very healthy baby. Every birth is unique. Nothing against home births but we found out we needed a hospital only at the end of the birth process in both situations. Depends on the birth, the doctor, and the hospital. Your mileage may vary.

      Oh yeah, I don't take my family in the car when weather conditions greatly increase risk, do you?

      July 30, 2010 at 08:30 | Report abuse |
    • bob from SC

      Just remember, that in "bygone" days when home birthing was the norm, the death rates were also higher...for BOTH child and mother. Hospitals may seem more impersonal, and they may suggest drugs not available at "home", but the odds of survival are also higher. Most births (incl "home" births go w/out a problem-nature does have its "way), but when something happens......

      July 30, 2010 at 09:00 | Report abuse |
    • obrn

      In my experience, it is almost never an insurance factor. Medicaid covers almost everyone. Having a baby at home is a lifestyle choice, most often made by a certain segment of the population. Most believe in natural birth. Most will breastfeed. Most will co-bed with their children.

      July 30, 2010 at 09:21 | Report abuse |
    • Rete

      Lack of healthcare insurance might well be part of the reason but for my daughter it was a choice of having a natural childbirth rather than designer childbirth orchestrated by the OB-GYN who insisted that she receive drugs for the pain and be induced so that she could plan who would care for her other children when the baby was ready to be born. She had to very successful home births and only just gave birth to her third on 6/25 with a midwife in assistance. She received better pre-natal care than with a OB, had numerous tests to ensure that mom and baby were healthy and breezed through it with only 7 hours of labor giving birth to a 9 lb 9 oz baby and was eating a steak an hour later. The protest from the medical board is only because of monetary lost for the physician, hospital and labs. It is not about caring about the mother or the child.

      July 30, 2010 at 09:26 | Report abuse |
    • chavenner

      I think there are many factors here that need to be evaluated prior to coming to any conclusion that home birthing is more dangerous than hospital births. Anyone who has taken the most basic statistics class knows that these tally's are relatively useless unless we are comparing like individuals. For example, what are the overall health issues involving the mother, the experience of the midwife (or even if there is one, big difference), and the reasons why she is giving birth at home. Who exactly is funding this study? Previous studies have shown that healthy (low risk) mothers who take good care of themselves and have good prenatal care have a better outcome at home AND less chance of complications and C-section. I chose to use a nurse midwife to come to my home during for a low risk pregnancy. When I became pregnant with twins, I opted to have them at the hospital. Often, it boils down to common sense. Since we are throwing in "statistics" why not include the increase c-section and infant mortality of hospital births in the US compared to other countries that have a larger % of homebirthing.

      July 30, 2010 at 09:27 | Report abuse |
    • BDickinson

      I completely disagree with this article. I had my 18 yr old in the hospital with drugs, 30 hr induced labor, 2 epidurals and 5 shots of statol and then my 8 yr old at home with a midwife. I was 35 when the 2nd one was born. Everyone told me how irresponsible I was for having her at home. It was the most exciting, peaceful experience. The 18 yr old has ADHD the 8 yr old is in perfect health and is very peaceful. The home birth was only a 4 hr labor. She is smarter and calmer then most her friends, something I account to not being exposed to hospital drugs. Seriously, there are risks to child birth period, women were designed to give birth. If there is no pre-existing concerns, it is a more pleasurable experience to have a home birth. When I delivered no one took my baby away from me. She was set on my chest after her birth and I stayed in bed with her from that moment on. (My own bed!)

      July 30, 2010 at 10:02 | Report abuse |
    • Notfooled

      Yes hospitals have transformed greatly in the past two decades to provide a home like setting for deliveries. But there is absolutely nothing home like about an IV, a blood pressure cuff, a continuous fetal moniter, a hospital bed that you may or may not be confined to depending on the choice of your nurse and doctor or the drugs that you are given. I watched my sister give birth in the cities best hospital in their brand new neo and post natal wing. It was horrifying. I vowed at that time to never give birth in a hospital unless completely necessary. I successfully and peacefully gave birth at home with no unnecessary drugs and no pressure on October 16th 2009 to a beautiful healthy boy. I am now an advocate for choice. The health of your baby is very important but so is your right not to be hood winked by a hospital system that has publically disclosed their desire to raise the rate of unnecessary intervention and C section because it raises profits.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:08 | Report abuse |
    • Ashley Van Otterloo

      The findings don't surprise me, as a woman who has had two fantastic homebirths attended by a trained and certified midwife, because the study is piss poor. Seriously American Journal of OBGYN, if you're going to make highly politically motivated and sweeping statements, make sure you realize how intelligent your audience really is and make sure you've got your facts together.

      If you want a decent study, conduct one enormous enough to paint an accurate picture of what homebirth vs hospital mortality rates actually looks like (since neonatal mortality rate is somewhere around 1 in 1000 births). You'll also need to include only current data, rather than a metastudy compiling other small studies from back in the 70s and 80s, since emergency response in homebirths has changed since then. You'll also need to only include planned, low-risk homebirths attended by actual trained midwives, and not include accidental and unplanned homebirths, and unattended births.

      Since the study looks nothing like what I just described, I'm not impressed. Get your facts straight people. American women are smarter than you think. ;O)

      July 30, 2010 at 10:09 | Report abuse |
    • DC603

      missadr – "I'm not so sure about that. Being a woman, I don't think I would want to give birth in a hospital because I've seen how that works. It's chaotic, they rush you in and out. It's very impersonal and even kind of rough. The doctors are probably going to drug you unnecessarily and they will pressure you for C section instead of natural birth. There's probably someone you've never even met all up in between your legs too! I can see the appeal of giving birth in the peace and quiet of your house with a midwife who has become your trusted friend. Although some might skip the midwife to save money, I don't think cost concerns can totally explain this trend. I would consider a home birth with a midwife to be a more luxurious option than going to a hospital."

      I'm sure there are many hospitals like that, but that's why you have to be picky about choosing your doctor and hospital. I've had two babies at different hospitals, and especially with the second, it was nothing like what you described. I had a doctor, not a doula, or midwife, or anything of the like.

      I was never pressured for drugs, I was encouraged to walk around, do what I wanted to do, everything was quiet and calm, and they never pressured me to do 'exams' to see how far along I was unless I asked them to. They said I'd 'know" (and I did.) I labored for 24 hours there and they never pressured me for a c-section.

      I think you have an idea in your head about how hospitals are, which is in fact how they used to be. Some haven't gotten on board yet, which is why you need to check around, but I think what you're describing is a misconception.

      Side note: With my first, I also delivered in a hospital, and would have died if I didn't. Right after she came out, my uterus flipped inside out and started coming out. I nearly bled to death, even with intervention.

      I agree anyone CAN deliver at home. But just because you can doesn't mean you should. The argument some women give (Women have been giving birth at home for thousands of years) doesn't hold up. Women have also been dying at home for thousands of years.

      This isn't about being able to do it on our own. Of course we can. It's natural. But dying's natural too, and if you can take preventative measures to make sure your child is healthy and you're healthy seems like a good way to go.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:17 | Report abuse |
    • wilcal

      If it was up to the AMA all births in the USA
      would be by C-section and cost $25,000.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
    • SB

      Actually home births with trained midwives cost several thousand dollars.

      Home birth doesn't mean free.

      Home births are increasing due to educated parents making thoughtful and deliberate decisions to not go the medicalized route for births (for numerous reasons already mentioned).

      July 30, 2010 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
    • David

      I doubt it has anything to do with insurance, because having a baby at home still requires plenty of medical care from midwives., which is still costly. It's not as if this article is talking about women just giving birth with no planning and no medical care. Nice try though

      July 30, 2010 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • janie

      the author of this article needs to do his or her homework, as does everyone else who comments with an opinion. My healthy daughter was born at home with a trained mid-wife who cost more than what insurance covered at a hospital or birthing center. I have spent many hours and months, now going on years, reading about homebirths. they are absolutely safer than the unnecessary C-sections and they result in far less deaths than hospital births do. In most cases, homebirths practiced with trained mid-wives are chosen by people of high intelligence. Home births are generally not practiced by the poor, ignorant, uninsured of the world.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:55 | Report abuse |
    • Sallie

      This article is a review of an editorial opinion. Editorials in themselves are subjective reviews not objective reviews of available research. Pregnant women considering a home birth should conduct their own review and not bank on an editorial to give them the necessary information to make an informed decision.

      CNN please do a better job of reviewing actual research studies not publishing editorial opinion. Careful....least you become a news network of "opinions" not actual facts.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • ken

      It's all about the money. Make any excuses you want, it's not going to change the fact.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • jenn

      I believe all woman without access to health insurance can qualify for medicaid. If you can't qualify for medicaid, you have to be treated if you walk into an Emergency Department in labor.

      A normal pregnancy does not equal a child without breathing issues at birth.

      I fear that woman read these stories and get this glossy idea of a beautiful home birth and ignore the increased risk of death to their child simply because of the birth location.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
    • Bud

      When my wife said she was pregnant I asked what Doctor we should use. She said I'm not sick, I'm pregnant, I was designed for this. We studied medical books, read the Birth Book from the women in Santa Cruz. We had 3 children all in their 30's now and never saw a doctor. She was asked to help other women give birth after that. As I remember the data suggested that over 95% births were normal deliveries 3+% gave you 20-30 minutes to get to a hospital and the final percentage was in the area where nothing could be done to prevent the death of the "passenger" (term from med book).
      At 67 years it is the high point of my life to have been there with my wife having her pass my children into my arms. No strangers in between. It still affects me as I write this.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
    • rockysfan

      Likely reason is somewhat due to lack of health insurance coverage. However, the key factor is fewer doctors are becoming obstetricians due to the high cost of medical malpractice. In addition, many OB/GYN docs are moving out of rural areas as the cost of medical malpractics, again, is higher in rural vs. urban areas. Those are the main factors contributing to home births. What I'd like to know is when the docs are going to get us off our backs to give birth and back on our knees where we should be. Only reason women give birth in western hospitals on their backs it to make it easier on the doctor. To hell with the women that are blowing out spinal discs and ripping so quickly and long because the episiotomy can't be performed quickly enough.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • Steph

      I think home birth is a better experience, however certainly riskier. Life is not without risks. That is the nature of life. To me, this is one of those studies that are stating the obvious. But you cannot force woman to give birth in a hospital! Is that what they are suggesting I wonder?

      July 30, 2010 at 11:27 | Report abuse |
    • Perla

      I actually know more well educated and insured mothers that make the conscious decision to have home births than not. In fact, the less education, money and knowledge a mother has, the more likely she will give birth in a hospital, due to the fear of something going wrong.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:29 | Report abuse |
    • docwew

      32, 28, and 21 years ago respectively my wife and I had home births with midwives in attendance. It is my firm conviction that birthing is a natural event, as is dying. Modern medicine treats birthing almost as a disease process which requires "its" full attention and intervention. The key to a successful home birth is pre-screening for problems which will preclude a home birth, planning, training, and having knowledgeable people on site when the chips are down. All three of mine went like clock work.... not one issue.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:37 | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      I had good insurance all three times I gave birth, but I chose a home bkirth for the last one because of the bad experiences I had with OB-GYNs in hospitals. The last birth was by far the best, and I recovered much quicker than I had with the other two. In the United States, doctors are paid much more when they use "advanced technology" in their practices. The C-section rate is appalling in the U.S., but the doctors sure make a lot more money from C-sections than they do from vaginal births. Every procedure performed on a pregnant woman, from an IV and fetal monitoring to epesiotomy and genetic testing, increases the risk to mother and child. I'm not surprised women are taking their health and their babies' health into their own hands and having babies at home.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • Joan S. Bryson, CNM, LM Home Birth Midwife

      Your short report on this study is as inadequate and misleading as the AJOG Meta-analysis of the studies of home birth. There were major flaws in this review. Many researchers and Women's Health Organizations have come out and made thoughtful statements in opposition to this rushed publication. I am sorry you chose to follow suit and not read further. For one they (?deliberately) left out a recent study from the Netherlands of 300,000 births that found no increase in neonatal for maternal morbidity. The included poor studies using birth certificate outcomes which are notoriously inaccurate and often didn't distinguish between planned with a trained/licensed midwife and unplanned or unassisted home births. Second, the findings if fact in the actual study, not the 'conclusion' show no increase in neonatal morbidity or mortality when the confounders were removed. It seems that American physicians have a stake in continuing the false bias about home birth. What is actually true is that the US outcomes in both neonatal and maternal morbidity and mortality is abysmal for the richest country in the world. With home birth only compromising 1% of all US births, one can't look at home birth as the culprit. Why, we must ask, are physicians not committed to integrating midwifery care in all settings regardless of setting, without restriction on practice as all the countries with the best outcomes have? Beware of study findings such as this. One can draw whatever conclusions one wants to find if one wants to. Physicians keep changing their minds about the conclusions they have drawn previously from studies. That is the basis for the change in the VBAC recommendations. Other countries such as Canada and United Kingdom have also concluded that the studies on breech birth are also flawed and most breech presentations can be safely delivered without putting women's lives at risk with a cesarean. No one truthfully discusses the true risks associated with cesarean birth so women are cowed into consenting. Women who choose home birth do it freely after much research and discussion then seek out their provider.

      July 30, 2010 at 12:09 | Report abuse |
    • rd

      yeah, i don't imagine it has to do with cost so much. i would guess that most of the women having home-births are in fact more educated and therefore more well-off.

      July 30, 2010 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Amy

      I just had a home birth on the 18th and delivered a very healthy 9 lb 8 oz, boy 22" long. My labor was 4 hours long and very intense. Having a midwife really helped to keep me focused. This was a second child for my husband and myself and we decided that a home birth was the best option for us. I'm a chiropractor and I believe that our body knows what it needs whether you are sick or having a baby. Medical intervention should only be used in extreme cases. Our decision was not based on money but instead what would be the safest option for our baby. Hospitals are full of bacteria and viruses and we didn't want to expose a newborn to that. I chose to have my son in the bathtub, I couldn't have done that at the hospital. We wanted to be in the comfort of our own home and not having to pack a huge bag to take to the hospital was great. At 38 this will probably be the last baby I have, but if not I would definitely have another home birth.

      July 30, 2010 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
    • James

      Actually, this is a very politically motivated artical. My mother has been a midwife for 30 years and has better statistics than any OB/GYN . The medical industry has been trying to push out midwives for the past 20 years by making it nearly impossible to get a license and scewing statistics. The agenda that doctors and hospitals haves been pushing for is that ALL births be done by C Section. This is actually way more dangerous than a home birth. Now it also mentions "high risk" births, but does not really define what that is. If you look closely they are labeling most births as high risk. I am not saying that C Sections are not sometimes necessary or that one should not have a baby at a hospital, sometimes it is necessary, but educate yourself so you know what you are getting into no matter what your choice is. As a side note, if you get a C Section, make sure you tell the Doctor to "double stitch" your uterus, because they have reverted to single stitching to save time, but this can cause uterus to not be as strong during another pregancy and almost require another C Section rather than a natural birth.

      July 30, 2010 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
    • kait

      No, it's not due to lack of insurance for most women. It's because we've had traumatic hospital births that we don't want to repeat, and have been robbed of the experience of giving birth, which is central to your identity as a mother. I had three unnecessary c-sections in three different hospitals (for reasons like "failure to progress" due to being on a time limit, "your baby is too big", when she was just 7 pounds, 6 ounces, things like that). I will NEVER give birth in a hospital again.

      July 30, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • Everdean

      FWIW, I don't know how much of this is about money since it can cost almost as much to have a baby at home. In most cases, women aren't just squatting and dropping their bairns in the tub while the grandmas and a neighbor woman standing by. Usually there is a midwife or one or more other medical personnel to assist with the birth. Additionally, precautions need to be taken to ensure a sterile environment and a set that can be easily cleaned up (because giving birth is messy as hell!).

      I suspect that it's more about people with a certain amount of money and education who are very turned off by the experience of giving birth in a hospital.

      July 30, 2010 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
    • Kelli

      Having a home birth is far better...having done it both way I would never go back to a hospital. They rush the birth feel the need to use to many drugs. Have to stay in the hospital for to long to recover from something that women have done for 100's of years...do you really think your great great grandmother thought oh no I need to go to the hositpal I am in labor..no. When I had my second child at home in water everyone was amazed how alert she was...they were amazed cause she wasn't druged like most. Home birth is a personal choice but there is def not harm to mother or baby. Having a baby is water is actually proved to be a far easier trasition for the baby and results in less stress for mom and baby

      July 30, 2010 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
    • momoftwo

      I think you just have to be careful what hospital you pick – with my first baby, he was induced a month early because I had severe pre-eclampsia (obviously I was in a hospital), and they let me go 51 hours and never mentioned a c-section. Don't assume all hospitals or doctors have a flat 24 hour rule (this was only 3 years ago). My second baby was also born in a hospital had to be admitted to the NICU for 5 days to get her breathing on track and I hemorrhaged the night she was born. I am quite happy we were in the hospital and not at home. Being in a hospital certainly saved both our lives, in a case where there would have been no reason to think a home birth would be a problem. I'm not saying there aren't cases where a home birth is just fine and certainly a personal decision, but people should also remember that things can go wrong, and the reason why our infant mortality rate has gone down so much recently is because of good medical care.

      July 30, 2010 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
    • drjim

      I'm an anesthesiologist in Canada, where the whole "homebirth issue" is political rather than monetary as we have universal health coverage. Homebirths have increased dramatically, due to a push from the "natural birth" advocates and the general "anti-medicine" attitude that is becoming so pervasive in society.There are some things to be aware of regarding the homebith "studies": Firstly, only healthy, low risk deliveries should ever be even considered for homebirth. Hospitals select the higher risk cases, so would be fully expected to have higher mortiality and morbidity rates. In fact, homebirth compications should be significantly lower than hospital if it is truly "safer". Also many homebirth complications, such as unexpected bleeding, neonatal asphyxia,prolonged labour etc, come crashing into hospitals for emergency management. If the outcome is not good, it is recorded as a HOSPITAL complication, totally biasing the statistics. And the homebrth process in European contries cannot be compared to North America. The demographics are different, the training of the caregivers is different, and there are very strict laws governing when a homebirth can be performed.
      In my career I have seen at least 3 homebirth disasters, one of which led to the death of the baby, the other two to severe brain damage. Birth is NOT a perfectly safe, natural process that needs no intervention- it often is, but in minutes it can turn into the worst disease you ever want to have. Just visit the cemetery of any town and look at the graves from the early 1900's. You will not find many families that did not experience the death of a mother or child from childbirth.
      "Natural" birth advocates should consider that just about any disease you can think of is "natural". People used to die regularly from appendicitis, for example. Does that mean you shouldnt have an appendectomy if you get it? And be sure you turn down anesthesia as well- its not "natural"

      July 30, 2010 at 14:10 | Report abuse |
    • Jennie

      I AM AN OB NURSE and I will tell you how many times I have seen issues arise during delivery such as a prolapsed cord or fetal bradycardia in which the baby would have died if the mother wasn't in a hospital. Actually, we just had a woman who came in 12 hours after she had a wonderful and natural home birth.....only she was holding a dead baby in her arms because she didn't realize the baby had a heart condition, which would have been detected and treated had she been in the hospital. They thought the baby was healthy and the midwife had gone home, then the baby started going downhill too quickly and ended up dying. Most times mothers who have home births everything goes fine, but when complications arise they happen quickly and are often detrimental to both the life of the mother and baby, such as the woman who I had several weeks ago who had a seizure during delivery and ended up in the ICU (and she had no signs of preeclampsia). Her baby is healthy and she is alive and well now. If she had been at home, her husband would have been having a double funeral.......Just food for thought.

      July 30, 2010 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      It's not an insurance issue at all, just wanted to clear that up. I work at a hospital in Texas that deals with much of the state's indigent population. We literally have women walking in off the street, 9 months pregnant, many times from other countries, to have a baby scott free. We can't deny them coverage, and they just disappear again afterwards, often not having given us real identification to track them down. Trust me, if people don't have insurance, they can still have babies for free in many cases.

      As for the homebirth vs. hospital birth, each has its pros and cons. You just have to be smart about it, and don't be afraid to advocate for your rights in a hospital. It's your body and your baby...they can't make you do anything you don't want to do.

      July 30, 2010 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
    • extraordinary M.A.

      Home births should be well planned and have all risks and benefits reviewed and throughly considered, just the same way you would with any birth in general no matter if it's in a hospital or home. Home births are a great way to have a more intimate experience bringing your child into the world. Home births do not have to take place as a result of no insurance, there are a lot of public health organizations and social workers willing to work with patients to find them a government funded health care program for the mother and the baby during pregnancy and certainly continuing for the child after birth and sometimes even covering the mother after birth and financial assistance if needed. There are a lot of programs available to the public that the public pay taxes into for this exact purpose and aren't even aware of because no one asks about them. There are circumstances that do make each situation different and I am sure this does not work for everyone however you never know unless you try and it never hurts to ask.

      July 30, 2010 at 18:14 | Report abuse |
    • erin

      I was 36 when i gave birth to my beautiful and healthy 8lb baby girl at home in the water. From the beginning I had decided to have her at home, going to the hospital was only an option if her or my life was in danger. I had health insurance just before i decided to tell our family and friends. But going to the hospital for delivery scared me to death. I'm not stupid, i took excellent care of myself and her during my pregnancy. And I also did my research, which is key!! Women have been giving birth forever, and as long as you educate yourselves and partners there is absolutely no reason not to have your baby in the comfort of your home. Not to mention safer, because these are your family germs at home not those of several # of sick people lurking around. My beautiful happy/healthy 13mo girl has also not been vacinated and she has not had a single cold/fever/infection etc... And no, I'm not this crunchy granola mama by any means. I just did what was best for her and myself at the time, and it was the most incredible experience of my life up to this point.

      July 30, 2010 at 23:15 | Report abuse |
    • women.

      The monetary argument doesn't make sense because all pregnant American women are eligible for Medicaid, aka free health insurance. I think it's partially because the high rates of c-sections and other complications in hospital and increased awareness. I fully intend to give birth in a birthing center thats near and connected to a hospital if needed. The birthing center in my town is literally across the street from a hospital, so I feel that it's very safe. I don't want to do it at home sense I don't want to deal with the mess and from what I've seen, birthing centers have nicer stuff like water birth facilities. And some will give you pain meds if you want.

      Also, if it's not in a hospital, there's no risk of hospital acquired infections, and probably less risk of medical mistakes.

      So if I can I'd prefer a homelike birthing center with a midwife.

      July 31, 2010 at 02:30 | Report abuse |
    • alohawillis

      this article is outlandish, and standard speak from the medical establishment. women are powerful, less so when they give that power to a doctor and staff. homebirth ( my wife and i had 2, one unassisted) is an amazing experience that brings families closer together, reduces post pardum symptoms associated with the invasion of hospitol policies, and heightens the spiritual aspect of childbirth. Hospitol births can often be tantamount to rape, even if people belive the line doctors are feeding them. I am always a little sad for mom and baby when i hear the inevitable "complications" that arose in a hospital birth. we create our own events.

      July 31, 2010 at 12:20 | Report abuse |
    • andrea

      we are planning a homebirth because we do not believe pregnancy is an 'illness' that needs to be treated in a hospital by a surgeon in a position that makes the pelvis shrink by 25% (flat on the back).

      additionally...."hospital delivery should be the preferred method of delivery for high-risk pregnancies" – I 100% agree!

      homebirths are much safer than hospital births in the US for LOW-RISK pregnancies ONLY. you would be silly to try a homebirth in a high-risk pregnancy.

      common sense.

      women have the right to choose and stats show that homebirth is safer concerning low-risk pregnancies. bottom line. do not jumble words here CNN....get the facts STRAIGHT please, for our world's well-being. thank you.

      July 31, 2010 at 13:35 | Report abuse |
    • RP

      Not true. Every Medicaid program across the country enrolls expectant mothers, and is one of the few things it pays close to market for. Home births is a choice mothers are making, perhaps a reach for a more "natural" method. Truth is before current practices one third of women died during childbirth. I'll take my and my child's life over nature.

      July 31, 2010 at 19:24 | Report abuse |
    • Reese

      I make over $120,000, have excellent insurance and my wife and I chose a homebirth for all three of our daughters not because it was cheaper (it actually was a bit more out of pocket than a traditional hospital birth) but because of the incredible care the nurse midwife provided.

      July 31, 2010 at 20:35 | Report abuse |
    • Susie

      Well, for me, home birth was the ONLY way I was going to bring a new life into this crazy world. I'd planned for it since I was 12, and so studied up on home births for the next 21 years.

      I had a home birth doctor (accompanied by his wife) - both of whom were 82 at the time of my son's gentle birth - and I'd already years earlier selected a pediatrician. I even visited nearby hospitals, just in case. But I knew there would BE no "just in case."

      I'd cleaned up my diet easily ten years before conception, and began a whole new exercise regime to strength the muscles I might need during the birthing process.

      My baby was born ON his due date, and many friends were present to cheer and cry and laugh and enjoy. I laughed through the whole thing, never having a single moment's pain. Again, I knew birthing (unless there are complications) was supposed to be pain-free and, in fact, the word "labor" means hard work, not pain. So my attitude was cool and positive.

      I never, for one single instant, regret having a home birth, and I have the greatest memories, along with a superb video, of the entire easy afternoon.

      August 1, 2010 at 01:35 | Report abuse |
    • gem

      If a complication arises that they cannot handle at home and an infant is hurt then the state should represent the interests of this newborn citizen and prosecute or seek civil penalties to the fullest extent of the law. If a child were injured in an auto accident because you didn't have a seatbelt on (due to your personal belief that it was "safer" because they might get "trapped in the car in an accident") you better believe that there would be criminal negligence involved. Also, if a physician didn't offer a C/S when the available data indicated a significant possibility for harm to the infant then they would be held liable as well. Why not extend this accountability to whomever has accepted the responsibility to act in the best interest of the child. When a physician accepts the responsibility of caring for a mother and her unborn child, he/she must ethically and professionally act in the best interest of BOTH patients and weigh the risks/benefits of all interventions (or lack thereof) in this light. It is a selfish choice in my opinion to think only of the "birth experience" rather than the larger picture. It is time that we accept that there ARE certain experts in various fields and start relying on their recomendations to a degree. Freedom and independence are important concepts but must be balanced with sound judgement. Has anyone considered the "freedom" of the unborn child to choose a "homebirth" and the potential risks it unnecessarily involves. If you are so concerned about the "hospital delivery" perhaps you should share this with your providers and demand that they improve the way they do things at your hospital. The reason that most hospitals don't offer a more personal setting is due to lack of demand...truth is, whether one likes it or not, those desiring a TRUE homebirth experience are greatly (and thankfully) in the minority. Most people develop a good relationship based on trust with their physician and this supersedes the setting. My children were born in a hospital that offered an extremely personal setting while BALANCING this with EVIDENCE-BASED (not anecdotal) SAFETY procedures for me AND my baby. Oh, and by the way, that costs a lot of money so their "exhorbitant fees" might be to offset the costs of providing that environment....not just the cost of a "diaper" but since there is no other way to offset the costs except to bill for supplies and services, the highly regulated medical industry must shift costs to your supplies, etc. It is moronic to think the diaper cost $25...no, there is significant cost to maintain a safe environment 24 hours a day ready at a moments notice care includes paying highly educated people to come to work in a facility that is very expensive to build and maintain to be at your beckon call. So go ahead and choose a homebirth, but be willing to accept the responsibility for the consequences that MIGHT happen if your "low risk" birth becomes unexpectedly "high risk" at or around the most critical moment of birth.

      August 1, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
    • Jae

      My first baby arrived by Caesarean section; the following four were V-backs with no drugs, no episiotomies, and limited hospital stays. My youngest daughter plans a homebirth for her first baby, and I am supportive (and envious) of her decision. Many European nations encourage births via midwifery and have a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S. Certainly fear of litigation encourages C-sections, repeated C-sections, and induced labors. Reform in this area of health care is past due. (Pardon the pun.)

      August 1, 2010 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
    • Kristjan

      Here in Canada as you may or may not know, all of this is covered by our Universal health care. Don't believe the lies told by the republicans..you can choose ANY Dr you want! However, my wife and I choose to have home births with midwives 3 times. Our midwife has "caught" over 2,000 healthy babies with only having 1 major problem. Almost all of our friends have had nothing but nightmare stories in hospitals. Not only with babies getting sick but the mothers getting sick, doctors not arriving, people coming and going, mothers in the most unnatural position to deliver a baby, etc. C-sections have risen to account for almost 70% of births. How is this possible? Have women's vagina's gotten smaller since my mother delivered 5 boys in the 60's? No..the Dr.s make more $$$ from a c-section end of story! It is a total scam. Dr.s NEVER delivered babies until the early 1900's when the associations realized how much money they could make. Our midwives are incredible and extremely knowledgeable about the entire birth process from start to end, how to nurse and take care of your baby, how to change them, feed them, comfort them. Don't believe the propaganda and their so called "studies". Who pays for the studies? Yep, Dr's. Just like the drug companies. Having a baby is the most natural, wonderful, loving and yes painful thing on earth. When did it become a burden? When did it become the norm to have a MAJOR operation to birth a baby? Imagine all of the beds that could be opened up for actual sick and injured people in the hospitals. Anyway, good luck with your C-section, not breast feeding as it is bad for the mother and baby, vaccinating the mother for protusus and circumcizing your kids!

      August 1, 2010 at 23:55 | Report abuse |
    • Penny

      Well, I had all three of my daughters at home in the 1980s. They are all smart and healthy young women. I'd get an abortion before I would give birth in a filthy hospital!

      August 2, 2010 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
    • KKehoe

      Here is what the study actually reported:

      In simple terms it states that babies born at home are less likely to be premature. When they are premature, they are only 3x as likely to die then if they were in the hospital. Fewer babies are born at home. When women do have home births-they are usually uncomplicated. If someone plans a home birth and there are complications-they go to the hospital so these premature babies would fall under hospital statistics. On top of that women are usually cleared by doctors or certified pediatic nurses to birth at home. so babies that are premature and actually born at home are probably an odd type of abnormality that doctors did not catch ahead of time–meaning yes they did more frequently but they may have statistically died more frequently regardless of where they are born. Additionally if 50,000 babies are premature in the hospital and 5 are premature at home-the secodary group is too small to study so its statistics would have little basis. The article goes on to state that everything else they found -aka babies born full term at home were just as likely to survive and even more likely to need no additional care-no NICU care- no ventiliation-and mothers were more likely to not be operated on or have C-sections or need any intervention. so if you are healthy and cleared by a doctor you should NOT have your baby in the hospital and this study, although set out to do the opposite, confirms. CNN did not print the full article resutls. Additionally the artcile does not state ANY references so it is hard to verify any of it as facts. Journal of Ob and Gyn did however publish another article in 2009 that states babies are healthy born at home and this one you can read all the statistics on–its not a meta study without references
      Here's the actually results:
      The nine included studies contained 11, 158 planned home and 27, 515 planned hospital deliveries. Planned home births were associated with fewer maternal interventions including intrapartum analgesia (OR 0.43; 95% CI 0.39-0.48), episiotomy (OR 0.34; 0.31-0.38), operative vaginal delivery (OR 0.31; 0.28-0.35), and cesarean delivery (OR 0.27; 0.24-0.31). Additionally, women planning home births were less likely to experience >=3° lacerations (OR 0.48; 0.34-0.69), vaginal lacerations (OR 0.48; 0.40-0.57), infections (OR 0.32; 0.18-0.57), and retained placentas (OR 0.59; 0.40-0.86). Outcomes among offspring of planned home births revealed less frequent prematurity (OR 0.08; 0.06-0.10), low birth weight (OR 0.58; 0.48-0.71), assisted newborn ventilation (OR 0.71; 0.53-0.95), and postdates (OR 0.25; 0.19-0.33). In contrast, planned home births exhibited significantly elevated neonatal mortality rates, overall (OR 2.09; 1.20-3.63) and among nonanomalous fetuses (OR 2.82; 1.16-6.86). There were no significant differences by planned delivery location for perineal lacerations, postpartum hemorrhage, cord prolapse and perinatal mortality.

      August 2, 2010 at 00:49 | Report abuse |
    • Per

      My daughter suffered oxygen deprivation at birth, and is permanently and severely brain-damaged. She will likely never walk or talk or feed herself. Before the birth, we were into all this BS about a birth-plan, and in retrospect, it just seems so ridiculous. People who are willing to give birth at home, and not within walking distance of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, can kill their child. If we had given birth at home, as was suggested, our daughter would have been dead, it's as simple as that. People who are considering giving birth at home are living in a romantic fantasy-world. Things go wrong all the time. That's why you HAVE Neonatal Intensive Care Units. You have less than a couple of minutes to rescue the child using everything that technology has to offer. With what I know now, I find home-births, and frankly all romantic birth-plans with candles and music, quite disgusting and misguided. Don't let your own self-centeredness harm your child.

      August 2, 2010 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • AMy Medwin

      Trained midwives (CPMs in particular)..... can handle those rare emergencies that can happen at an otherwise uneventful birth. They are trained in neonatal resuscitation , dealing with heavy bleeding, and how to determine when a mom or baby is in need of hospitalization. And please..... cords are wrapped around at least a third of all babies at birth.... it is not a crisis.... it can be a bump in the road....but most often it is absolutely nothing but the normal outcome of babies playing around ! ......

      August 3, 2010 at 07:55 | Report abuse |
    • Meghan

      No, actually there is a flaw in the meta-analysis that was done by ACOG, which contradicts the individual conclusions of many large studies showing that home births attended by licensed midwives have similar risk of neonatal death as hospital births. The flaw is probably the result of using old and small studies, and of incorrectly including at least one large, but flawed, retrospective study (Wax Study). They fail to define "home birth" meaning that they considered any birth outside a hospital a home birth.

      August 3, 2010 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • C.E.Graves

      I disagree. Health insurance had nothing to do with my decision to have all 3 of my children at home. The health of the child. The bonding that occurs immediately after birth is not allowed to develop in a hospital atmosphere. I have watched babies taken away to be cleaned, only to lie in a bed (alone) for over an hour until someone could get around to it. Over 90% of all births in the US are normal deliveries.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
    • Adele

      I have some news for you...almost half the babies in this country are born on medicaid. You don't even have to be poor to get medicaid in this country (if you're pregnant). My state even has a deal that if you lose your job w/ health benefits, while pregnant, you can go on medicaid-even w/ a bank account full of money.
      Moms want to have babies at home because they want midwives. The csection rate is 40% at my local baby factory. NO THANK YOU to doctor births. I'm low risk-I'll take a midwife at home. I'd love a midwife at a hospital, but the doctors won't let them. The legislators make laws that require a midwife to be under a doctor and the doctors say no.

      August 11, 2010 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      Ultimately, families have the RIGHT to have their child's birth in any environment they want. I wouldn't want to toss away hundreds of years of medical knowledge for a home-birth, but I also wouldn't force someone to go to a hospital if that was against their desire.

      August 14, 2010 at 14:48 | Report abuse |
  2. pissed in Hawaii

    Of course they want to encourage you to come to a hospital and give birth by using fear tactics. Then they can charge you overly exorbitant fees for their services. If the baby is not an 'at risk' delivery type, I see no reason to have a child in a hospital where you get charged $25.00 for a diaper, $30.00 for a bathing, and thousands of dollars for your room, doctors presence, nurses, and medications 'they' may decide to give you etc etc.

    The medical field is full of scams to separate you from your money. Here in Hawaii, you have to see your Primary Care physician to go see a specialist your already a patient of, and then have to come back to your PCP a second time, to get the results of whatever test you had. I got charged three times, for one procedure, because I had three doctors look at the results. The Neurologist at the MRI facility, my 'actual' Neurologist, and the Primary Care Physicians company Neurologist. Thousands of dollars in fees, when the only neurologists who's opinion mattered, was 'MY' neurologist that I was seeing for my neck problem. None of these other doctors said or did anything nor had any opinion on the MRI results. But yet, I got hit with their fee's because they 'consulted' due to Hawaii's screwed up medical practices here.

    Mind you, they 'consulted' without my ever knowing they were even involved, or my ever giving them any permission to do so. Yet I am responsible for their 'consultation' fees..

    July 29, 2010 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Laura

      While I'm not about to defend the practices at work in your state, the people who conducted this research have no investment in the revenue of an individual hospital. Not to mention this was published in a British journal, where everyone has governmental health care and the cost of delivery isn't a concern.

      It should be scary to you that if there are any complications in delivery the risk of death to the infant (and mother, according to other statistics) increases dramatically if you're in a home birth. That is a scary thing. Bringing to light the facts is different than fear-mongering in that it's not provoking baseless fear of an invisible enemy. There are good reasons why the #1 killer of women hundreds of years ago was childbirth and why third world countries have such high infant mortality rates. Obviously that's complicated by other factors such as hygiene and nutrition, but in reality the human body just isn't nearly as well designed for childbirth as other species. Human infants have disproportionately large heads and adult females have an awkward birth canal with bones in the way. It's good practice to have people nearby who are skilled at emergency and pediatric medicine.

      That said, it's important to research doctors and hospitals (or birthing centers). There's a dichotomy in the modern birthing process marked by the anti-medicine home births on one side and the "too busy to be inconvenienced by a natural process" on the other, driving hospitals towards increased use of medication and raising the frequency of scheduled deliveries and C-sections. Honestly, neither one is terribly healthy for the infant or mother. I work at a hospital with 50% C-section deliveries. Most of the births I hear about first hand at work involve the phrase "scheduled to be induced." There are times this is necessary for the health of the mother or baby, but usually it's just selfishness. It's too inconvenient to have the baby come when its ready so you'll schedule it. This mindset (and the resulting inadequacies in the medical field) will only be remedied by demands of the public. When the people who want more natural births recognize the need for accessible emergency care peri- and post-labor and start showing doctors that not everyone wants to be drugged and cut the system will achieve a sort of balance and our babies will be healthier for it.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:26 | Report abuse |
    • phonylies

      Just because people are not DIRECTLY paid in a study does not preclude a prevalent institutional bias. Studies like this have to be viewed critically and many of your presuppositions comport to the typical institutional bias. I am not saying that this study is wrong or that the facts are not correct, however, to simply take this study at face value and assert that it sources are above reproach implicit "fear mongering" buys into just the kind of special bias and phony authority institutional medicine in the US and Europe has enjoyed for years whether it is socialized or not.

      July 30, 2010 at 08:00 | Report abuse |
    • kmcg

      Laura, this article in the Lancet is not published research – it is an EDITORIAL. It cited obscure and poorly designed studies, and ignored about the 99% of studies finding that home births for LOW-RISK moms are safe.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:48 | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      i used to live and work in the healthcare field in hawai'i. your comment is baseless. you should refer your matter to hawai'i's medical board for review. there's no reason why your pcp needed to intervene and have a second opinion from their own neurologist unless you wanted it. first of all, all radiology imaging studies are read by the respective radiologist trained in the area of experitise. brain ct and mri are usually read by radiologist trained in neuroradiology. they are NOT neurologist. they are trained in reading brain imaging studies with expertise. secondly, your neurologist should have taken reigns in your care for your neurological problem, not your pcp. your pcp only gets a report from your neurologist.

      it is most likely you disagreed with your neurologist's diagnosis or care. your complaints flagged your pcp to request a second opinion from another neurologist. if that is the case, you shouldn't be billed by the second neurologist unless he or she has consulted and examined you. if you weren't consulted or examined, you have an excellent MEDICAL MALPRACTICE case and ethical misconduct chages against him or her at the state medical board.

      whatever your neuropathological problem is, continue your care with your neurologist. if you complain to your pcp and not relay your concerns to your neurologist, your pcp will just blatantly perform more unnecessary tests and referrals.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
  3. What BS

    For an uneventful pregnancy the most dangerous place to birth a baby is a hospital filled with sick people and all sorts of harmful organisms. With doctors and nurses telling you to "hurry up" and trigger happy to start intervening. I had all 3 of my children at home. If you are sensible and everything is proceeding normally home is the best place to have your baby. My birthing class teacher always said if you are planning a hospital birth "STAY OFF THE BED" Here we go again, scaring women into thinking birth is an illness that needs to be medically managed.

    July 29, 2010 at 19:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kat

      wat do u mean off the bed

      July 29, 2010 at 19:56 | Report abuse |
    • aviekins

      @kat – it's important to stay "off the bed" during labor. Lying in a supine position (on your back) is the absolute worst way to labor. The baby has to go through very complex maneuvers to navigate through the pelvis, and it's very, very difficult for that to happen if s/he has to work against gravity – which is exactly what happens if the mom is lying in bed. In addition, staying in bed and having minimal change in position is likely to lead to more pain and increased risk of cesarean birth. Frequent position changes, especially to those that use gravity to the fetus' advantage and those that increase the pelvic diameter, are usually more helpful. Others, such as squatting and hands-and-knees, are great to take the pressure off of mom's back/tailbone when baby is in an unfavorable position (they give mom relief from the pain *and* can encourage baby to move into a more favorable position, thus possibly improving the progress of labor).

      unfortunately, the widespread lack of knowledge in our country due to short medical visits and brainwashed expectant mothers (and by this i mean, brainwashed due to the fact that hardly anyone talks about the normalcy of labor and birth; "A Baby Story" is *not* normal labor/birth... I have yet to see a women begin labor, transition, deliver, recover, and talk about her experience in less than 30 mins with commercials) has stigmatized the birth process. Oops, sorry, I am going way off of your simple question 🙂

      July 29, 2010 at 20:49 | Report abuse |
    • Sure

      You could have a uneventful birth in the back of a speeding pickup truck and it could be safer than at a hospital. Unfortunately eventful births happen and just because child birth may be a walk in the park for you don't go thinking that is the norm.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:07 | Report abuse |
    • Elliott O

      Actually, the design of the immune systems of both the mother and child prevent serious infections from being a problem in the VAST majority of cases. And no one claimed that people don't get sick in hospitals: of course they do. But the fact of the matter is that this study looked at neonatal DEATHS, and the findings were increased deaths. The fact that you had no complications in your childbithing experiences at home is of NO MATERIAL VALUE to the study. Let's all understand that neonatal deaths are typically measured in deaths per 10,000 births... i.e. they are relatively rare. All that this claimed is that the rate (if I remember correctly, about 12/10,000 in the US) is doubled at home. So, three successful births at home does NOT a pattern make. Clearly childbirth is not an illness, but illnesses are not the only thing that medical professionals can help with, and you would be a fool to not avail yourself of the services of someone who has done this thousands of times because "you know what's right for your own body."

      July 29, 2010 at 23:28 | Report abuse |
    • GLO

      I work in a congenital heart surgery ICU, and I strongly advise against having a baby at home. If your child has a heart defect, it is often not diagnosed untill after birth. If you deliver at home in this instance, your child stands a very good chance of dying.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:48 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      The only good thing about these fools who are forsaking the safety of trained doctors and hospital resources so they can have a "natural" birth is that it will weed out the stupid. Women die in childbirth every day. Complications can cause you to bleed out in minutes. All of you so eager to risk you life and child's life should have to watch at least one woman die in childbirth first. You should be taking advantage of the resources we are lucky enough to have in this country and stop whining about getting back to nature. Nature is harsh and doesn't care about you or your baby. That's your job.

      July 30, 2010 at 00:00 | Report abuse |
    • Raed

      It is all personal. We should respect the individual opinion. Yes there are risks in each decision. Inducing? Woooh that can be risky. Home birth? Woooh what happens if something goes wrong? And guess what? Something can always go wrong but chances are, everything is fine.

      I gave birth in a hospital without drugs in a semi-standing position. I had the best care with a situation I was making decisions on. I think that is the appeal with home birth, you are there making the decisions, where as in a hospital setting I think a lot of that is taken away from the mother to be.

      Have a great hospital or birth at home. It is the fear of the persuasion I think that gets most people. Take control of your own plan and tell the docs to go F themselves if they push you into something you do not want.

      July 30, 2010 at 00:12 | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Like Raed said, its up to you to make sure you birth is handled properly. Whether that means a home birth or finding the right hospital and doctor that are compatible with YOUR needs. However, you are the one responsible for deciding the risks and benefits of the various methods available. We take risks every day but you have to way the importance of your decision against the risk. For us, it turned out lucky that we chose a good hospital and doctor or I would probably not have my wife or one or both of our children today.

      Everything is risk, you have to choose, and it should remain the parent's choice.

      July 30, 2010 at 08:44 | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      I completely agree. I had two home births. If mom is healthy and her prenatal visits are all good, she can definately have a safe home birth if she wants to. A backup doctor for the hospital on call can be arranged. My home births were the best experience of OUR lives; so much better than in a hospital. A birth is not a sickness. It's a natural event of life. If a woman chooses to have a home birth, based on solid knowledge and prenatal care, she can very successfully and perfectly do that. There are never guarantees in a hospital or home. Things can go wrong. But it's likely you will know ahead of time if there is a risk and can decide if it's the best thing for all. HOME BIRTHS are incredibly the best way to go for some who chose it. Hospitals are not.

      July 30, 2010 at 08:45 | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      *spelling* alert – yes I meant "weigh" not "way"...............................

      July 30, 2010 at 08:46 | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      A birth is natural. It is also naturally risky. Even without any clear risk factors a birth can go badly. Parents should be aware of ALL the risks. It is not a scare tactic to let parents know about the problems that CAN occur in a hospital or the ones that CAN occur with a home birth. All possibilities should be well understood before making a decision. Personally, a backup doctor I trust, on call, would be a must for a home delivery. But nobody should pretend the risks are not real. We researched our hospital thoroughly, before deciding it would be good for us. Some things can be controlled others cannot, the birth itself can only be managed not controlled.

      July 30, 2010 at 09:00 | Report abuse |
    • phoenix1920

      On the one hand, you assert that Dr's are using fear to convince others to birth in a hospital, but then use fear as to how horrible hospitals are for birthing. First, I chose a hospital b/c I have a brother with minor brain damage b/c of a complication during the last stages of the birth–at which point it is too late to rush to a hospital. However, most hospitals are changing how they handle birthing. Ours has a birthing center, with individual rooms, HUGE tubs for water births, plenty of room to walk, low lighting, it looks just like home except the floor has that institutional tile. My midwife was with me, but only when I needed her. Most of the time, it was just me and my dh. They didn't push drugs, I gave them my birth plan, which they followed to a T, and it was amazing. I actually never saw my Dr b/c the birth went so smoothly that the midwife delivered. However, I knew my Dr. was the building and if there had been an issue, she would have been there within moments. Based on my personal, family's experience, I wanted that assurance. 99.9% of home births may proceed fine, but I do not want the guilt of my mom in thinking I may be to blame for my child's brain damage if I was at home and a complication arose too late–that guilt lasts a lifetime for the mom.

      July 30, 2010 at 09:53 | Report abuse |
    • Carlos

      My wife gave birth to our son in 2005, her pregnancy was completely uneventful. She was dilating very slowly, even after they gave her pitosin to help. When her water broke, the only way to tell if the baby was ok was with the heart monitor. I was very scared when I realized that if my wife took off the oxygen mask (she had started to run a fever) the baby's heart would drop dramatically in a matter of seconds. My beautiful boy would have had brain damage had I not been in the hospital...

      If humanity has the technology, might as well use it...

      July 30, 2010 at 10:10 | Report abuse |
    • rbnlegend

      Carlos: If your wife had not given birth in a hospital, she would not have been given pitocin to alter the progression of childbirth and the outcome would not have been the same. Maybe that sense of danger you felt would have still been present, and maybe it reflected a real danger, we can't know. But the process your family experienced was altered from the very start.

      Pitocin is not FDA approved for elective induction. It used to be, but not any more. If there was not a medical condition that required induction, and slow to dilate does not qualify, then it was used off-label against FDA reccomendation. Any drug that is approved can be used for anything out in the field, but that doesn't mean it has been tested for that use. Check out the list of side effects of pitocin, it's scary stuff.

      The study said that when bad things happen in childbirth, it's better to be at the hospital. That's a no-brainer. But that's hidden away in the article, in language that sounds like the study says it's better to be at the hospital overall. What the study doesn't appear to look at is how often bad things happen in home birth vs how often bad things happen at the hospital, in similar populations.

      One medial intervention leads to another. Each intervention increases risk. If there is a medical reason for that intervention, the overall risk may be decreased, but it depends on the reason for the intervention. It's the first intervention that turns into a chain of interventions, and once the sequence of events starts, the subsequent interventions make sense, but were they really needed in the first place? There isn't a clock, or schedule, on the childbirth, until the water breaks, but the medical steps taken before that rush the process. If the body isn't ready, and you strip the membranes to break the water, the birth process won't catch up, and you end up behind "schedule" and end up needing a c-section, because the risk of infection has gone way up, when without intervention, your water would still not be broken and there would be no clock running.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:09 | Report abuse |
    • kait

      ABSOLUTELY! Right on, BS! Get out of bed and get the baby out naturally, YOUR way, NATURE'S way!

      July 30, 2010 at 12:52 | Report abuse |
    • MKNC

      Wait a minute! You had both of your babies at home and yet your opinion on hospital birthing is valid? Not a chance. I'm happy that you had two great at-home birthing experiences without complications. But a hospital birth doesn't equate to a room in squalor with an IV pumped of drugs. I wouldn't stereotype your home birthing experience so don't deign to know what a hospital birthing experience is. You're just propagating negative perception of hospitals without the know-how.

      July 30, 2010 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
    • kait

      MKNC... well, I'll speak for her then, since I've had three hospital births. And every single one absolutely WAS forced drugs (from the moment I walked in, it was "here's your Pitocin!", despite me insisting I wanted a natural birth). All three ended in c-section, not because my babies weren't healthy and not because I wasn't healthy. But because I had a time limit, because I wasn't dilating fast enough, because my baby is "way too big!" (try 7 pounds, 6 ounces), because "hospital policy" dictates surgery over vaginal birth.

      I am planning my fourth and final birth AT HOME. I would never even CONSIDER birthing in a hospital again. The birth industry is a PR-dictated, fear-mongered nightmare.

      July 30, 2010 at 14:25 | Report abuse |
    • drjim

      Its funny how the same themes keep recurring in this blog from the pro-home birth folks. Actually they are not so much pro home birth as anti-hospital. Maybe they couldnt get into nursing or med school and have a grudge I dont know.
      Anyway, why would you think a dioctor or nurse who spent years training would not hold your best interests at heart. Why do you think they would be performing unnecessary treatments or tests? I am a doctor and I would NEVER push something on a patient I didnt feel was necessary.
      The fact is reseacrh has been and is going on worldwide on what are the best techniques and procedures to maximize healthy outcomes for baby and mother. The human body is an unbeleivably complex thing and pregnancy and labour change the physiology of virtually every organ system. Its not always easy, even with scientic research, to determine what is and is not best. But we do things based on the latest data, not because we are evil and want to force you to have nasty things done to you. And things change all the time. We THOUGHT at one time continouos fetal monitoring would increase safety-it turns out it doesnjt, so its not done anymore. We THOUGHT that if one had a previous c-section that the uterine scar would be at greater risk of rupturing during subsequent pregnancies (which is almost certain death) so we sectioned anyone who had had a previous sections. Reaearch shows that's not true, so we dont do it anymore. The list goes on and on.
      And what are all these drugs being forced on people? Pitocin, which is mentioned often is oxytocin, which is what the body NATURALLY produces to induce labout. Some poeple make more than others, so if labour is slow, we may give a little extra.
      Why? Because it is a well known fact that labour is very stressful to a baby-evey time the uterus contracts, there is a reduction of blood flow . Reaach (heres that nasty word again) has shown that if labour goes beyond certain time limits, unhealthy things can happen.
      What other nasty drugs are "pushed" on people? Pain medication-which you are welcome not to take, although I cant for the life of me figure out why one wouldnt, but to each her own, I suppose. Antibiotics-if an infection, which can kill quickly-develops. Thats really about it.
      Go have your baby underwater standing on your head if you want to.But dont tell the people who have dedicated years of thier lives and work ridiculous hours to try to help you have a happy healthy baby what we do and dont do in hospitals, especially when you dont know what the F you are talking about.
      I reguarly do obstetrical anesthesia and see all kinds of patients. Every night I see the "complainers". Nothing is right, they are unhappy and angry about everything, they abuse the staff and try to call all the shots. When they dont get their way they complain about things being "forced" on them. Then they almost always have a heathy child. And a few months later they blog on CNN about how horrible thier experience in a hospital was and that they would NEVER do that again. And I, and others like me, read them, and say "one can only hope"

      July 30, 2010 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
  4. opsomath

    Please read the original study, which found several positive things about home birth but chose to focus on the negative. The link is in the article.

    July 29, 2010 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aviekins

      i agree, except the link only has the abstract of the article... i don't think there is a way to view the entire article (unless perhaps you are a subscriber to the ACOG journal?). it is frustrating to know how they conclude that "lack of medical intervention" leads to a tripling of the neonatal mortality rate.... ?!

      July 29, 2010 at 21:48 | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      There are many positive aspects of the home birth, which should be incorporated into hospital births, but the major results of the study indicate that positive aspects aside, home birth is far more dangerous in the event of complications during delivery. Even the best planned birth can have something go wrong – it's not predictable and there aren't always warning signs in advance. In the moment there needs to be quick access to emergency care for the safety of the infant.

      You wouldn't allow your kids to attend a city pool without a lifeguard on duty just because they've never needed rescuing before and the rational that "someone could just call 911 if they started to drown," would you?

      Even if the risk of complications in your delivery is low, is it worth the risk of losing your baby for you to be more at ease for a day? You're putting a lifetime with your child against your personal disdain for the hospital. That's not rational.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:34 | Report abuse |
    • aviekins

      laura, i respect your opinion but to use your analogy – i wouldn't let my kids go alone to the city pool without a lifeguard on duty, but i would probably be pretty comfortable letting them go if they were going with a qualified, experienced sitter who would be hanging out with them, one-on-one the entire time they were there, playing with them and making sure that absolutely nothing out of the ordinary occurred... that if they even got NEAR the deep water, she would grab them out of there and rush them home, and that if something unexpected occurred, her many years of training would be more than enough to keep them safe while help was en route. (not to mention who i had known for an awful long time, and had built a close trusting relationship with, unlike the lifeguard who i likely would just be meeting that day...)

      July 30, 2010 at 00:19 | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      I can access the full article. It says: "The main attributable factors for the increase in mortality were the occurrence of breathing difficulties and failed attempts at resuscitation—two factors associated with poor midwife training and a lack of access to hospital equipment." Some other interesting quotes:"Although home birth seems to be safe for low-risk
      mothers and, when compared with hospital delivery, is associated with a shorter recovery time and fewer
      lacerations, post-partum haemorrhages, retained placentae and infections, the evidence is contradictory
      for outcomes of newborn babies delivered at home." and "Choosing to delivera baby at home, states ACOG, is to show preference for the process of giving birth over the goal of having a healthy baby."

      July 30, 2010 at 08:27 | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      The problem is that not all complications can be handled for even a short time by the midwife. The risk is real and I dare say, like hospitals and doctors, not all midwives are equal. An unrealistic belief that all complications can be managed at home does not allow for a fully informed decision process. If you choose a home birth, you better choose an excellent midwife and check her out as if a life depends on it, because it does. Have all your ducks in a row, know EXACTLY what your emergency response will be for each possible negative outcome. Always prepare for the worst, knowing you almost certainly won't need it. But if you do need it, be prepared.

      July 30, 2010 at 09:11 | Report abuse |
    • kmcg

      It focused on the negative because it is an EDITORIAL.

      CNN should stop acting like this is a peer-reviewed study.

      Doctors and nurses across the globe have already been condemning this comment piece, as it omits many of the major and well-designed studies normally cited in articles about homebirths. It also relies on some studies which are controversial and poorly-designed.

      Furthermore, the importance of high-risk mothers in a hospital should be understood. There is a big difference between a high-risk mom and a low-risk mom.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
  5. E

    "but do not have a right to put their baby at risk."

    Unless of course they want to have an abortion, which is of course, clearly puts the baby "at risk" of well, death.

    July 29, 2010 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mitchlp

      I thought the same thing. I am pro-life, but if the hospitals want to be pro-choice, let the woman decide where to deliver. After all, it's her body, right?

      July 30, 2010 at 01:39 | Report abuse |
  6. jpl89

    What's causing the rise in homebirths? It's this irrational obsession with everything natural as if that was always better. Let me tell you something about natural births: women used to die. A lot. So did the newborns. Nature has no incentive to preserve an individual life. All that nature cares about is that enough infants survive to reproduce again and if mothers and babies die, nature just does not care as long as enough survive to reproduce again.

    It isn't natural to use birth control, but I bet most of the mothers worshipping nature have used it plenty. They are probably the same mothers obssessed about spraying disinfectant on everything, conveniently forgetting that it's quite "natural" to get measles, rubella, chicken pox, typhus, and tuberculosis and die.

    July 29, 2010 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LKT

      I agree with you, jpl89. If I tried to deliver my first-born 100 years ago, my daughter and I probably would have died. If I survived I never would have been able to have any other children without risking death. If my daughter survived, she probably would have been brain damaged. I consider myself extremely fortunate to live in a time where a distressing delivery does not result in death or permanent physical/mental disorders.

      July 29, 2010 at 19:58 | Report abuse |
    • CathyW

      Actually, the death rate was never as high as people think. Records by midwives prior to the American Revolution put the rate of maternal death in the low single digits. Yeah, 1 or 2 out of 100 births is high by modern standards, it's still not as dangerous as people make it out to be. You are pregnant 200 years ago – you have a 98% chance of making it through just fine.

      July 29, 2010 at 20:51 | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      Women and babies used to die of infection, not so much birth itself. Most of the things that killed moms and babies way back when are preventable now... namely, proper hygienic procedures, fetal monitoring before, during, and after birth, antibiotics, blood transfusions, and dozens upon dozens of other procedures that are now routine.

      Want to know something sad? The needless deaths of mothers and babies is part of what led to the discovery of germ transmission. Some studies were done many decades ago evaluating maternal death rate of those served by midwives to those served by doctors (all male). Women assisted by midwives had a lower maternal death rate by far. There was all sorts of conjecture as to why, including things ridiculous as the male doctor causing such emotional distress to the mother's modesty that she literally died of embarrassment. What was finally discovered is that the midwives washed their hands between deliveries as routine practice, and the male doctors in hospital settings often did not, which led to the realization that the doctors were transporting something from patient to patient which was killing the women. After that discovery, antiseptic handwashing became a standard medical practice.

      July 29, 2010 at 21:45 | Report abuse |
    • Anakela

      Sorry that you feel so terrified of Mother Nature...sheʻs not nearly as scary as ignorance. Please do yourself and the world a favor by realizing that it is time we all learned to focus on what is natural; if a birth goes wrong, that is natural. We have modern medicine, yes, but why do people think a midwife is incapable of fixing problems as much as a hospital does? My baby was born beautifully at home; my friends all suffered horribly in hospital births because of their own fear. Mankind moving backwards towards acting natural is not "irrational" or a passing trend, you fool....Do a little research to see that people die more in hospital births than CNN would ever publish NOW, not back in time, or pleaase donʻt post nonsense for others to get pissed off at....Mahalo

      July 29, 2010 at 23:28 | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      I agree all this talk of natural and then germs. Wow maternaty wards are on lock down and sick people are not aloud in. My baby was rehospitalised at 4 days and had to go to the peds ward because she left. Germs are natural and they have done studies that say that kids raised with pets and exposed to dirt have more natural immune systems (no allergies). Dr are not s rip off either. I do not know many people who will get up in the middle of the night to help you weather they are paid or not. Nurses always get paid but Drs do lots and lots of free work.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:32 | Report abuse |
    • Katherine

      My friend, women STILL die as a result of childbirth in the US – where 99 percent of women birth in hospitals. The US's maternal mortality rate is higher than many third world countries. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/usa-urged-confront-shocking-maternal-mortality-rate-2010-03-12. It's even higher for women of color. Homebirth midwives are trained to a) screen out high risk pregnancies and b) to handle emergencies when they occur.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:33 | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      Anakela you are rediculous. I had two great births in a hospital and they cleaned up all the mess. It was great! I know many women who had great births in hospitals and the only two people I know who had home births hated childbirth and do not want to have anymore children. My only complaint is hospital food sucks. I had friends bring food.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:36 | Report abuse |
    • FLO

      You obviously never had a homebirth. I have had three, I am alive and my children are vey healthy. 1/3 of births in the Netherlands are at home and that country has better outcomes that the US. But the Medical Journals don't report on that because that won't promote fear. In 1996 about 22% of births in the US were caesareans, by 2008 the US caesarean rate was 32%. Tell me what has changed so much in the anatomy of birth that could explain such a big increase in such a short period of time especially since there hasn't been a corresponding reduction in death rates. Hospital births are not without risks. Planned homebirths with a licensed practitioner are not like the homebirths of an earlier era when women didn't necessarily get prenatal care or have a trained practitioner to attend the birth. As far as natural being bad, don't knock it until you have tried it. A few years after my last child was born, I developed hypothyroidism and need to take thyroid hormone medication. "Modern" medicine claims the synthetic thyroid homone thyroxine is the only effective treatment. I have never been so sick. I now take the 100 year old natural thyroid medication and am 100% better.

      July 30, 2010 at 01:07 | Report abuse |
    • cc2

      Maternal hemorrhaging is still a problem and much more common than is realized (The Mayo Clinic Healthy Pregnancy Book put the number at 1 in 500 or 1 in 1,000. This is why I get the chills when I read about more women giving birth at home. I hemorrhaged after both children were born, with the first the doctor saved me at delivery. With my second the nurses refused to listen to the warning signs and I ended up in ICU and only barely escaped a blood transfusion. So, my experience with hospitals is mixed. And a point missing in CNN"s article is that the quality of the attending medical staff, be they MDs, nurses, or midwives is probably the most important factor when problems arise. A happy medium between home birth and hospital birth would be birthing centers attached to hospitals and allowing midwives to be independently associated with hospitals. My friends who've researched that option have found that birthing centers are closing down. I think this is what is driving more women to give birth at home. I don't have access to the full article, I wonder if addresses this issue.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:28 | Report abuse |
    • HLR

      I have had two successful homebirths, the first one was covered almost completely by insurance, the second, paid for completely out of pocket. Lack of access to healthcare was not part of my choice. I have a history of medical issues and have learned that hospitals make me nervous and tense. I wanted to have a relaxing peaceful experience for both baby and myself.
      I didn't know it with the first baby but I have extremely fast labors once they really get going, By the time I realize that things are getting serious enough to warrant a hospital keeping me I have literally minutes before the baby is there. So I know in my heart if I had planned hospital births I would inevitably be that lady in the car delivering in the parking lot. As it was my first baby was almost unnassisted. And I was calm and pain-free right up until transition. My homebirths have both been peaceful and beautiful though not completely without complications.

      About three or four hours after the birth of my first child I started to hemorrhage. But, I was aware that in choosing a homebirth I was assuming a great responsibility for my baby and my body. I knew something was wrong and called the midwife. She tried to tell me that things were okay, chalking it up to first-baby jitters, but I insisted. (had she not arrived my next call would have been to 911 but he heard something in my voice and agreed to come back) When she arrived she realized quickly that I was right and that there was something wrong, She applied internal pressure and stopped the bleeding. Later that month I heard about a friend's cousin who had had a baby in the hospital the same week. She died at the hospital of a postpartum hemorrhage. I remember being completely shocked. I quickly realized that that could have been me. Hospitals disorient me. They make me feel disconnected from my body. They are noisy and full of sudden and unexpected stimuli. Yes, they have doctors and medical equipment to manage emergencies. But if a room full of people had told me what I was feeling was normal as was the case with the other young lady, maybe I would have listened to them instead of that little voice inside my head that telling me that if I didn't fix things I would slip away. After all, they had the white coats, degrees, and name tags. Hospitals have their place. They are the first place I go in the event of an actual emergency. But as many in these comments have stated, for a low risk pregnancy homebirth can be a safe and successful option. And most midwives are trained to handle common birth emergencies. Hospital interventions commonly cascade into trouble. So I will be one of the first on this forum to say it officially. I might have died had I have had a hospital birth.

      November 1, 2010 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
  7. simplemom

    My first delivery was a c-section to deliver my twins in the hospital. Both babies were breach. Right choice. I had my third child VBAC at home with a very experienced midwife. Right choice. Nobody has to be a "hero" and stubbornly insist on risk. There's always the option to "transfer" to a nearby hospital, in typically plenty of time to make that decision if the baby is stressed. With good prenatal care, many risks can be determined prior to labor and choices can be made accordingly. Any responsible parent and midwife would transfer in the event of stress on the baby. Labor and delivery is not an illness and should not be treated as such. Don't get me wrong. I believe in and fully respect the wisdom and experience of medical doctors, however, not every situation calls for a doctor.

    July 29, 2010 at 19:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PK

      Except when your uterus ruptures.

      July 30, 2010 at 06:36 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      To PK: If you're the 'lucky' person to have a non-induced labor (VBAC or not) result in uterine rupture without notice please take me to Vegas because low odds are in your favor. You're more likely to die by heart disease, cancer, stroke, motor vehicle accident, suicide, falling, and firearm assault than to even have a uterine rupture.

      Women who HBAC know what their risks are and have competent midwives (who carry equipment and medications with them) and transfer plans if anything seems amiss. I'd personally rather have a care provider willing and able to sit with me through my entire labor than just show up at the end. In hospitals where nurses only 'visit' you could be showing warning signs for 20-30 minutes before anyone had any clue.

      July 30, 2010 at 09:41 | Report abuse |
    • gem

      If I were your third child and your uterus had ruptured and I was forced to deal with cerebral palsy, brain injury, or death because it took you 20-30 minutes longer to get me out because you irresponsibly, selfishly, and recklessly wanted to "stay home" then I would never understand why you would risk my life and my health .... I would wonder if you loved me enough to put me ahead of your own desires/needs. And, if I had enough brain cells left, I would sue you for damages!

      August 1, 2010 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
  8. wow

    I had no idea there would be any complications during my delivery; however, when my baby was born, he experienced serious breathing difficulties. Had I not been in a hospital with a NICU down the hall, he would have died. I know supporters of home births believe in doing what is "natural" and that it has been done for thousands of years. What they fail to address is the high infant/maternal death rate prior to the 20th century. It may feel free and wonderful to be able to have your baby at home, but it seems selfish to put your child at risk.

    July 29, 2010 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CathyW

      Actually, the maternal and neonatal death rate skyrocketed in the 1940s and 1950s, when women started birthing in hospitals. Yes, there are indeed risks with having a child at home. But there are risks associated with having babies in hospitals, too, and nobody every addresses that.

      July 29, 2010 at 20:54 | Report abuse |
    • aviekins

      @wow – "serious breathing difficulties" could be due to many different things. did you get pain medications during labor? was your labor induced? was your baby a little early or a little late? was your baby put on your chest or taken right to a warmer?

      i've posted this elsewhere on these comments section, so at the risk of sounding repetitive – midwives aren't barefoot, untrained hippies (or shouldn't be if you entrust them with your child's life, and your own). they are expertly trained in emergency situations, specifically including neonatal resuscitation. chances are decent that a midwife *may* have been able to prevent your son's breathing issues to begin with (maybe – maybe not... who knows?), by offering a different position for birth.

      as to the high death rate prior to the 20th century, that was likely more due to the environmental factors than the fact that babies were born at home... in combination with "childbed fever" (which coincidentally did not appear until physicians – who had no training in obstetrics at all, unlike midwives who were apprenticed for years); families were generally poor, exposed to disease, and either lived in rural, remote areas or in crowded, filthy urban areas. There simply was no intervention for some obstetrical emergencies (it didn't matter if you were a doctor or a midwife).

      July 29, 2010 at 21:45 | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      Are you certain that his breathing difficulties weren't CAUSED by the medications the hospital used on you?

      July 29, 2010 at 21:48 | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      Why do you all assume she had drugs. I did not and my baby still had bad jaundice. home birth hospital birth she needed help in a hospital.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:41 | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Why are some people so desperate to deny that a real complication can occur in a well planned home delivery? Do you really want to hide the risks from someone making a decision. As I've noted before, we were one of the unlucky ones that were lucky to have care available. Including a "breathing issue". Our daughter was strong as an Ox yet she could not get enough oxygen. We were very lucky, all she needed was time and a controlled oxygen environment (quickly) to get past it. She technically did not have any "breathing" issue, she had oxygen transfer problems. The doctors never did more than absolutely necessary and even managed to get the insurance company to pay for a few extra days for my wife to stay in the hospital so she could be near our daughter ( I never questioned how they did that 🙂 ). Point is that this was a very normal delivery without pain medication and yet a critical problem arose that was easily (in retrospect) taken care of because the NICU was around the corner.

      Point is, trying to deny a problem can arise following a perfectly natural child birth is to downplay the risks for someone trying to decide how best to manage the risks of THEIR childbirth. Do you really want someone to go into it unprepared for an emergency because they keep hearing how home births are ALWAYS better than a hospital birth?

      July 30, 2010 at 09:43 | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      Going to the hospital is risky, too. A friend of mine passed away recently from an infection she picked up at the hospital while she was delivering her baby. If she'd had her baby at home, she wouldn't have been exposed to the hospital bacteria.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
  9. Liz

    If a birth ends up having no complications there is no doubt that having the baby at home is safe .... but can we truly predict which babies will or will not have complications? NO. Even low risk pregnancies can have complications that no one can predict and without the necessary interventions, cannot be fixed.
    Complications such as meconium in the airway (this happens A LOT) or umbilical cord wrapped tightly around the neck/body preventing the baby from being delivered AND cutting off circulation to the baby. When a newborn cannot get oxygen, we do not have 10 minutes to get the the hospital, we have 1-2 minutes which isn't possible in a home birth. An infant having permanent brain damage because the practitioner couldn't fix these problems is inexusable.
    We live in an amazing country where we don't have to face the distant reality of maternal or infant deaths during labor/delivery. If you want to see the reality of purely natural birth, go to a 3rd world country. I think we need to ALL be more open minded about what is best for the mother and infant – lets look at all of the good things that doctors and midwives are providing and work together to provide what is best for mommy and baby.

    July 29, 2010 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • m

      I'm not an expert but I don't think a c-section can be done in 1-2 minutes. So in that case the baby would still be in trouble.

      July 29, 2010 at 20:23 | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      In response to m ... I'm actually not sure what you are getting at.
      If an infant has trouble breathing (or can't breath in some instances), the hospital has all off the necessary interventions at their fingertips to fix the situation immediately, homebirth practitioners do not. If an infant has trouble breathing, the trip to the hospital is simply too long....
      If the infant in utero shows severe acute distress, true C section can happen in 1-2 minutes. But if that same situation is present in a homebirth (some homebirth practitioners monitor continuously, so me do not), add the time of the trip to the hospital to the time of the c-section – for an infant who is not getting any oxygen, that is too much time.

      July 29, 2010 at 20:59 | Report abuse |
    • aviekins

      i'm sorry to say that i have never heard of a c/s being performed in 1-2 mins. under 10, *maybe*, but never 1-2. even if your anesthesia staff is on the floor, ready to go, often times the OR room needs to be set up, supplies opened and laid out, doctors need to scrub, patient needs to be prepped (and sign consent forms), anesthesia given and take effect, etc.

      as far as infants having trouble breathing, midwives carry emergency equipment. a properly trained midwife (as any attending a homebirth should be) will know how to perform emergency resuscitation to supply the baby with oxygen until the ambulance arrives. Generally, meconium is seen when the bag of waters is broken; if it is concerning, the midwife will immediately arrange for a transfer to the hospital and her consulting physician. If it is not 'caught' until birth, she will have the appropriate supplies (including oxygen tank, bag/mask, and suction) to stabilize the infant for transfer.

      Midwives aren't barefoot hippies that just roll up in an old painted up VW van... or if they are, they have it packed chock full of "just in case" emergency equipment, the same things that are tucked behind a discreet cabinet door in any delivery room.

      July 29, 2010 at 21:34 | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      I had a friend who developed complications during labor. The baby's heart rate went way down and she was in surgery (the dr happened to be right outside her door) and baby out in 2 minutes by the clock. They were moving her down the hall and degowning her on the run. So yes it can happen.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:34 | Report abuse |
    • a

      emergency c sections do happen and when they occur there is utmost care taken to perform the procedure in as short a time as possible. This is done in order to maximize outcome during fetal distress. I've seen emergency c sections done in less than 2 minutes, first hand, as a student scrubbed in on the cases.

      July 30, 2010 at 00:16 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      What you're failing to realize is there is a midwife present at the home birth. This is a professional highly trained in pregnancy and childbirth. They have everything they need in the room - oxygen, drugs, etc. They can clear airways and perform CPR. And there are always plans in place to transfer to a hospital in the event of something catastrophic.

      It seems many people have very strong opinions based on misconceptions about home births. If you really care so much to have so strong an opinion, at least do your research.

      July 30, 2010 at 01:32 | Report abuse |
    • PK

      Cesareans can be done in 1-2 min. My time from incision to baby out is 23 seconds if I need it to be.

      July 30, 2010 at 06:39 | Report abuse |
    • aviekins

      i was referring to "decision to incision" time, not from the time of incision until birth; usually the OR crew is not just standing around with their hands in the air, scrubbed in and ready to go at a moment's notice. even with an OR suite right down the hall from the labor room, the mom needs to be anesthetized (whether general or bolus to an existing epidural), surgeon and assistant need to scrub in, etc.

      maybe i am wrong – who knows! if so, my bad.

      July 30, 2010 at 23:04 | Report abuse |
    • PK

      Hospitals that do VBACs generally have the OR ready. The anesthesiologist can intubate the patient within 2 minutes. All you need to do a C-section is a scalpel, not too much else to set up in the OR. So 1 minute to run down the hall, 1 minute to scrub and prep the patient, 1-2 min to intubate, and 30sec to get the baby out. We can work pretty fast when we need to. 30 minutes came as a guideline for hospitals where the anesthesiologist and the OB take home call – usually they don't do VBACs at those types of hospitals. I've seen some really bad uterine ruptures with the baby hanging out by the liver which happened in a matter of a few minutes. Only warning signs were 5 minutes of pain. I don't think you can be transported from home to the hospital in that time – you'll end up with a dead baby, and that is a tragedy to me.

      August 1, 2010 at 05:58 | Report abuse |
  10. kat

    i was born in a hospital and im good ,you dont always get your child dangered all the time.and im just a 11 year old girl

    July 29, 2010 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Deb

    i had a home birth 19 years ago after a terrible experience delivering my daughter 2 years earlier in a hospital.
    i wouldn't have changed a thing. !
    it was by far more safe. if anything complications would have occured, the D.O. would have called for an ambulance and the hospital was less than 2 miles away.
    Home birth is a beautiful experience and when u are surrounded by family as well as professionals its a better alternative !

    July 29, 2010 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. JeramieH

    Before anyone complains too much about the medical establishment, take a look at infant mortality rates for the past couple hundred years.

    July 29, 2010 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aviekins

      do you mean the infant mortality rate that is embarrassingly high, compared to other civilized countries? especially considering how much money is spent annually on our health care?

      yeah, let's talk about that.... i think just maybe it has something to do with the record-high number of cesarean sections being performed, elective inductions, and low-breastfeeding rates. Not so much with the home-birthin' crowd (with, coincidently, is *very* unlikely to fit in any of those categories).

      (For a more historical look at the high infant mortality rates, hundreds of years ago it was high, well, just because the mortality rate in general was high. Yes, babies were delivered at home by midwives, but the infant mortality rate was probably more likely due to the fact that people were living in harsh climates, with disease, famine, and poverty. Then, thank goodness, *doctors* moved into the scene to save the day – bringing with them bacteria and disease straight from the bedsides of their dying patients. After a few decades of this childbed fever, the war introduced penicillin, which was helpful in dramatically reducing maternal and infant deaths. Until now, when they've started creeping up again...)

      July 29, 2010 at 21:16 | Report abuse |
  13. Anna

    I'm glad I had my son in the hospital. I already knew I wanted an epidural and pain meds. I couldn't have gotten those at home. I had nurses waiting on me. It was great. My pregnancy went so smoothly and I had very little pain. I'm not one of these hippie dippie Moms. I feel blessed to live in the United States where I have the luxury of having my child in the hospital.

    July 29, 2010 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LEB

      Which is great. But if mothers make a different choice, and that choice is informed, then they should not be judged for it by those who are NOT informed... whether it's being called a "hippie dippie" mom or being accused of putting her child at risk.

      July 29, 2010 at 21:50 | Report abuse |
  14. Shar

    Had I decided to deliver my firstborn at home, both she and I would have died. The cord was wrapped around her neck, there was meconium in the uterus, and I hemorrhaged. Although I believe that you have the right to attempt to have the birthing experience you choose, I also firmly believe that safety should absolutely come first. I am indebted to the hospital and medical staff who saved both my baby and myself. I absolutely chose to have my second child in the same hospital, knowing that they would and could keep me and my child safe.

    July 29, 2010 at 20:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aviekins

      i'm sorry that you had a scary experience - i truly am. please don't take this as an accusatory/fighting post but just another viewpoint (and i will certainly agree that it may be true that none of these things may apply to you). That said, were you induced? did you receive pitocin or other medications during your labor? did you have a long, drawn out labor? There are many things that can increase your risk of hemorrhaging, which many times – not always – are directly related to interventions or factors which occur during labor. (For example, pitocin use, especially over a long period of time... hours and hours.... something that is not uncommon in a hospital but will never happen at home. Or, a long, slow-progressing labor, which *could* happen either in a hospital or at home.)

      Many, many babies are born with the cord around their necks – this is very rarely an emergent situation and, in fact, most times parents don't even know because the doctor/midwife just slides it over. Once in a while it's a "tight" cord and must be clamped and cut before the rest of the body is delivered. It can be scary to see (my daughter's was around her neck and body a few times; her doctor, I swear, juggled her!) but not very rarely life-threatening.

      Meconium is another thing that may pop up due to stress from certain things during labor (interventions, etc) or may have happened at another point during the pregnancy. The consistency is the big thing; if a woman is planning a home birth and her water is thick and gunky with meconium, she will be immediately transferred to a hospital. If there is what is called "meconium stained" fluid (where there is meconium in the fluid, but its mixed in) the mom/baby are watched closely and may or may not be transferred (I think, maybe someone who has had more experience with this will chime in). Midwives carry emergency supplies and are expertly trained in how to use them, when to call for help, and when to transfer.

      Again, I am not judging your decision. As an OB/L&D nurse and student nurse-midwife, I agree that families should have the right to have the birthing opportunity they choose. I will support my clients choices with the disclaimer that safety does have to come first; for some women, the safest place will be the hospital, for others, the safest place will truly be at home. There is no universal right or wrong answer; there is just a right answer for each and every mom. For you, the hospital was the right place.

      July 29, 2010 at 21:07 | Report abuse |
    • FYI

      Nor meconium or the cord around the neck are emergencies. A nuchal cord occurs in 1/3 of all births. Post partum hemmorage occurs more often in the hospital as well. Women often bleed less in home births. Epidurlas are also linked to hemmorage as they open up the blood vessels in tehe lower body. Women don't go into this blindly and I'm sure have done more research than lot of you. My first was born in a hospital and i was told everything to do by the doctors. They gave me too much pitocin and causes my sons' hearrate and finally decided to lower it and he emmidiately was better. I was not able to eat ( which WHO recommends) i could not rest. and i was bullied. I was constantly being pushed into a c-section ebcause i was "failure to progress". i refused and gave birth vaginally to a beautiful little boy with wonderful apgar scores. Oh adn after taht, i was made to get and move to the post partum room a floor down. I am choosing to birth at home this tiem around ebcause it's my body my choice and my son. He will be at less risk there. In fact, I had quite an unexeperienced resident who attended my birth. he had to ask another doctor where to sew me up! My midwife has been practicing for 20 years and has a c-section rate of 5% and a has never had a mortality. My local hospital has a c-section rate of almost 34% and almost every birth has an intervention. WHY would i choose to brith there ? It doesn't make me looney ot doesn't make me "hippie dippie" it makes me educated and i care about my damn birth expereinec, my son and my family.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:43 | Report abuse |
    • Leslie

      I'm the flip-side of that argument. I had the almost 10 pound baby at home that had a double cord around her neck and then around her body. I make long cords, what can I say. My transition was over 5 hours, hello probable c-section in the hospital. My baby was born with a pink body and a black face due to lack of oxygen. My midwife told me to reach for her, and we unwrapped the cord and she told me to breathe life into her. I did and she let out a robust wail. You absolutely cannot say that you and your baby would have died with all certainty anymore than I can say I absolutely would have been sliced and diced in the hospital. I had a nasty 3rd almost 4th degree tear that had to be repaired for over an hour. I got the prize as worst tear on a second time mother my midwife had ever seen. She's delivered over 2000 babies and that doesn't count her 9 years as a labor nurse.

      While the experience in retrospect seems a little scary to me, my midwife was calm and a total skilled champ. I just get so tired of people telling me "if I had had my baby at home he/she would have died". Your hypothetical guess doesn't equal definite truth. If you had had a different doctor with less experience you might have died. Look out for residents in teaching hospitals, especially in July.....yikes.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:46 | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      aviekins you are a little too pro home birth accusing every mom of being drugged.people have bad outcomes. This Leslie person is bragging about the worst vaginal tear that had to be repaired for over an hour. I bet a Dr. would not have let you tear that bad and I bet that they would have been able to fix it faster way faster than an hour. Wow. I think I could stitch you up faster.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:55 | Report abuse |
    • aviekins

      @percysmamma – i'm sorry that you are reading so much into my comments, but i don't believe that i directly assumed anyone had used pain medications (which i'm guessing is what you mean when you say "drugged"). in several posts i posed the question asking whether certain outcomes might have been related to interventions or medications – not specifically pain medications – used during labor or delivery, only because it has been proven that those things have a causal relationship with certain outcomes.

      i meant it to be asked as a question for reflection, but apologize if i didn't. i am pro-birth – like i've said, every mother has to make the right choice for her circumstances. as long as she's fully informed and educated, i'll be supportive.

      July 30, 2010 at 00:24 | Report abuse |
    • Jenn

      I had a very similar experience. If I had not given birth in a hospital, my daughter and I both would be dead. My daughter was born with the cord wrapped twice around her neck and knotted. In addition, she was presenting in a such a way that she was not coming out on her own, which necessitated a 4th degree episiotomy and forceps delivery. As if this weren't enough, I had a massive hemmorhage. My OB was very clear during my prenatal care that she only cut when absolutely necessary, so I don't doubt the necessity of the episiotomy. She also told me that I was bleeding out so fast that I would have died had I not been in the hospital. Before this, I was very supportive of women having home births and choosing their birth experience. Now I see it as a risk that should be very carefully considered because things happen. My OB's comment to my family after she spent well over an hour putting me back together was that, "complications like this happen, just not usually at the same time to the same person!"

      July 30, 2010 at 08:43 | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Of course, the bottom line is whether the data is accurate. If the data IS accurate and home births have double the rate of deaths, then you can argue cause all day and not get anywhere. I'm sure some of the home birth deaths could have been prevented with better prep and response but hospital care also varies. To ignore an identified risk is negligent, to deny it without data is reprehensible. A risk identified is better managed, if you pay attention to it.

      Ultimately it should be the parent's decision. Informed decision.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:01 | Report abuse |
    • Leslie

      @percysmama, I wasn't illustrating the point about the tear to brag, but rather to show how skilled the midwife was. I went to a physician afterward and he said it was an unbelievable complicated tear and that she did an amazing job. He called it reconstructive surgery. This is yet another peeve about women who are against home birth, that women who do it and defend their decisions are bragging. I've had a hospital birth and a homebirth, both were fine, both resulted in bad tears because I have large babies and they need to be born quickly due to cord issues. I saw perinatologists who OKd my home birth. Next you'll be calling me a militant hippie homebirther who thinks she's a hero. Can't forget the hero part. Sheesh.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:55 | Report abuse |
  15. &E

    As a Mom to 4 who is expecting my 5th I am opting for a homebirth this time. I understand there are risks but my last two experiences with the Drs and the hospital were terrible. The staff at the drs office no longer treat a pregnant woman like a person and they demanded me pay for the delivery up front (which I did) and even after having most of their delivery fee collected refused to return a phone call or let me have a visit without verifying my insurance which often left me sitting in the waiting room 45+minutes for most appointments. And I was an established patient of many years with this practice. A large part of my reason for wanting a homebirth is that I don't like having to fight with hospital staff just to get decent treatment. If the hospitals and Drs really treated patients better then it would be an easy choice for me to have a hospital birth but knowing my body handles labor well and I will be monitored by a highly experienced midwife I will choose to do things my way this time. I am not a "hippie dippie mom" I just demand to be treated in a respectful manner. If a complication would have happened in the hospital I am not sure the staff would have been attentive enough to handle the situation.

    July 29, 2010 at 20:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MarkinFL

      What a horrible situation. I think we'd opt for home birth as well or at least a different doctor and hospital( which is not always easy depending on your insurance). It really does depend on the doctor and hospital.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:05 | Report abuse |
  16. MWA

    We are fortunate enough to have a midwife birthing center attached to our local hospital (in Annapolis, MD). I can choose to have my baby birthed naturally in a comforting setting, but am just down a breezeway from the hospital in case something takes a turn for the worse. I had my first baby in the hospital, but opted for a midwife instead of a doctor. The only negative part of the experience was the nurses and their monitors, so I am using the midwife center this time around. It's truly the best of both worlds, and fully covered by insurance. In fact, it's cheaper, since there is no over-night stay for me or my baby.

    July 29, 2010 at 20:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Liz

      MWA, glad you brought this up! Excellent option.

      July 29, 2010 at 21:35 | Report abuse |
    • janette

      OMG! AAMC is awesome!! Had 2 of my children there! The birthing rooms are amazing, and I had great care. My doctors were fantastic, and the nurses were very caring, especially when I had problems nursing, they were very quick to ask if I wanted the lactation consultant to come in and help. Also, the massage after birth was fantastic!! Love them!

      August 1, 2010 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
  17. CathyW

    I had my daughter at home 8 years ago, and everything went fine. But if my midwives had even suggested the idea that there were complications and that maybe the hospital would have been better, I would have gone. In a heartbeat. There is something called the "decision to incision" time, and that is usually about 30 minutes. I was about 30 minutes from the hospital. My midwives would have called ahead and arranged an OB and an operating room to be on standby. Their stats? They had delivered 3000 babies in 20 years, never lost a single mother or child, and had a 7% C-section rate (and only a 10% transfer rate). So for those of you who are so certain that homebirth in and of itself is unsafe, how do you explain this? I can tell you: They know how to manage risks. They simply don't don't clear women who are high-risk for home birth. Most complications occur early enough in the process that they can be transferred to a hospital. The "do-or-die" complications that happen right at the moment of birth are really quite rare. The chance of all sorts of other issues happening during a hospital birth are high, too. Unnecessary interventions that have a domino effect, unnecessary C-sections (that IS a complication, and a major surgery that might have been avoided), stuff like that. It's all about understanding risk.

    July 29, 2010 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aviekins

      exactly. the cascade of interventions is almost always responsible for the "emergency" situations (though of course, not always... birth, like life, is a mystery). the important thing is to make an informed, educated decision that is right for *you*.

      July 29, 2010 at 21:18 | Report abuse |
    • ignorance is bliss

      @ aviekins
      you are a very opinionated responder, I wonder what actual qualifications you have besides being very opinionated & having a read a few articles, the conclusions of which you probably agreed with because of your pre-formed opinion. I doubt you can read a medical scientific article that doesnt agree with your preformed notion and then listen to it. Unfortunately, what worked for you might not work for others and you are doing a dis-service by being pro home birth, giving a false sense of security, that nothing can go wrong attitude. There are various scientific methods of performing and writing a research article, propsective, double blind, cohort, retrospective, etc, when you use a multiple articles as your source and you try to see a general TREND for their conclusion, you get what is published here,, that home births are more dangerous, just accept it. Nature DOES alot of things right, including giving birth, but it also KILLS at birth and at other times too. Just look at the population explosion, the decreasing maternal and neonatal mortality rates over the past 200 years, and then apply your conlusion to YOURSELF and FAMILY and those that ASK YOU, but otherwise, you are none better than that talk show host that had home birth while she had a FEW DOCTORS and RNs standing in wait, no one can afford that kind of care except for the super wealthy and most of us arent, so cut the enthusiasm PLEASE, as a PUBLIC SERVICE

      July 31, 2010 at 21:23 | Report abuse |
  18. PregnantMom

    "Home births can be 'harmful'..." Well, so can hospital births! Where's the article on that? The rush to push mothers though labor because they aren't progressing "fast enough", using induction drugs and other interventions to hurry labor in conjunction with epidurals and other medications that reduce the mother's ability to push and reduce the infant's heart rate. Then when the child's heart rate drops, the woman is told she needs an emergency C-section. There are often unnecessary interventions that actually *cause* problems for laboring mothers and their infants.

    Sure, infant mortality rates are better now than they were in "the past couple hundred years". But compare the USA's infant mortality rates to that of other countries that highly support the use of midwives, natural childbirth, and home birth. Consider Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and quite a number other European countries. There are dozens of countries that rank better than the US in infant mortality rates. If our medical advances are so terrific, why isn't the US in at least top 10 of low infant mortality rates? Why do countries that support less medicalized births often have better outcomes than we do?

    Because interventions are often used unnecessarily, and once in labor, the mother doesn't have much ability to question her doctor, get a list of options, and weigh them. She is told some intervention is necessary "for the good of the baby", and if she was not already educated about it before, how can she know? It's up to mothers to educate themselves as best they can before labor comes along and know what her options in advance; she must be a "self-educated consumer" if you will, because her doctor has neither the time nor inclination to educate her.

    Directly from the "Results" part of the study: "Planned home births were associated with fewer maternal interventions including epidural analgesia, electronic fetal heart rate monitoring, episiotomy, and operative delivery. These women were less likely to experience lacerations, hemorrhage, and infections. Neonatal outcomes of planned home births revealed less frequent prematurity, low birthweight, and assisted newborn ventilation."

    Even when reading the news, you have to be a self-educated consumer or you'll get sucked in by the slanted headlines and so-called journalism.

    July 29, 2010 at 21:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aviekins

      i agree. i also have to slightly wonder at the validity of this study, considering the source. without being able to read the article and see the study methods/which studies where analyzed, i am very skeptical. would the american college of gynecologists, who would *never* see themselves entering a woman's home to deliver a baby and who have been loudly protesting the practice of homebirth for many years, publicly say anything except "booo to homebirth"?


      July 29, 2010 at 21:36 | Report abuse |
    • Drjoyce

      One of the major causes of infant mortality in the US the very high rate of premature infants, is clearly be related to the poor prenatal care than many women here experience since we have a large population who are uninsured. Also African-American women have a genetically-related risk of premature birth unrelated to pre-natal care or socio-economic status, which contributes to the comprably higher mortality rates. Also, the U.S. is very very agressive about resuscitating micro-premies (perhaps becuase of lawsuits), who may be counted as fetal demise in other countries, but are considered infants here in the US depending on how the stats are collected. Most public health literature points to improved prenatal care and post-natal care in these countries for all patients (ie socialized medicine ahh!) as the main reason for the low infant mortality rates. Home births in Europe seems to raise the risk of infant (up to 1 yr) death by about two-fold. In general, it's very frustrating to care for pediatric patients that are already so compromised becuase of their sub-optimal pre-natal environment, and one of our major public health failings as a country. No matter where or how you deliver! My favorite soap-box topic...

      July 29, 2010 at 22:10 | Report abuse |
  19. LEB

    Is the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology aware that home births result in a MUCH lower chance of cessarian delivery than hospital births? Hospitals yank the baby out if the kid hasn't made its appearance after the mother's allotted 12 hours of labor, out of fear that the patient's insurance won't pay for a second or third day of hospital stay. Hospitals give drugs to moms that increase their contractions (to get the moms out of the beds sooner), which then cause stress on the baby because the contractions are too strong, so then a cessarian becomes "medically necessary" when it might NOT have had the hospital just let the woman labor for another few hours.

    Intervention, combined with fear of lawsuits, puts pressure on mothers to consent to procedures they might not even need, in a time when they are extremely vulnerable and in a poor position to say "no." No one is unhappy that there are medical advances that can ensure that pretty much ever mother and baby will survive, that's not the point. The point is that MOST births are normal and safe, and it's wrongheaded to assume that every birth is a disaster waiting to happen.

    July 29, 2010 at 21:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RW

    Enough with the scare tactics! If hospitals want more women to give birth in them, they'd better improve how they treat women and move away from the unnecessary traumatic interventions, premature inductions for no good reason, and overuse of C-sections. I can understand that doctors have their hands tied for fear of malpractice suits, though.

    July 29, 2010 at 21:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ECM

      Talk about scare tactics!! Have your baby at home because if you have it in the hospital they will be evil to you and a) do a Csection and b) always use unnecessary interventions.
      Anyone who paints a picture of hospital births as evil and "natural birth" as 100% safe is trying to sell you something.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
    • Cee

      I am going to say without a doubt that hospitals are far too eager to have C-sections done. Of 2 experiences I have, one being broad based that of a medical transcriptionist I transcribe reports all day long where there is C-section after C-section performed. I am not exaggerating here, this is a fact. Out of the dozens of C-section reports on any given week there may be 1 or 2 vaginal births. This is astounding to me. What did women do before? Isn't birth a natural thing? I scratch my head at the willingness and naivety of today's young women. You have been duped for sure.

      On a personal level, I was with my daughter just 3 years ago as she was about to deliver her first child. She went to the hospital with fairly regular contractions and within minutes had nurses coming in and giving her drugs to STOP the contractions because they DID NOT MEET PROTOCOL FOR FIRST TIME MOTHERS!! What in the heck? After they stopped her contractions they gave her Cervidil and told her she had to lay on her side for 45 min and not move. Then her contractions started again and AGAIN they came and stopped them because THEY DID NOT MEET PROTOCOL FOR FIRST TIME MOTHERS. I truly was in shock! I had never heard of such things. After several hours they again used the Cervidil and induced her labor. This went for 2 more times. She was in labor for more than 18 hours. She was miserable. Throughout this entire time they were seeding her with "we may have to do a cesarean section" "for the baby"...etc... It was a nightmare. Unfortunately.. that C-section was what they ended up doing.

      This article is an embarrassment to women's intelligence. I am ashamed at these so called OB doctors and nurses. They are not caring about the patient or her wishes. Women should be allowed to walk around, allow gravity to help with things. They should be soothed and encouraged and loved on, NOT have IVs, drugs, and other invasions into a perfectly natural event.

      It broke my heart to see my daughter's wishes washed away and have to be wheeled in for an UNNECESSARY surgery. The scare tactics were horrifying and inexcusable. The number of C-sections I transcribe is horrifying...

      Do your homework ladies. Find a good midwife.. they know a whole lot more than are given credit for in this article.

      Shameful article.

      August 1, 2010 at 07:52 | Report abuse |
  21. karen

    most women cleared for a home birth by a mid-wife are alrady of low-risk. as a previous poster pointed out, high risk women are sent to the hospital. this fact alone would account for the low c-section and mortality rate of home births. because the drs. and hospitals are handling the high-risk moms. as far as the lower c-section rates in the scandinavian countries: european women are in better physical shape as a whole (i.e., not the high rate of obesity) than USA women, which again would account for the low complication rate. the fact the universal health care and prenatal care is readily avaialbe to scandinavian women surely promotes a positive outcome, also.

    July 29, 2010 at 21:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Drjoyce

    To me there are two simple question to ask – Are there situations where the mom and baby can die at home from lack of ability to perform certain medical procedures that can be eaily done in a hospital? The answer is certainly yes! While in the hospital can you choose to refuse procedures you don't want, but have them on the back burner if they will save you and your child? Again yes! As a pediatrician I have seen more children than I can count have bad outcomes after both home and hospital births, but at least for those born in the hospital the parents didn't have to spend the rest of their lives obsessing if it was their decision to have a home birth that condemmed their baby to death. I had a father intentionally OD on sleeping pills a few years ago after his wife and daughter both died after the placenta separated during a home birth, leaving his two older children orphans. Just remember, in any medical situation YOU are in charge of final choices for medical care. Don't want a C-section? Ask why your OB is suggesting one and you can ask to delay. Don't want pit? Don't want an epidural? Say so! It's fine to be a bit of a trouble patient to get exactly what you want, but make sure you educate yourself about the real risks of intentially placing a barrier to potentially lifesaving care.

    July 29, 2010 at 21:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris Goodson

      Interesting points. The real problem is that so many parents don't educate themselves on interventions and whether or not they are needed. They simply don't know what questions to ask the doctor both before and during labor and delivery. My wife and I did educate ourselves and choose a doctor who supported our decisions and backed up our reseach. Because we trusted her, we decided to use a hospital. We ended up with a C-section, but we understood the decsions we were asked to make that led us to that point and we were pleased with the outcome. But the nurses, while well-intentioned, were out of their depth as soon as they realized my wife was not going to take pain medication and did not wish to be asked about it. They simply had no idea how to deal with a drug-free delivery.

      July 30, 2010 at 01:05 | Report abuse |
    • DP2010

      The outcomes for infants really are the same when comparing low risk populations in home and hospital births. The article cited above was cherry picked from a host of articles that indicate the risks are the same for the infant and better for the mother in a home birth setting. Why would a family that has a bad outcome in a home birth then need to obsess more than a family that has a hospital birth? Maybe the families that have bad outcomes in hospitals should obsess, too? I'm not saying they should, but pointing out that both families made informed decisions so putting more guilt on one family than the other would be the source of any additional stress for a home birthing family and a major failure of compassion.

      The situation you described would have been fatal for both in a hospital, too, BTW.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      dr joyce, I appreciate your perspective. But It's not so easy to "just refuse" to have an induction or pit or an epidural. I mean, doctors and nurses give you HELL even if you want to push in a non-lithotomy position. They hook the mother to up to a fetal monitor the minute you get in which because of constant misinterpretation, means you can't ever get up and move around, leading to longer and more painful labor and the interventions and c-sections. I wouldn't want to do a home birth, but dealing with the doctors and nurses is an absolute nightmare!

      July 30, 2010 at 11:42 | Report abuse |
    • K

      Drjoyce, how nice it would be if it were true that a woman could just refuse any intervention she didn't want. You must not see a lot of births.

      July 30, 2010 at 16:51 | Report abuse |
    • Drjoyce

      That's a great point! As a pediatrician I attend about 5-10 births every day (which makes thousands over the years) becuase at any birth that is in any way higher risk (even gestational diabetes in the mom) there is a pediatrician already there to treat the baby as soon as he/she is born. Which is very useful when both the baby and mother need medical attention at the same time, since usually at home births there is only one medical professional available, even when there is going to be two people to care for (I avoid the word "patient" on purpose) when everyting is said and done. This is one of my favorite parts of my job and I feel very lucky for each and every family that allows me to share their birth. I feel especially thankful to the parents in those cases where my help has made an appreciable difference in the lives of those children (some of whom are now almost adults!)

      August 1, 2010 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
  23. Kh

    It used to be the other way around centuries ago, before doctor's learned that they actually need to wash their hands.

    July 29, 2010 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Holly, CNM

    Dear CNN, While I typically find you reports to be somewhat less skewed than other sources, this article has ruined you for me. You fail to investigate any possibility that home birth can be, and IS, safe and healthy for low-risk, healthy women. I agree with your final paragraph that high-risk women typically require care in a hospital – but this is only a very small percent of women. Please refer to the ACNM statement (http://www.midwife.org/documents/ACNMstatementonAJOG2010.pdf) on the multiple flaws in the ACOG article you discuss and retract your article. And in the future, please fully research your topics instead of presuming that EDITORIALS from medical journals stand as truth – editorials promoting flawed medical research no less. I am deeply disappointed.

    July 29, 2010 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aviekins

      thank you for sharing ACNM's position on this Hollly. it seemed strange that the abstract showed so many positive associations with home birth, yet still tossed in that single "big one" to discredit it... the fact that the meta-analysis used questionable and out-dated studies makes a little more sense.

      July 29, 2010 at 22:23 | Report abuse |
  25. carol schluter

    I appreciate the variety of perspectives here, and the respect shown by all. Drjoyce, the reason why I chose to have my first child at home was because I didn't care for that designation of "trouble patient" that was pasted on me when I wanted information. I loved that the midwives I switched to made ME responsible for my prenatal care – they oversaw it, but I was responsible. They never told me to wait for a Lamaze class to get the answers I needed – if they didn't have the answers, they helped me find them.
    My daughter-in-law is expecting, now, and I feel so sorry for her. She worries about a most natural function, birth, as though it is such a dangerous and frightening thing.
    Aviekins, I agree that midwives only take on as patients those who are not high risk. I might add that they also usually take on only those women who will take care of themselves. It ought to be a compliment, to have a midwife agree to deliver your baby at home! It shows confidence in you,the pregnant mom, as a woman.

    July 29, 2010 at 22:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. 20+ years in the baby biz

    I think the Lancet headline is a little unfortunate. They are trying to get your attention. The new study done in the US does not dispute the maternal benefits of home birth, just identified a higher risk of infant deaths up to 30 days after delivery. There are many reasons that that could be true. The recommendations from this research is that in high risk pregnancies, hospitals delivery should be the preferred method of delivery. Not low risk pregnancies. I think many midwives would agree with that recommendation.

    July 29, 2010 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Kitty01

    Please note: They say hospitals are preferable for high-risk pregnancies. As they should be. If your pregnancy is normal and you have a good midwife (preferably one who's also a registered nurse) you should have no problem giving birth at home. Both my sister and I were born at home in the late 80s. There were absolutely no problems and my mother was much more relaxed and comfortable. It is a very important decision that mother's should make after doing lots of research.

    July 29, 2010 at 22:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Bonnie

    I have NEVER, EVER, heard of a baby being born in a taxicab or a family's car that wasn't "just fine" after the delivery. Many years ago, I assisted at a home birth where the midwife was a friend of mine. The birth was uneventful, mom, dad, and baby did fine. However, I would not recommend home birth without doing a lot of study and research, and finding a midwife you can trust and rely on. Some women should not attempt a home birth, but I would guess that 85% could do it if they were supported by their families.

    July 29, 2010 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Renee

    Having a home birth is not dangerous, it is natural. C-sections are dangerous. Dr's hate to think that what they do can be done by anyone. And they love control, proven by the alarming rates of c-sections in our country. A c-section should NEVER EVER be a choice for pregnancy, even twin pregnancies. I had two medical births and 2 non-medical and it is amazing how uneventful and how much better the non-medical births were for both me and my children. The notion of a home birth being dangerous is pure rubbish

    July 29, 2010 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BeachMama

      So, a woman has a right to choose the birth that she believes is best, unless it's a C-section, which you, in your infinite mdeical knowledge, disagree with?


      July 30, 2010 at 09:22 | Report abuse |
    • BeachMama

      So, a woman has a right to choose the birth that she believes is best, unless it's a C-section, which you, in your infinite medical knowledge, disagree with?


      July 30, 2010 at 09:23 | Report abuse |
    • Momo

      You are a moron. So, if c-section is NEVER a choice, when my water broke 3 months early and ultrasound showed that my baby was in severe distress, I shouldn't have gotten that c-section 30 minutes later? I should have just let her die of the infection that she had, inside of me? C-sections can save lives. They are not all unnecessary.

      Anyways, what most of the commenters are failing to realize is that this study is done looking at thousands of births, not just the ancedotes you hear here (including mine). And what they found in the statistics is that even though home births PRE-SCREEN out the high-risk groups (which hospitals can't do), they stil had double the risk for mortality.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:03 | Report abuse |
  30. Juliane

    What frightens me more than anything are those women who choose an unassisted home birth..completely irresponsible. Home birth was not for me (although the second one almost was on accident-LOL). I had a great midwife in a hospital setting; it was the best of both worlds 🙂 I agree that typical OB's are quick with the pitocin and C-sections; it's almost like they don't want women to attempt to give birth at all, which is scary.

    July 29, 2010 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Sandy

    In every institution in every walk of life there are always irreputable and thoughtless people. But to say that the majority of problems a woman has giving birth is due to hospital care, meds given, induction, etc., is irresponsible and simply untrue. A woman has the right to choose where she wants to give birth but it is still taking a chance that everything will go smoothly for the baby and nothing will go wrong. I'm 66 and have three children in hospitals, all with positive results and caring personnel. In the case of my daughter, if she had not been in a hospital for the birth of her child, both would have died. If she would have had to wait for an ambulance the baby might have had at the very least brain damage and she would have bled to death. Just the other day in our city a woman wanting a "natural" birth began to have problems with the cord wrapped around the baby's neck (which has been mentioned here as a common occurrence, really??) and only by the EMT's arrival avoided oxygen-deprived injury. The word here is safety for the baby, not participation in the latest fad or recommendation from a ladies' magazine article.

    July 29, 2010 at 23:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aviekins

      yes, a nuchal cord (cord around the neck) is fairly common. i would estimate – and of course it varies like anything else – up to 1 in 4 babies is born with a cord either loosely or not so loosely looped around the neck.

      studies have shown that low-intervention care is directly related with better outcomes; the more interventions (pitocin, inductions, continuous fetal monitoring) that are introduced during labor, the more likely of adverse outcomes (failure to progress, fetal distress, need for operative delivery). When the uterus is overworked – whether as a result of a prolonged naturally occurring labor or due to a prolonged induction/augmentation with pitocin – there is a greatly increased risk of heavy blood loss. These are accurate, fact-based statements, not just thoughts that I'm tossing off the top of my head because I'm passionate about this topic.

      Every couple has to make their own decision, based on their own information gathering, judgement, and values, over whether they will give birth. Numerous studies have shown that hospitals, birth centers, and homes can all be safe and equally good choices to do this (for low-risk women).

      I work on a small L&D unit and I am proud to say that we have a wonderful unit – we have great nurses, our doctors are wonderful, and we provide supportive, one-on-one care for our labor patients. That is not the case everywhere, and even if it was – it's still not home, which is what some women want. I've given birth on my unit twice and was taken care of wonderfully; will I do that next time? I don't know. On the other hand, I have seen a doctor nick a patient's umbilical artery during an "emergency" c-section (after a prolonged non-medically-indicated induction with pitocin), causing a huge blood loss leading to several blood transfusions and an ICU stay, with mom going home anemic and using a catheter due to damage to her bladder. Would that have happened had she been planning a home delivery? Maybe, maybe not. The point is – birth can be messy, and that's normal. 99% of the time, things turn out okay. As players in the game, we all need to become informed, educated partners with our caregivers – not simply another "patient".

      July 29, 2010 at 23:49 | Report abuse |
  32. David Watts Jr.

    I find this statement pathetically ironic – that women "do not have the right to put their babies at risk." Wait, on one hand she can abort her baby before it is born – obviously putting "her baby at risk" – but she can't choose to have the baby at home because it will "put the baby at risk." Pathetic.

    July 29, 2010 at 23:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Dad of 4

    HA! The only thing a home birth in the US does is keep your money out of their pockets. When they can explain why the US ranks 37th in world on infant mortality, I will listen to them and to you. GO MIDWIVES! GO HOME BIRTHERS! (makes you wonder how ANYONE of the 10 BILLION humans ever survived being born before 1860.

    July 29, 2010 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anna

      How about the fact that millions and millions of women don't have health insurance? Or how about our huge numbers of morbid obesity? European countries have universal free healthcare and excellent prenatal care for ALL women. Their rates of obesity and thus preeclampsia and diabetes are exceedingly less common than those in the US.

      Studies show women living in poorer areas in the US have a much greater risk of having complications and dying during childbirth because they don't get the proper neonatal care.

      July 31, 2010 at 01:46 | Report abuse |
  34. Rozz

    I had my daughter at home in 1985. It was the best experience of all my births because I was happy and "at home". I had my midwife, trained on The Farm, and my best girlfriends. It was perfect. And I would do it again. My boys were delivered naturally, with no drugs, but in birthing rooms at hospitals. I had to fight to do something I understood well and did well. Pregnancy is not a disease, and giving birth is not surgery. My spiritual guide was by Ina May Gaskin, Spiritual Midwifery – I recommend it to anyone. Incredibly book/birth bible. She is one of my real life heros. Only the western world insists on pregancy that is inconvenient; to which women fight to be attuned; and, considered a miracle if you survive. Relax. Be in tune with your body. And, accept that you have no control anyway.

    July 29, 2010 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. ATL CNM

    CNN, this article is so disappointing. Its extreme brevity and completely inadequate exploration of the topic of homebirth in the US will only fuel the misinformation already out there. Meanwhile, the US's overmedicalized system continues to spend twice as much on maternity care as other developed countries, while ranking embarrassingly low for our relatively higher rates of neonatal mortality (33rd) and maternal mortality (27th)– see the Unicef and CDC sites. And while the causes of our poor rankings are multifactorial and complex (and can not be boiled down to just the place of delivery), it may be of interest to know that many of the highest ranking countries have institutionalized homebirth for healthy women and babies for a significant proportion of the population. Having attended over 1,000 births, I would argue that the priority for almost all moms is safety for themselves AND for their babies– interests are not competing when a properly informed family takes into account the risks and benefits associated with ALL medical procedures. Your article does little justice to the referenced article, and it certainly does not do justice to growing families, who will need to read the reader comments if they want any real, useful information.

    July 29, 2010 at 23:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aviekins

      where did the "like" buttons go?

      July 29, 2010 at 23:50 | Report abuse |
  36. Danny Doel

    This seems like a well-placed ad to me. And it would not surprise me in the slightest if CNN did something like this either!

    July 29, 2010 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Eiolg

    If a woman can find a doctor/midwife who practices in a birthing center that is woman centered and who helps point motivated women in the direction of getting lots of information and support during the pregnancy, than I would think you could have the best of both worlds: A more relaxed atmosphere, but the hospital's operating room just down the hall. Unfortunately, these days, a woman gets the ultra sound done at the first or second prenatal visit and the whole thing becomes medically managed right from the start. Then in the hospital, they strap on the monitor, so the woman feels forced to lie in one position, rather than moving or even walking around, which can help the progression. One thing leads to another and many women don't know enough or have enough moxie to say STOP, let me just progress naturally.

    July 29, 2010 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ATL CNM

      The "If" at the beginning of your comment is the crux of the whole issue for so many families.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:55 | Report abuse |
    • Chris Goodson

      Very true comments. The nearest birthing center to us was nearly 3 hours away and, as such, was not an option.

      July 30, 2010 at 01:08 | Report abuse |
  38. Gary

    Just have a healthy baby. Nobody gives a damn about your "birthing experience" just as no one but you really gave a damn about your princess wedding. Home births go fine in the great majority of cases, but if it doubles the risk of death to your child, why take the risk? If these supermoms knew the car seat they buckled their kids into doubled their risk of death in the unlikely event of a car accident, would they put them at that risk?

    July 29, 2010 at 23:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aviekins

      the fact is, this study is flawed. the articles analyzed were either old or flawed themselves, allowing the researches to skew the results to their benefit. also, please understand, the study referenced isn't giving any absolute risk numbers. will 1 in 4 babies born at home die (compared to 1 in 8 in the hospital?) or is it 1 in 5,000,000, compared to 1 in 10,000,000? saying it's doubled sounds great, but doesn't hold a lot of weight with me at this point.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:54 | Report abuse |
    • ATL CNM

      So many of the women/families who choose to deliver at home with a knowledgeable, experienced attendant do so because they are well-informed. They are making the choice to enhance their own safety and to optimize their outcomes (survival, avoidance of unnecessary medication and/or surgery, breastfeeding, etc.), not to just have a nice experience.

      July 29, 2010 at 23:59 | Report abuse |
    • J

      And nobody gives a damn about your opinion either, so why are you bothering to leave it? Your opinions are uninformed and you denigrate those who have actually done their research and made informed decisions. How is your contribution helpful?

      July 30, 2010 at 01:36 | Report abuse |
  39. cathyrose

    somewhere down the line people have made women feel like less of a mother for the way she gave birth, in a hosptial or at home.. someone is always saying she is wrong and a bad mother for her choices. women are made to feel bad because they got pain medication, "oh my god , you sh(tty mother, you got pain medication, how dare you". or even the mother that didn't get pain medication, they are looked at like freaks..

    babies should be brought into the world happy and calm and in a loving enviroment.. weather it be at home or in a hospital. it should be up to the mother..

    as for me I had my daughter in a hospital and a C-section and I would have it no other way... that is my choice and my right. ad if someone wants to have their child at home with no doctors and no meds. than tha is their choice and we should never make a mother feel bad for her choices..

    July 29, 2010 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Debola

      Totally agree with you. I had my daughter at hospital and would not change a thing. No matter what we mothers do we will be crucified....

      July 30, 2010 at 19:19 | Report abuse |
  40. JB

    Really?? Those are the only details you want to put in the article? Who funded the research? OBGYN's that have a financial interest in mothers giving birth in a hospital or midwives that perform home births? Or a combination of both? What was the sample size? Who was included in the sample? High risk pregnancies? What it a combination of high and low income mothers? Why did these mothers choose to have home births? Where all the midwives that performed home births properly qualified? What were the limitations of the study? CNN, if you're going to write a health article, write one worth reading that has some basic facts.

    July 29, 2010 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Laura

    My sister is a certified midwife and she does not accept high risk pregnancies. Out of the >200 births she has performed, she has had no deaths and has only transported 3 mothers to the hospital for complications that occured. The other 197 births were delivered successfully. There have been some that had cords wrapped around their neck but she unwraps them and if they need assistance breathing when they are delivered, she has the equipment and the skill to get them to breathe. Home births are perfectly safe if you have the competent midwifes and are informed on births. Hospitals would be safer if they allowed you to deliver naturally with no interventions but that is rarely done. Most interventions cause problems like they mentioned above. Stay safe! Have your baby at home, if your low risk!

    July 29, 2010 at 23:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Greatful

    Choice is certainly something we take for granted here in America. My mom gave birth 8 times in one of those 3rd world countries mentioned in previous posts. She tells us that each time, she felt she must be willing to trade her life to bring one of us into the world. That she accepted that death was a very real possibility. There were no Drs or hospitals. I had my daughter almost 5 years ago. If I were my mom, my daughter and I would both not be here. I had pre-eclampsia at 7 months. She was breached when I was induced at 8 months due to extremely high blood pressure and my kidneys started ti fail. We would not have made it to full term. Each time I look at my beautiful daughter, I am thankful for the Drs for our lives. This discussion is a none issue in most parts of the world because there are no hospitals and no doctors.

    July 29, 2010 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Joanne

    I can't believe the headline on this article. This is another attempt at scaring women into thinking they shouldn't have control over their own health. Birth at home for normal healthy pregnancies is much safer than a hospital. A hospital is for sick people. Why would you want to bring a perfectly healthy baby into an environment full of germs and viruses? Birthing at a hospital increases your risk for a c-section because of unnecessary interventions like pitocin if you aren't progressing on schedule. Also, the maternal mortality rate went way up when women started birthing at hospitals because of poor hygiene practices. Midwives are the way to go. I had both of my children at home and it was an amazing empowering experience. Every woman deserves to feel the miracle of birth in a safe supportive environment like her own home. I support home birth 100%!

    July 29, 2010 at 23:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cheryl

      Must be nice to be perfect.

      July 30, 2010 at 00:03 | Report abuse |
  44. Cheryl

    Home birthing is the most SELFISH thing that a mother can do- put her needs above baby. I always hear "I want my birth experience to be like..." but if your baby could talk he would say "I would like to live through the birth and if I have complications I'd like to be helped by medical professionals."

    July 30, 2010 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ATL CNM

      Now you've got me going... Did you know that cesarean delivery is associated with childhood asthma, poor breastfeeding, and breathing problems after delivery? Did you know that our cesarean rate is more than 1 in 3? And that the World Health Organization recommends a rate no higher than 10-15% (or else more harm is being done than good)? As a "medical professional" who catches babies in the hospital (and knows how great and how tough that experience can be), I just think that we really need to use some discretion with our interventions. Medical intervention does not always equal safety or a better outcome.

      July 30, 2010 at 00:09 | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      Cheryl- I think you need to research your information before making claims like that! Homebirth is selfless & most women that choose it, choose it for the betterment of their baby & not bc they just feel like "suffering" through the pain of childbirth. Statements like that are spoken from someone who obviously has not done ample research on the subject nor talked with a midwife, nor witnessed a homebirth or sought any insight from any other than one side.

      July 30, 2010 at 00:13 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Wow. Newsflash Cheryl hospitals aren't perfect. I had my first son at the hosptial and he had complications from an unnecessary c-section. We had our second son at home with a midwife. Perfectly healthy.

      July 30, 2010 at 13:49 | Report abuse |
    • Marge

      Wow! Just wish to share my story. Our firstborn son was born 7 1/2 weeks early by emergency C-section. I had spent most of the pregnancy from 3 months in bed due to placenta previa so I knew I was having a C-section. The morning of his birth I had placenta abruptio and ended up having him early and then our nightmare began. They life flighted him to a neo-natal unit after doing all kinds of tests and x-rays of his lungs and they gave him antibiotics to prevent him from getting anything?! He was tested and poked and prodded and x-rayed over and over...we know because we got to pay for all the charges...no insurance. Why would they need to x-ray the little guys lungs 6 times in 5 days? He is now 26 and still suffers from the effects of the "wonderful interventions"
      14 months later we gave birth to a healthy, VBAC home born daughter.I was in labor for 33 hours, 12 of which were hard labor. Our midwife was wonderful and encouraging and our baby was born healthy. She slept all night at 3 days old.
      3rd child, a son, was born after 1 hour and 15 minutes of labor at home with the same skilled , prepared midwife. 8 years later, at age 36, I gave birth to our daughter again with the same beloved midwife assisting. We moved to a different state when she was 2 years old. 5 years later, at 41, I gave birth to our 5th child with a new midwife and mixed feelings of longing for our dear midwife. The new midwife was very competent and well prepared. This baby was presented breach for a good portion of the pregnancy and then 2 months before his birth I was in a car accident. The impact caused the baby to turn. It also caused the cord to be wrapped around his neck 3 times. At birth our midwife was prepared and it was necessary to cut the cord to allow him to be born. He needed oxygen which the midwife was prepared to provide and today he is a healthy 8 year old. Midwives are skilled, trained , educated and responsible persons able to assist in a normal routine happening that we as woman were created to go through. We are not sick or unhealthy its just a natural process. When I am sick I will go to the DR not for a simple birth. As for selfish if we as parents don't educate ourselves and give our child the best possible start in life we can that would be selfish. But after our experience with the 1st child we did our research and made the right choices for our children and their well being.
      Our oldest son suffers from severe allergies to many kinds of antibiotics. When he gets sick they can't find anything to treat him because he has reactions. A simple sickness for most people often causes hospitalization for him. A small premature child with an undeveloped immune system and weak lungs given antibiotics to prevent him from getting anything.......that is a sad tragedy we were happy to avoid a repeat of.

      August 15, 2010 at 23:58 | Report abuse |
  45. Marla Dean

    I had one baby in the hospital, in 1977, and said never, never again! Drugs were pushed at me, and my husband and I were treated terribly. I could never rest while I was there, since my daughter was taken out of my arms an taken to the "kiddie concentration camp" (nursery) if I fell asleep. I did without sleep until I took her home.
    My next four children were all born at home. I trusted my midwife much, much more than any of the staff at the hospital. A good midwife will have a good back-up system in case of an emergency, and will have the training to recognize when she needs to transport to the hospital.
    I worked for her, and assisted at 35 homebirths. It was a privilege and a joy to be invited into people's homes to participate in such a beautiful event.
    I have been very saddened to see that the medical community has so thoroughly frightened a new generation of young mothers. So much of the awareness that we worked so hard for in those years seems to have been forgotten.
    I'm hoping that a new generation of mothers will become aware of natural childbirth and breastfeeding.

    July 30, 2010 at 00:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Julie

    Oh sure... & we made it to a world population of 6,697,254,041 (from 2008) because having your baby outside of the hospital is dangerous!?! That math just doesn't add up. We have only been delivering in the hospital for about 100 years... I don't think they can take THAT kind of credit. Seriously. Its more natural to squat on the side of the road to have a baby then it is to be hooked up to a million monitors at the hospital.

    Statistically (if you look at homebirth midwives stats & records & DORA) homebirth has LESS complications than hospital birth.... hmmm...

    July 30, 2010 at 00:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Louise in CA

    I've done it both ways, in a hospital, and three times at home. Home is by far the best choice, as far as I'm concerned. It's a comfortable, familiar setting, without the distractions and shift changes that occur at hospitals. At home, a woman doesn't have to be confined in medical beds, stirrups, gowns that are uncomfortable, around people she doesn't know and may not feel comfortable with, or have the chance of exposure to hospital germs, infections, and other disease causing situations. At home, a woman and her partner can choose who to have present, can move around and dress the way they want, don't have their baby yanked away by some masked nurse when the first thing a new mother needs to to hold and bond with her child, don't have doctors who they may or may not know on shift, and don't have to put up with the whole paranoid industrial medical mindset of "medical professionals." Of course doctors and hospitals don't want home births. How can they rack up their costs with "emergency" C-sections, (which don't need to be done except for the doctor's convenience,) or make those BMW payments with women choose to control their own birthing processes by opting for trained midwives? Having a baby in a warm, family setting is heads and shoulders a better, more spiritual experience than having a baby in a hospital setting. I don't believe the statistics, or the hype, about home births being less safe. It's propaganda aimed at scaring women into the hospitals. Do your own research, and make your own choices. Doctors aren't gods, despite what they may be taught to think in medical schools. Birth is a natural process, not a medical emergency, for most women.

    July 30, 2010 at 00:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Celeste

      me too! I totally agree!!

      July 30, 2010 at 00:18 | Report abuse |
  48. Celeste

    This is a total load of crap. Every "civilized" medical system relies heavily on the huge $$$ they bring in for hospital births.
    They're getting worried that home births with qualified midwives will eventually steal away all that revenue.
    So sad though, because making people afraid by giving horrible statistics and worse case scenarios is just wrong.
    Do the research yourself people. MIDWIVES & HOME BIRTHS ROCK!

    July 30, 2010 at 00:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. ATL CNM

    Recommended to those who think home birth is just for mom's kicks: Ricki Lake's "The Business of Being Born." It's the whole thing boiled down to a really well-made, informative documentary.

    July 30, 2010 at 00:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. John

    Of course they support hospital births, they still have their beach houses to pay for. It is unbelievable the unecessary procedures they do and it really raises the costs of having births dramatically.

    July 30, 2010 at 00:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ATL CNM

      These comments about docs are getting rough. My experience working with OBs has been generally very positive. However, OBs are trained to be surgeons and to take care of people with complications. Many never attend a non-medically interventive delivery during their training, and are not trained in the "art" of midwifery. For example, when the baby's heartbeat dips while mom is pushing, the OB may reach for a vacuum or forceps instead of helping the woman into a more physiologic position. And they never learn how to catch a baby while mom is squatting or on her hands and knees, even though these positions help the baby come out faster and more comfortably (for baby and mom). Also, MD schedules and business demands conflict with the amount of patience required if one is to allow a person to give birth without interventions. I know a lot of OBs who care about their patients and who work hard for what they earn. It would just make more sense to save most of the interventions for people with real complications– to be "patient-centered" instead of "provider-centered."

      July 30, 2010 at 00:29 | Report abuse |
    • Chris Goodson

      ATL is right on the money here. Our hospital had brand new beds that could be repositioned into squatting, leaning, holding on to a rail and who knows how many other positions. Our OB knew this and we had already talked to her about it and planned to use it. When delivery started, our OB stood there, already scrubbed and sterile and watched as the nurses fumbled with the bed trying to switch it to squatting mode. They had never done it. They were only used to mothers with epidurials. It took them 3 of the longest minutes I have ever endured and for a moment there I thought our OB was going to grab a scalpel and kill one of the nurses. I don't blame them though. The problem is that all the other doctors in our area and in many places are still in the "knock em out, drag em out," mindset.

      July 30, 2010 at 01:14 | Report abuse |
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