As a midwife providing home birth services, I hear this question frequently. It is my goal to provide families with the information they need in order to make the right decision for them-home birth is not for everyone, just like hospital birth is not for everyone! Ultimately, the choice of where to give birth and which care provider to use is the responsibility of the parents seeking such services, and it’s my desire to assist you by providing accurate information that can assist you in making this decision.
Since this question is one of the foundations of whether or not to pursue working with a midwife and planning towards a home birth, I thought it might be helpful to provide links and resources that may help you in determining the answer to this question. As always, I am happy to sit down and talk with anyone who wants to ask specific questions and discuss their options in person, but I know that many of you would like to gather some more detailed information before a formal meeting. Thanks to the availability of information via the internet, great books, educational videos and more, there are many resources that you can access to learn about the potential risks and potential benefits of midwifery care, and specifically the home birth option.
FILMS & DOCUMENTARIES:
- Why Not Home? The Surprising Birth Choices of Doctors and Nurses: This is THE current film on home birth and why some families make this choice…and this film in now available to watch online and/or be purchased for home viewing! From the description on the website: Why would doctors who attend birth in hospitals choose to have their own babies at home? What do they know about birth that others don’t? Join Jessicca Moore, filmmaker and nurse practitioner, on a compelling journey through maternity care in the United States. Told through the lens of doctors, nurses, and midwives, Why Not Home? examines the latest evidence on risks and rewards of different birth settings. The film presents a balanced and accessible view on the latest research, along with moving personal stories of medical practitioners faced with big decisions for their own growing families. Viewers are challenged to move beyond preconceived ideas, and to envision a fresh future for maternity care in America. Watch it here.
- The Business of Being Born: This film has been out for a number of years now, but it still contains some great information on birth choices, interventions, birth locations and more. You can watch it free on youtube here.
- Natural Born Babies: short video of several moms and dads describing what influenced them to make the choice to deliver at home. Watch here
- Midwives Alliance of North America’s large, recent study of planned homebirths: study of planned homebirths.
- Perspective on absolute risk for most low risk women.
- Breakdown of Study results for both hospital and out-of-hospital births, especially focusing on quality and competency of care provider, written by birth researcher Henci Goer: available here.
- Dispelling myths surrounding home birth.
- A doctor explains why she chose home birth-she has other articles on her site that are worth reading, too! Choosing Home Birth
- 9 Reasons Why Some Women Choose Hombirth
- Home Birth Safe for Low-Risk Women
- Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience by Rikki Lake & Abby Epstien. An easy-to-read overview of options available to moms, this book covers all the possibilities (hospital, home, OB/GYN, midwifery care, etc.) and why different options may work best for different situations and individuals.
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. Ina May began her career as a midwife back in the hippie movement of the 1970’s. Since then she has delivered thousands of babies, and has done extensive research in the field of natural birth, and she shares her wisdom in this book. She highlights the need to make a choice of birth location in which the mom feels totally comfortable, be that home, birth center or hospital. Great information about routine procedures, tests, and how to have a healthy pregnancy and wonderful birth experience.
- Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block. While not a very positive or light-reading style book, this one can really help you understand how medicalized maternity care has become in our country, and enables you to think through some of the routine policies and procedures that are in place in our countries hospitals. Very eye-opening and thought-provoking.
WHAT MIGHT IT LOOK LIKE?
And finally, some couples wonder about what a home birth might look like. What about “the mess”? How can it work at home, if we’ve only experienced the hospital setting? How do midwives adapt to different settings, positions and environments? How does the medical side of midwifery care happen in a home setting? These videos, pictures and personal stories can give you a glimpse of what home birth with a midwife looks like for some families:
- Birth Story and Photos: Augustine William
- Photos of a Homebirth in Philly: Baby Girl
- Video of Homebirth and Newborn exam: Baby Natalie
- Video of Homebirth with German Midwife: Baby Leah
- Video and Photos of Home Waterbirth: View Here
- Video of Home Waterbirth: Baby Lemma
- Waterbirth (this midwife is a friend of mine!) born at home
I’d love to hear from you-what helped you to determine whether home, birth center or hospital was the right location for your birth? What resources would you recommend to help other families make their decisions? Feel free to comment below, or send me an email with your suggestions. I love hearing from my readers!