In the early 1900’s and for years before then, almost every single birth that occurred happened inside the home and was the norm. Now a days it’s the opposite. In the late 1960’s that percent dropped down to only 1% of births happening at home instead of a hospital. The dramatic change in at home births is caused by the advance in technology and medicine this world has experienced since then. Women have so many choices when it comes to giving birth now. They can decide how they want to have the baby, and where. Birth can happen anywhere; at home, in a birthing center or in a hospital. It’s all up to the woman. A woman might want look into the risks and benefits of each before deciding which is for her.
Although home births are still very rare, we have seen an increase since 2004 and many woman today are looking into the idea of home births. A woman who is having a healthy pregnancy so far with no complications or worries, might look into home births, otherwise giving birth at home could be very dangerous if there isn’t a nurse or midwife present. Woman who have any heart problems or high blood pressure should consider other options as well. Even if the partner does not fully agree with the idea of home birth, this option may not be for her. Some of the perks or benefits of giving birth at home is obviously, that the woman can have anybody in the room with her during this time such as friends and family. This making the process much easier with many people to help give encouragement and emotional support as well as people around to help with anything the mother might need and the midwife might require help with. Another benefit is the immediate bonding and breastfeeding to the child. The sooner the mother is allowed to hold her child and breast feed him or her, the faster the child receives important antibodies it needs to fight off any disease. “Home birth can be significantly easier on your bank account. The average uncomplicated vaginal at home births costs 60% less then at hospital births” ( American Pregnancy Association).
Although at home births are the most natural way to have a baby, there are some risks. In a very large recent study investigators at New York Presbyterian Medical center reviewed data from about 13 million of 17 million births and found that babies who were born at home were ten times more likely to be still born and four times more likely to suffer from seizures and other neorlogical defects compared to the babies who were born in hospitals. Even though ten percent of all babies who were born still have survived, they have suffered many very major health problems. Most at home births do have a nurse or midwife available to deal with any unexpected situations during birth, many feel it is preferable to have a whole team of doctors and specialists ready and available for any situation at any given time.
Birthing centers are the second most natural way to give birth for those looking for natural birth options. Although some birthing centers are associated with and may even be located inside a hospital, birthing centers differ in the fact that they do not provide C- sections, or inducement with Oxytocin. This being considered a benefit to woman looking for natural ways to give birth. Another benefit of birthing centers are that although it may not look like a hospital and may very well be a house, there are always more nurses and a doctor on call for any complications that may arise so the woman can feel safer without having to give birth at home and deal with any repercussions. With birthing centers there is always that sense of control and safety without being hooked up to an IV and given medications. The baby will also benefit because he or she will not be taken away at any moment for medical examinations, everything happens in the room with the mother present. Cost also plays a factor in chosing a birthing home, because they will not use any medications on you and they do not keep you longer than need be, the cost is always cheaper than from hospital births.
The only real risk about Birthing centers is that if you are a high risk mother, meaning your pregnancy isn’t completely safe, your baby has a condition or you have a condition anything can happen. But every birthing center runs tests before they accept you anyway. So unless something wasn’t caught when they run the tests on you, your pretty safe. “You can start by calling a birth center and talking to one of the caregivers about your health history. They’ll ask you, for example, whether you have certain pre-existing medical problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes and if you’ve had a cesarean delivery or some other invasive uterine surgery.” (Baby Center)
As mentioned before, hospitals can be an option for those women who do not mind getting medication, being induced or having C sections. Or maybe for a woman who doesn’t think they can handle the pain without help from medications. Because natural birth and at home birth is not for every woman. The obvious benefits being that a woman may feel safer in a hospital setting. More doctors available and more specialists ready for anything can also be a benefit to some women. The feeling of being safe is the biggest benefit of a hospital birth.
But the risks can be medications that can interfere or cause more damage than help. Maybe some women prefer not to have a huge needle inserted in their spine and they’re child being vacuum extracted. “In their rush to prevent problems that aren’t happening, hospital personnel may aggressively push procedures and drugs that can actually cause problems. Pitocin can cause uterine contractions so strong that they stress the baby and cause fetal distress. IV narcotic drugs can affect an infant so strongly that he might not breathe at birth”(Pathways of Family Wellness).
So in conclusion, with so much knowledge around and so much technology and medicinal advancements, it is good to know what kind of birth a woman might like. Because it is up to the woman to choose what is in her and her child’s best interest and what may sound good to one woman may not sound to good to another. Every woman must educate herself and choose whats best for her.
“Home Birth.” American Pregnancy Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2014
“Birth Centers: Alternatives to Hospitals.” BabyCenter. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2014
Falcao, Ronnie. “Dangers of Hospital Births: Why Birthing in a Hospital Can Cause More Problem’s than It Solves.” Pathways to Family Wellness Magazine. N.p., 1 Sept. 2009. Web. 21 Jan. 2014.