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Just one reason I’m planning a home birth

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Most of you know that we have decided to have a home birth for Baby Girl and I’ve received a lot of positive feedback regarding our decision. I was honestly quite surprised by that — so yay for support!

Anyway, I also know that there are others who feel I am being irresponsible, selfish, and ridiculous for chosing a home birth. And I understand that I may sometimes come off as anti-doctor and anti-hospital.

First of all, I am not anti-hospital nor am I anti-doctor. I am, however, anti-unnecessary intervention. And in the birth world, unnecessary intervention is rampant in hospitals.

One of those interventions is induction. Want to talk selfishness? How about women opting to induce early because they are uncomfortable and “over” being pregnant? Now, it’d be easy for me to call these women selfish and I admit to having feelings of anger sometimes, but then I remind myself that these women are actually just uninformed. If your doctor tells you it’s safe, your going to believe him. So I ultimately hold no judgement against these women. Instead, I’m just sad.

But wait, am I implying that doctors are wrong? That it isn’t safe? Yes. I am. And they’ved admitted it and are trying to revise rules since discovering their mistake.

In the November issue of Parents Magazine, there is an article that addresses the issue of early induction called “worth the wait”. This quote in particular really upset me:

Most physicians believed that major organ development was complete by 37 weeks and that babies simply packed on pounds during the last stretch of pregnancy. The latest research, however, has proven them wrong. “We now know that important organs such as lungs and the brain are not fully developed until 39 weeks.”

It goes on to say that babies born by c-section before 39 weeks have more breathing issues, babies born electively at 37 weeks are 4 times more likely to end up in NICU, and ones born electively at 38 weeks are twice as likely to have complications than babies born at 39 weeks or later.

So all this time that doctors have been allowing inductions and scheduled c-cections at 37 or 38 weeks and telling their patients that is perfectly safe were wrong. Hugely wrong. Putting newborn babies at risk – wrong. This is not ok.

This is one of the reasons I have elected to have a home birth. I, quite frankly, don’t trust that everything doctors have been taught about birth is actually true. These doctors who were putting babies’ lives at risk by allowing early induction weren’t acting maliciously or knowingly putting babies in danger. They were acting based off what they were taught – what they learned in med-school. But it doesn’t change the fact that lives were put at risk.

What else are they wrong about that hasn’t been discovered?

Since the above discoveries have been made, “a growing number of American hospitals are launching programs to help prevent elective deliveries before 39 weeks of gestation.”

Um. Why 39 weeks? Why allow elective deliveries at all? So now they think babies are fully developed at 39 weeks? What if they’re wrong? They were wrong last time. Who are they to say that a baby is fully developed until the mother naturally goes into labor? Not to mention, due dates are estimations, so what if a woman’s due date estimation is off by a week and at 39 weeks, she’s really 38 weeks along?

I just don’t get it. Birth is one of the most natural things in the world and we have to go and complicate it and turn it into a science and billion dollar business. A baby is full term when mom goes into labor. It really is that simple.

Also, artificially starting labor increases the chance of c-section by 50%. FIFTY PERCENT! Are you kidding me! Why in the world would any women opt to induce early knowing that her odds of c-section go up by 50%? My guess is they don’t know. Doctors don’t tell them. And the cynical part of me thinks doctors don’t inform their patients because a c-section is better for their wallet. Especially if that mom gets pregnant again and thus “has to” have another c-section (also false).

Interesting related story – my friend delivered her first child at 42 weeks (at home). Most OBs would’ve forced her to induce before getting to that point. Her beautiful baby girl was healthy and… barely 6 pounds! Can you imagine if my friend had opted for eary induction at 39 weeks? Remember, 39 weeks is the new “ok”. At 39 weeks, this baby girl would’ve been sooooo tiny and technically 3 weeks early based on when she was naturally born. She would’ve likely ended up in NICU due to not quite being ready to enter our world.

I can go on and on about this, so i’ll just stop. Maybe I’ll write another post on my thoughts of pitocin, another thing that doctors believe is safe for babies… what if they’re wrong?

I want to end by saying that I do understand that medical intervention is necessary at times, and for those times, I am extremely thankful for doctors and their expertise. I also hold no judgement against women who chose to deliver at a hospital. I do, however, urge all women to do their research so they can be in control and confident in what their desires are for their birth experience. I understand why it would be scary to have a baby at home, and if this was my first child, I’d probably be opting for a hospital because of that fear. But knowledge is power, and for something as huge as giving birth to a child, every pregnant woman should be completely informed. A great place to start is to watch the documentary called “The Business of Being Born”. It’s available on Netflix.

Ok, really, I’m done now.

  • Mom

    I’m very proud of you, Leanna, and all the love and thought you put into your children, for your children, from the very start. It is beautiful.

  • Grampsy

    I am the first to scrutinize the decision for home birth instead of going to a hospital. But, after reading this, I realize that you are not simply trying to go against the grain. You have obviously made a wise decision for yourself and your baby based on research and sound judgement. You’re a really good mother Leanna and that gives me a great deal of comfort.

  • Fudge

    Amen. My baby’s home birth was beautiful. My wife a true hero and we would not choose a different way for any of the future children The Lord may bless us with. Stay strong! And we’ll be praying for you.

  • B

    Ha! You and I should be birth advocates… we would be LOUD!

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