Home Births on the Rise

Interested in home birth, hospital birth or private midwifery care? Questions or comments? Email Melissa Maimann or call 0400 418 448. Link

After having her first child in a hospital, Lorra Jacobs decided it was an experience she did not care to repeat. She had two more children, and she chose to have both of them at home.

"When I had my first child in the hospital … It wasn't a real positive experience," … "It was a stark, very impersonal feeling, treating me like I was sick and not pregnant."

Jacobs explained she believed she had more control over many aspects of the birth when it took place at home, including whether she got to be with the baby after delivery and having the siblings there at the birth.

"Doing a home birth, I felt like I had a say," said Jacobs. "This is not the hospital's baby. This is my baby."

… the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that a very small but slightly growing number of women are making the same choice that Jacobs did. While less than 1 percent of all births in the United States take place outside the hospital, the number of those births taking place at home has increased by 3.5 percent between 2003-04 and 2005-06 … … the most recent trend might be a negative reaction to a hospital birth experience, since the majority of mothers choosing a home birth have had children before.

… "It certainly suggests it's an experience they don't want to repeat."

"I suspect that economic issues are not the main issues," … "I suspect consumers are becoming more informed … and seeing home births are a safe alternative for healthy women with a qualified provider."

… a likely cause of any increase is a desire to avoid the interventions hospitals perform, ranging from cesarean sections and epidurals to controlling when the mother is with the newborn. … Home birth advocates have cited several studies supporting the safety of home births among low-risk women …those studies have taken place in the Netherlands and Canada … its unrealistic to apply the findings to the United States. "Those are highly regulated, highly integrated systems. Their system is prearranged -- it's very different from the systems available in the United States," he said.

The same can be said for the generalisability of these studies to Australia, however that is no reason not to implement a system that can provide safe private homebirth services.

… "The mothers who are having these home births are not crazy, unaware people," said Declercq. "They plan carefully, they think about this all the time. They think they're better off not having the interventions that they feel will happen unnecessarily at hospitals."

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448