Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What OBGYNs overseas have to say about homebirth...

I was interested to learn from the Women in Charge blog that ACOG isn't the only organization of OBGYNs to have an opinion about homebirth. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists also has a statement about Home Births (a joint statement issued with the Royal College of Midwives, which tells you something right there!) which stands in dramatic contrast to the ACOG press release officially opposing homebirth.

Some interesting stuff from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists:

"There is no reason why home birth should not be offered to women at low risk of complications and it may confer considerable benefits for them and their families. There is ample evidence showing that labouring at home increases a woman's likelihood of a birth that is both satisfying and safe, with implications for her health and that of her baby."

Safe and satisfying. No kidding!

In a later bullet point:

"However, this is not to define safety in its narrow interpretation as physical safety only but also to acknowledge and encompass issues surrounding emotional and psychological wellbeing. Birth for a woman is a rite of passage and a family life event, as well as being the start of a lifelong relationship with her baby. Home births will not be the choice for every woman."

Rite of passage and a family life event. It is great to see this acknowledged as legitimate instead of dismissed as "trendy" by the ACOG statement.

And one more quote:

"Overall, the literature shows that women have less pain at home and use less pharmacological pain relief, have lower levels of intervention, more autonomy and increased satisfaction.1,12,18–20. The studied interventions included induction, augmentation, perineal trauma and episiotomy, instrumental delivery and caesarean section. These are not insignificant interventions and may have considerable impact on a woman’s long-term health and emergent relationship with her baby, as well as her satisfaction with her birth experience."

These are NOT insignificant interventions. This is also nice to see acknowledged. Too often women who have high-intervention births and express dismay about that are silenced by comments like, "well, at least you have a healthy baby. That's what is really important." It is most certainly possible to be happy and delighted with your healthy baby and simultaneously and legitimately grieve the loss of your birth experience or object to unnecessary and harmful interventions received.

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