A topic that often closely follows a mention of homebirth is that of safety. Women often say that they would like to have a homebirth, but decided on the hospital for "safety reasons." As we are well aware, ACOG also feels that all women should birth in the hospital for safety. And, as I've posted about several times previously, there is the insidious claim that to birth at home is to place the experience of giving birth over having a healthy baby. So, I was very interested to read a recent study about the reasons why women stay home to birth. Co-authored by a blogger that many people are familiar with, Rixa Freeze, the article was published in the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health this month. One of the most common reasons given to birth at home was "safety" (the three other most common reasons were "intervention free," "negative previous hospital experience," and "control"). While obviously the study did not address physical outcomes, it backs up what I have always believed which is that women who choose homebirth are NOT choosing to do so because they value a "birth experience" over a "healthy baby."
Speaking of healthy mother, healthy baby, I shared a quote in another blog recently that I'd like to also share here. From the Winter 2008 issue of Midwifery Today:
"Although the popularly desired outcome is 'Healthy mother, healthy baby,' I think there is room in that equation for 'Happy, non-traumatized, empowered and elated mother and baby.'"
This is the equation that midwives and mothers who birth at home have figured out!