Though only an estimated 1 percent to 2 percent of U.S. women deliver their babies — intentionally — outside of a hospital, home birth usually makes the national news a few times a year.
Yep, home birth. As in having a baby in your bedroom. Or living room, hallway, kitchen or the oft-popular bathroom. I welcomed two of my own babies at home births and have assisted at scores more — nearly 200, last I counted.
About a month ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement about infant care at home births, a statement that bothered some because it seemed to endorse having a baby in your bathroom as long as a person trained and experienced to help a neonate is there.
And, in our own state, direct-entry midwives were just granted permission — with guidelines — to facilitate home births legally in Indiana via Indiana House Bill 1135.2 That’s a big deal, by the way, as the DEMs have been working on having the law here changed for some 20 years. (Certified nurse-midwives — CNMs — have enjoyed “legal” status for some time.)
Here in your own local newspaper, IU Goshen Health’s Terry Neufeld wrote in the “Fit Families” column May 22 about home birth, noting that “Women and men of all socioeconomic, educational and professional backgrounds tend to have strong ideas about home birth vs. hospital birth.”
I appreciated Terry’s column, where she lays out some facts about how parents and health-care providers look at home birth. I thought I’d augment her words with my own.
As a home-birth person — meaning a proponent, a birthing mother, an attendant — I get a lot of questions. And criticism. Some people are openly hostile, as was one woman once when she barked at me that she would NEVER put her baby in such dire danger but not delivering at the hospital. Others are just curious, as I was at first: “Home birth? Wow. You can DO that? How does it work?”
To the hostile woman I was quiet. No point in trying to tell her I was, also, ensuring my babies’ safety; her mind was made up. To the curious people I have to be careful to not gush, to take it slowly and answer one question at a time. They may or may not listen.