Has anyone been keeping up with the blog Pacing the Panic Room? The author Ryan Marshall recently wrote about his wife's at-home water birth, and I found it totally fascinating (you can check it out here).
I'll admit that I've never been much for the idea of at-home births. I've heard enough stories to know that even normal, healthy births often require emergency medical attention for some reason or another. Often the window of opportunity for that attention is mere minutes- meaning that even a quick car ride to the hospital could put off treatment long enough to put someone (mama or baby) in trouble. And while, yes, our great-grandmothers may have successfully given birth to 12 children at home, it's probably not a coincidence that their rates for infant mortality and birth complications were a lot higher.
That said, reading the Marshalls' birth story still has me intrigued at the idea. Maybe as our medical knowledge of birth and its risks increase (and as we develop medical technology that's easily transportable), safe home births will become a reality for more women. And being able to give birth in a comfortable, familiar environment versus a sterile hospital DOES sound a lot better.
I thought I'd open the floor up for discussion: what do you think of home births? How about the recent increase in birthing centers, which are designed to give the feel of a home while being close to medical help if needed? I'd love to hear opinions! Just remember to keep it nonjudgmental, we're all friends here :)
Personally, I feel like we still need more impartial, unbiased information. What's the risk of birth complication in a normal pregnancy? How about a pregnancy with slight complications? Will being at home increase any of those risks or decrease them? If the risk of complication is low assuming there is a midwife present, then maybe home birth is a viable option.