birthing rights

Amy - posted on 03/10/2010 ( 22 moms have responded )

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I have a friend who is saying they are trying to pass legislation that will make a home birth ILLEGAL unless a doctor or midwife is present. Not sure if it is true or not. However, makes me think. Is this something that the medical community will try to push? Do we have the right to have our children at home - as women have for thousands of years? Or are we terrible parents for not insisting that a doctor be there "in case"? Do you want that right taken away?

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Amy - posted on 03/12/2010

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Let me see how I can word my feelings on this. I don't like this because they are trying to control how/where/when you have the baby because it's tied tightly with INSURANCE. From what I've heard it has to do with insurance. And lets face it, not everyone can afford the price that doctors charge - and make just enough money to not make medicaid. Also there are women who have had how many kids and know how to birth on their own. Yes, there could have been more deaths without our medical advancements, but by the same token, we take less time to educate ourselves on our bodies during pregnancies because we simply trust the doctor to tell us what to do. How many women have given birth laying down??? it is not a natural way to give birth and is for sole convenience of the doctor. Back to it being illegal. I do NOT want that right taken away. My second son took only 6 hours total. if my next one only is 3 hours total - my hospital is two hours away. maybe i'll make it, maybe i won't. i don't want to have to go through all kinds of legislation and possible mental exams to be able to have my child because i'm an "unfit mother who neglected medical attention". i think we're losing rights left and right with birthing and wouldn't doubt something like this would try to pass. I'll be right there trying to block it from going through. And some women know much more than others. Intelligence comes on many levels. I know intelligent women who know nothing about birthing, but can do calculus. Also know some backwoods women who can barely balance a checkbook but know everything there is about labor and have even birthed friends babies when they couldn't get to a doctor in time.

Carolee - posted on 03/11/2010

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While I will ALWAYS opt for the doctor and the hospital, I don't think there should be any type of law strictly prohibiting any woman for giving birth at home. One decision is not automatically "better" than the other. It's all about the mother's comfort level with giving birth. I'm personally not comfortable with it, so I wouldn't try to do it by myself. That doesn't mean that a woman who trusts that her body will do exactly what it's meant to do should be forced to do something that she's not comfortable with.



There are getting to be too many laws deciding what we can or cannot do with our own bodies. When are they going to stop?

Mary - posted on 03/11/2010

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Well, I think it would be awfully hard to legislate or prosecute...as Sara pointed out, women have babies at home (or in the car) who never wanted or planned to! I guess they would have to prove INTENT to birth without professional assistance (aka free-birthing). Not always an easy thing to do...and really, don't the courts have better, more important things to do?



Would the medical community "push" this? Most of the OB's and midwives I know would tell you that free-birthing is an insane risk to take with yourself and your baby, but would they go so far as to push for legislation against it? Probably not. While personally not in favor of free-birthing, I guess it is your "right" to do what you will....as long as you go into it knowing all of the potential complications, and are willing to FULLY take responsibility for the outcome (both good and bad).



Childbirth IS a natural process, and yes, women have been doing it for thousands of years. Just remember, DEATH is a natual process as well...and women and babies have been dying in childbirth for thousands of years as well.

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[deleted account]

I do not think it is a good idea to plan a home delivery w/out a doctor or midwife there, but to make it illegal.... How would they know if it were planned or just a too rapid labor? I have a friend who has delivered all 3 of his sons at home because his wife's labors are just that fast. Would they have been prosecuted?

Melissa - posted on 03/12/2010

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I don't know what I think about it. I had my son in a hospital. After 18 hours of labor I had a c-section. I am very thankful for the dr's. If I had not had the c-section, nor had the dr's around, my son, and possibly myself, would have died. I had a great pregnancy, all my check-ups were good. There was no for-sight of a c-section. If I had been home, with-out a dr, it would have been bad.

Jocelyn - posted on 03/12/2010

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I don't think they can ever make it illegal; there are too many women who have unplanned births at home. What happens to those women whose babies just came out too fast? Birthing at home is just as safe as a hospital (generally) but I personally wouldn't want to do it without a midwife present. Yes women have been having babies for thousands of year, but midwives have also been around for thousands of years. I think if you are PLANNING to give birth without any help, you better cross your fingers to god that nothing goes wrong.

Linnea - posted on 03/12/2010

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I think it's silly to make a law about it, but I also think it is silly/stupid to have a home birth without a nurse or midwife present. I just watched "The Business of Being Born" (it was nice to be able to play it instantly at netflix) and I suggest ALL of you should watch it! It is very interesting - every woman thinking about having a baby should watch it.

Alison - posted on 03/12/2010

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Gotta wonder what the premice is on this one. Are there cases of parents endangering the lives of their children by making this choice? I think it is only wise to TRY to have a specialist present. There is nothing natural about going it alone in childbirth. That is why midwives exist.

Kate CP - posted on 03/12/2010

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No, Anita, home births are not dangerous. Birthing without an experienced medical professional is dangerous. But there is nothing wrong with giving birth at home or in a birth center as long as you have a CNM or doctor present to help in case something goes wrong.

Johnny - posted on 03/11/2010

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Home births are just as safe as hospital births (in some cases more so) as long as they are attended by trained, certified midwives or OB's. Where I live, home birth with a midwife or OB is becoming increasingly common and is supported by our medical system, government, and doctors. This is an abstract from research done by physicians from our university into how this change was affecting mothers and children. This study was conducted 10 years ago, and our home birth rates have risen significantly and successfully since that time.


Outcomes of planned home births versus planned hospital births after regulation of midwifery in British Columbia

Patricia A. Janssen*, Shoo K. Lee*, Elizabeth M. Ryan, Duncan J. Etches, Duncan F. Farquharson, Donlim Peacock and Michael C. Klein

From *the Centre for Community Health and Health Evaluation Research, BC Research Institute for Children's and Women's Health; the Department of Midwifery, Children's and Women's Health Centre of British Columbia; and the Departments of Family Practice, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC


Background: The choice to give birth at home with a regulated midwife in attendance became available to expectant women in British Columbia in 1998. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety of home birth by comparing perinatal outcomes for planned home births attended by regulated midwives with those for planned hospital births.

Methods: We compared the outcomes of 862 planned home births attended by midwives with those of planned hospital births attended by either midwives (n = 571) or physicians (n = 743). Comparison subjects who were similar in their obstetric risk status were selected from hospitals in which the midwives who were conducting the home births had hospital privileges. Our study population included all home births that occurred between Jan. 1, 1998, and Dec. 31, 1999.

Results: Women who gave birth at home attended by a midwife had fewer procedures during labour compared with women who gave birth in hospital attended by a physician. After adjustment for maternal age, lone parent status, income quintile, use of any versus no substances and parity, women in the home birth group were less likely to have epidural analgesia (odds ratio 0.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.14–0.27), be induced, have their labours augmented with oxytocin or prostaglandins, or have an episiotomy. Comparison of home births with hospital births attended by a midwife showed very similar and equally significant differences. The adjusted odds ratio for cesarean section in the home birth group compared with physician-attended hospital births was 0.3 (95% CI 0.22–0.43). Rates of perinatal mortality, 5-minute Apgar scores, meconium aspiration syndrome or need for transfer to a different hospital for specialized newborn care were very similar for the home birth group and for births in hospital attended by a physician. The adjusted odds ratio for Apgar scores lower than 7 at 5 minutes in the home birth group compared with physician-attended hospital births was 0.84 (95% CI 0.32–2.19).

Interpretation: There was no increased maternal or neonatal risk associated with planned home birth under the care of a regulated midwife. The rates of some adverse outcomes were too low for us to draw statistical comparisons, and ongoing evaluation of home birth is warranted.

Anita - posted on 03/11/2010

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If you hemorrhage, have difficulties, or the baby has difficulties, most people don't know what to do. Most Americans can only read at a 7th grade level and we want to trust them to give birth at home, unassisted?! I don't think home births should be allowed, period. They're dangerous. And if you want to consult history...look at how many less newborn/infant/childhood deaths we have now. We have technology and facilities, let's be intelligent and use them!

Sarah - posted on 03/11/2010

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While I agree that I would want a doctor with me and personally want to do it in a hospital, I don't see how making it illegal would really change anything. As people have already said, what about the women who accidentally give birth at home or in the car or where ever, not because of any desire to do so but simply because it happens? How could anyone prove it was anything but an accident? Even just because someone hasn't gone to a doctor during pregnancy or set up an appointment doesn't mean she wasn't planning on going to the ER when the time came. I just don't see how it would be possible to persecute without also persecuting the women who's babies just come to fast and before they expect! I mean honestly, how would it work? And while we can't imagine giving birth without a doctor, who are we to judge another woman? Would we want to be judged for having to have c-section or getting an epidural or any other thing that we as women get to make decisions about for our birthing process? Just my opinion...

Rosie - posted on 03/11/2010

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i think it should be illegal for a woman to plan a birth at home without a dr. or midwife. it doesn't make any sense to me why someone wouldn't want one there. i find it irresponsible to purposely have a child at home without a dr.

Jackie - posted on 03/11/2010

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I have to agree that a medical professional needs to be present...even if they don't participate I still think they need to be physically present. As stated above, too much can go wrong too fast. Yes women and children have died in childbirth for thousands of years..... And now its the 21st century and many of those deaths are completely needless...so I dont' agree that just because it happened 2000 years ago that it's ok to happen now, even though there's no reason for it.

Belinda - posted on 03/11/2010

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"Childbirth IS a natural process, and yes, women have been doing it for thousands of years. Just remember, DEATH is a natual process as well...and women and babies have been dying in childbirth for thousands of years as well."

Exactly.

[deleted account]

I think it's fine to have a homebirth with a midwife or doctor present. I was meant to be having one with my son Logan but was advised not to as I was upped from a low-risk to a high-risk pregnancy due to his small size (I had to have growth scans) and my low volume of amniotic fluid. I hope to have my next child at home but wouldn't even consider doing it without a midwife present. Yes some people have a baby by mistake before they can get to the hospital or before the midwife arrives but in my opinion people who have a home birth without a medical professional there are just plain stupid and are obviously not concerned about risking the life of their baby or themselves.

[deleted account]

I have a family friend who gave birth at home because she did not have medical insurance, and she refused to apply for Medicaid for her, or her new baby. Everything turned out fine, but I do believe the baby has yet to be seen by a doctor, several months later now, all because of money. She did not like what I had to say about the situation, nor does she listen to any advice about having her baby seen by a doctor. Her response is always the same, "doctors were not around when baby Jesus was born." So, I personally have had 2 emergency c-sections, & my babies would not be around w/o medical intervention, but I do believe any prosecutor who would go after a new mommy for giving birth at home, would not be around to see a next term!

Kate CP - posted on 03/10/2010

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In most places it is illegal to birth at home unless a CNM or a licensed doctor is present. I think it's a great idea to keep that law. I think women who birth at home without a CNM or doctor present are morons (obviously if it happens by accident it's another case entirely). Women have every right to birth at home (wish I could but I'm too high-risk) but with a professional who knows what they're doing. Too many things can go wrong so fast...yes, I think this legislation is a damn good idea.

Brandi - posted on 03/10/2010

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Hmm...I'm torn on this. I think homebirths are fine, but it would be insane to me to not have a doctor or midwife or at the very least a nurse present.

Melissa - posted on 03/10/2010

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I agree with Shannon, i couldn't imagine not having a midwife or doctor present. Im not opposed to having a home birth but i do think there should be a doc or midwife there. Why would anyone want to give birth at home without a doctor there? You'd end up needing to go to hospital anyway. I think its rediculous they would make a law against it. Is there that many women who give birth without a doc or midwife?

[deleted account]

So what happens if a baby comes too fast to get to the hospital and you have the baby at home by accident?

[deleted account]

I do not believe it should ever be "illegal". I would highly recommend having a doctor/midwife present in case of emergency, though.

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