“challenge the assumption that the safest place to give birth is in a
hospital and that homebirth can be dangerous.”
Indeed, generally speaking women feel safe when not put into a strange environment, and a strong case can be made that women birthing at home or in a home like setting such as a free standing birth center are in fact safer. They are not faced with the possibility of staph infections too often found in hospitals which deal with the sick. They are not disturbed by unfamiliar hospital staff and procedures, and this is a more important point than many people realize. When a woman feels safer, her hormones are very capable of moving her labor along. Here’s why.
When a laboring woman is exposed to bright lights, unnecessary activities and strangers performing intimate exams, her release of both oxytocin and endorphins are inhibited by the overproduction of stress hormones. This slows her progress and intensifies her feelings of pain. It is not uncommon for a woman’s contractions to slow down when she arrives at the hospital. When contractions slow down or if it is decided they aren’t moving quickly enough, it is often decided to augment the labor with pitocin, a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin.
Pitocin has been associated with poor fetal heart rates, possibly due to the strength and frequency of the contractions it causes. This apparent stress on the baby often leads to a c-section. Furthermore, the intensity of pitocin-induced contractions leaves the majority of women seeking an epidural. Epidurals are associated with maternal fever, and poor fetal heart rates which again leads many OBs to recommend a c-section.
By choosing a midwife attended homebirth or birth center birth, you will avoid unnecessary interventions and the complications which are often a result of such interventions. There are times when it may become prudent to transport to the hospital, when there is a benefit to having some of the above named interventions. However, this need occurs in less than 15% of all intended homebirths and transports are handled with the most expert of care. And if a decision to intervene is necessary, it is done in conjunction with the laboring woman and her partner. Full explanation of both the benefits and the risks of any intervention will be given first which allows the laboring woman to always be an active participant in her care. Hiring a midwife means hiring someone to guide and support your birth process, while ensuring safety for both you and your baby.
Midwife means “with woman.” Midwives are patient, allowing labor and birth to proceed naturally. You will not find the same time deadlines and restrictions placed on you as are commonly practiced with a more medical model of care. Decisions about time are always made based on how you and your baby are handling the pregnancy or labor, not on “deadlines” or “schedules.”
The practice of a midwife attended birth is very supportive of mother/infant bonding. Midwives strive to protect and facilitate this most intimate time in the life of a family. Babies remain in constant contact with mother from the moment of birth onward. If any assistance is given to aid in baby’s breathing, it is done on the bed right next to the mother, where she may touch and speak to her baby. This way the baby also is able to sense the presence and love of his or her mother at all times.
A growing body of evidence shows that immediately cutting the umbilical cord denies the new baby vital life-blood. The blood remaining in the cord was intended for the baby. It also contains necessary oxygen for easing the transition from the womb to the outside world. It has also been shown that the amount of iron contained in the cord blood is necessary for building an adequate store to prevent anemia in the first year of the baby’s life. Current hospital practices mandate cutting the cord immediately upon delivery. At home or in a birthing center, the cord is left intact as long as the blood continues to flow. This often takes 20 minutes or more. Besides, another benefit of not cutting the cord is that leaving it intact ensures that the baby will stay with his mother!
Midwives are advocates of breastfeeding. They believe that every woman and baby has the right to breastfeed. Midwives provide a great deal of support for successful breastfeeding and never do anything which would prevent success. Because midwives remain in attendance for several hours postpartum, and return as needed in the first week there is ample opportunity for breastfeeding counseling should it be needed.
Midwives are available for their clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In most cases there is no answering service or other barrier to access. This ensures that women are able to get their needs met in a timely fashion, and often without having to leave the comfort of their own homes.
If you are curious about the additional benefits of having a midwife care for you and are wondering if it is the right choice for you, I encourage you to call us at the Corpus Christi Birth Center to set up a free consultation today. You won’t regret it if you do. We will be happy to answer your questions, and there is never any pressure from us to make a decision before you are ready to do so. So give us a call at 361.883.BABY We’d love to talk.