Homebirth. The Future of Birth.

Via on Mar 16, 2011

Women are Reclaiming their Power to Birth Their Babies with Conscious Presence.

I believe that one day every healthy woman will birth her baby at home into her own hands.

This is the way it used to be. It used to be that a birthing woman was surrounded by the women of her community and birthing in her own home. It used to be that Mama and baby were tucked into bed for several weeks following the birth and nurtured by the women of her community.

The present state of birth in our country has me concerned. Women who choose medically-trained obstetricians or medically-trained midwives to provide care during pregnancy and childbirth receive some of the lowest quality of care around the world. Appointments are rushed, nurturing is limited and women are often forced by their care providers in a state of fear around their growing baby and impending birth. Many women end up with unnecessary interventions beginning with induction and ending with cesarean surgery. If I were an obstetrician, I may very well have the same approach, for this is the training that obstetricians receive. Obstetricians are surgeons trained to actively manage the birth process by artificially controlling what would otherwise naturally unfold. Midwives trained by the medical model also tend to intervene from the beginning rather than allow the divine birth design to unfold.

Based upon my work with women and families around pregnancy and childbirth, this is what I notice. For their first pregnancy, many women choose to birth in the hospital. This is mainly where women who are pregnant for the first time feel comfortable giving birth. They feel comfortable knowing that medical tools are available to rescue them from the pain of childbirth. They feel comfortable knowing that if their body is somehow ill-designed, their surgeon can perform a cesarean surgery. They feel comfortable knowing that this is where most women go to birth their babies.

There is, however, so much that these women don’t know. They don’t know that a midwife trained in the ancient art of midwifery will spend about 45 -60 more minutes with them at each prenantal appointment. This time is spent educating parents about prenantal nutrition, exercise, reducing stress, creating a relationship and answering specific medical questions. They don’t know that the midwife will actually remember her name, her partner’s name, which drawer she keeps the bath towels in her home and which cupboard has the peanut butter. They don’t know that midwives use non-invasive and low risk techniques for addressing any and all issues around childbirth. They don’t know that midwives know and remember what comforts and nurtures each individual Mama, and that midwives know the intimate details of Mama’s fears and how to help her transcend those fears. They don’t know that midwives trust the natural birth design and the ancient wisdom of life and birth. They don’t know that the statistics for birthing at home with a midwife who has studied and trained in the ancient art of midwifery are far superior than birthing in a hospital. And finally, these women don’t know that their bodies are PERFECTLY designed to grow and birth a healthy baby!

When women in our society once again connect deeply with their bodies, intuition and feminine wisdom, they will once again trust their bodies and the divine birth design. Healthy women will choose to birth their first baby at home.

In the report, “Deadly Delivery-The Maternal Healthcare Crisis in the US” published by Amnesty International in 2010 one can read the following:

“The US health care system is failing women. For those who can afford it, the USA offers some of the best health care in the world. For many, however, that care is beyond reach. A high number of those without any form of health insurance are women of reproductive age. Women of color make up a disproportionate number of those women who do not have health insurance. Despite representing only 32 percent of women in the USA, women of color make up 51 percent of uninsured women.19 At the time of writing, reform of the health care system was a priority for the US administration and major changes were under consideration. However, under the existing system, the way in which the health care system in the USA is structured and financed is failing to ensure that all women have equal access to the health care they need. Although women in “active labor” cannot legally be turned away from a hospital regardless of their ability to pay, they may later be billed for thousands of dollars for medical care.20 Half of all births are covered by private insurance.21 However, policies that exclude coverage for maternal care are not uncommon and pregnant women may also find that they cannot get private health insurance because pregnancy is regarded as a “pre-existing condition”. Some 42 percent of births are covered by a government-funded program for limited categories of people on low incomes – Medicaid. However, complicated bureaucratic requirements mean that women eligible for public assistance often experience significant delays in receiving prenatal care.”

What can be done to ensure that women who choose to birth at home are supported financially, emotionally and by the larger society?

The Normalizing Homebirth Project (NHBP) has been created to support families with need-based financial support as well as emotional and social support. Homebirth Circles are being established across the country. A Homebirth Circle is a free social gathering in which families who are considering to homebirth, families who are planning to homebirth and families who have homebirthed can come together and create positive dialogue around homebirth and support one another in a social setting. The Normalizing Homebirth Project will also award need-based financial assistance to families who could not otherwise afford to birth at home. Any woman who is planning a homebirth can apply to receive a free mentor through the One-to-One mentoring program, in which a mother-to-be is matched with a mother who has homebirthed. This is an opportunity to receive emotional support around birthing at home.

However, the NHBP needs your help! Would you like to “sponsor” a homebirth? From the website (www.thenormalizinghomebirthproject.org) potential donors can personally select to whom they would like to make a financial contribution. Potential donors can read the story of a woman who desires in heart to make the best choice for her family and her baby by birthing at home. This woman needs your support! Please consider making a donation for the future of our children and families.

Let us together, each of us, make a commitment to fully support women who choose to birth at home. Let us recognize that surgeons do serve a role in childbirth – for a very small sample of the population. It is only through our collective energy and consciousness that we will bring about the much needed change in childbirth in our country and celebrate childbirth with honor and love!

Learn more about the Normalizing Homebirth Project by visiting www.contacttalkradio.com at Noon MST on Thursday March 17th. Click “LISTEN NOW.”

About Helene Rose

Helene Rose, MS, is passionate about supporting women to live brilliant lives and founded Be Brilliant Network LLC to serve as a portal for women to step into their radiance. Her life experience provides her with a deeply compassionate perspective and understanding of the modern woman’s struggle for mindful living and feminine empowerment. She lives in Boulder, CO with her family. Read more about Helene >>> HERE.

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18 Responses to “Homebirth. The Future of Birth.”

  1. iloveginger says:

    beautifuL! thank you Helene for spreading the love of midwifery! i start my training in August, a 3 year journey ..masters degree..to become a CNM. i have always thought i would practice in-hospital setting, but i anticipate i will love the home birth environment!!!

  2. TouchstoneZ says:

    Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing this information and normalizing homebirth. I'm excited to see articles about homebirth on Elephant. It is such a natural extension of how we want to tread lightly, lovingly, and in union with the earth from the very beginning.

    Sharing on twitter and facebook!

    • Helene Rose helene_rose says:

      Thanks for sharing with your community!
      What lovely words.
      Do you write about homebirth as well?
      Love,
      Helene

      • TouchstoneZ says:

        Thank you. I just started my solo blog. So, I haven't had a chance to yet, but I will be writing about it soon :) Please keep up the great posts here

  3. Great article – thank you so much!!

  4. Bruce says:

    Both of our children, now 22 and 26, were birthed at home. It was an amazing experience. The skill of the midwives and their support staff was just excellent. We would have been willing to transport to a hospital if there were complications, but there weren't. It was an empowering experience for all of us!

  5. Goodieb says:

    This was a good article. However I can't help bu think that this is just one more thing that women seem to be heatedly debating and there does seem to be a certain level of sanctimony here as with everything else that is modern birthing and parenting. Please don't think that those of us who actually chose having their children in a hospital somehow were uninformed or had our birthing rights taken away from us. Nor was I a passive participant in the whole experience working within someone else's time line. I considered a mid-wife, and home births for my two children but both my family and I chose a hospital. We respect the choice of others but there should be respect going both ways.

    I also wanted to add that I was very happy and relieved to be in a hospital both times when there were emergency situations for both me and my baby in my first delivery and for me in my second. Yes – I could have been transported to a hospital or had other emergency intervention in my home, but I was happy to have what both my baby and I needed immediately. Not against home births but rather for personal choices without judgment. Bottom line is educate yourself, and then make the decision that is best for you.

    • Helene Rose helene_rose says:

      I am glad that you made the choice that felt right for you and your family.
      Each of us must determine the best course of action for ourselves.
      I respect each person's choice and do not judge. In fact, I do support women who chose to birth in a hospital as well.
      I don't feel there was any judgement in my words.
      I do however, feel strongly that one day every healthy woman will birth her baby at home into her own hands.
      With love & respect,
      Helene Rose

  6. [...] Journal had a post about Homebirth: The Future of Birth! Lets encourage more of this by commenting, [...]

  7. kate says:

    I was really lucky to be where I was through my pregnancy, a lot of women gave birth in our hillside community at that time and we had a portable(ish) community birthing pool, and 2 skilled, experienced, sensitive midwives in the area,Betty and Elka, so it was really fantastic to be steeped in the whole process.I look back now and see how precious and rare this situation was.My midwife Betty, came and gave me shiatsu every visit which was great, I have always practised yoga so I was in good shape and Betty used herbs all the way through pregnancy and labour and I had a fantastic drug free birth in my neighbour's bath, didn't make it into the birthing pool til the next day, but that's another long funny story involving wild winds, rain and hosepipes! I had a friend who went into labour at the same time, her midwife was the other partner, Elka, so I had news of her progress which wasn't so great, her waters broke then the labour stopped and they took her into hospital. I knew that she was on a bed with her feet up and there was I on all fours in the bath and I felt so worried for her. I was lying back in the water between each contraction but as soon as I felt a new contraction coming I would lumber my great elephant self round and up on to all fours again, I seemed to have a primal knowing that having even one contraction on my back felt wrong, like it could kill me. I don't think it would've really killed me but I have since been told that it will decrease the size of the birth canal quite considerably. I've never been one for doctors, and I don't like the atmosphere of hospitals, I have heard of some wonderful birthing rooms in some hospitals with sensitive lighting,where the mother is at liberty to move as she pleases and be in water or not, and that sounds perfect.I've heard other stories of women being left in corridors waiting for a bed to become free in the birthing suite…my idea of hell!
    For myself, I give thanks for my rebel spirit and the good fortune that left me in the perfect place to have a home birth,I wouldn't have had it any other way and for a few weeks afterwards I was convinced I would lead a huge campaign to help prevent any woman from ever having to endure even one contraction on her back.Alas I haven't led that campaign. And I know every woman makes her own choices, birth can be scary, I also know that I was blessed with peak physical fitness and health and surrounded by friends with excellent knowledge. Pregnant women should ALL do yoga, lots of it, but there is so much fear as if our bodies are going to break…we're so much stronger than we know, the fitter we are the easier and more empowering the birth.Sometimes we just need others to show us what we can do.
    It takes a special kind of person to be a midwife,Im glad I had Betty,Im glad she chose that calling, and Im glad we were allowed to do it our way..I wish that more women could be as lucky as we all were, it was the fact that we were all doing it that made it so much easier. I was truly blessed, it has almost only occured to me now as I write this!
    I didn't hear any tone of judgement in the article, but in light of those comments I have adjusted some of my own words too,I don't want to sound like I had 'the perfect experience'. I didn't really enjoy being pregnant per se, one really cranky morning I even lit my fire with pages ripped from the homebirth bible 'Spiritual Midwifery'!! In spite of that my birth was a truly amazing experience, and I did stay in bed with my daughter and be cared for by the community, despite being a single mum, and I think that is a brilliant goal for women in our modern weird world. I think pregnant women need to really be around other pregnant women AND women who have just given birth, and definitely they should know the woman who will assist them through the birth and have a good rapport with them.

  8. Kelly says:

    I had the opportunity here in Ontario to have an amazing midwife where my visits were exactly what you described as the ideal from a midwife.

    I also chose to have my first birth in the hospital because I had no idea what birth would be like and I was frightened by the prospect of anything going wrong.

    If I had it to do over again, I would have had a home birth, and I do plan to have home births for any future pregnancies. And hopefully my daughter will get to witness the normalcy of birth this way so she won't have the same fear I did with my first pregnancy. :)

  9. Helene Rose helene_rose says:

    Thank you for sharing Maya, I'm glad that you felt supported in your experience!

  10. Krista Arias says:

    Hi Helene,
    Would love to connect with you about how you support women who want to "land" their own babies…. both prenatally and at the time of birth. This is so close to my heart and it is wonderful to meet you!

    ~ Krista

  11. [...] though, as I return my stare to the ceiling, I think of giving birth to my two daughters, at home on all fours, my cervix opening wide to become that sacred gateway [...]

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