Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hospital vs Home Birth, musings from me.

I am heavily pregnant and I am (doing this for a third time), an informed consumer when it comes to birth. Hopefully. There is a lot of talk back and forth at present about the safety of homebirth and why you should or shouldn't have one and I have some strong feelings about this. I feel that every woman (and her partner who will be parenting with her) should be giving informed consent when it comes to her care during pregnancy and the delivery of her child. This means that she knows why she is taking tests, not just having them because they are routine and if the baby is delivered via c-section of induced mother-to-be knows exactly why this is happening and what the risks are on both side of the coin. Informed consent does away with judging c-section deliveries and all the other bizarre "mummy-judging" that is sometimes displayed by the loud unfortunate minority and then paraded around by those who disagree as an example of being a "Nazi". Informed consent gives control back to the parents and opens the door for informed birth choices. 
Scare mongering tactics seen by those opposed to hospital or home births have no power or place when parents to be are armed with information and supported in making informed decisions.
In Australia there has been a lot of debate about homebirth safety and personally I think they are safe and definitely the right choice for some people. I am not one of them. Why? It is not because of any perceived risk but our hospitals are well equipped with active birth policies, birth balls and pools, rooming in, breast-feeding support policies and Midwives who respect birth preferences and I have no great affinity with the peace of my home. It is messy and noisy and hard to get a moment's peace here sometimes and quite frankly neither of us want to deal with the logistics and mess associated with home births. The hospital can do that for us, they are well set up for meeting my requirements, and they will feed me and make sure I rest for at least two hours everyday. I won't be having a managed third stage, I will be having delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin with baby (hospital policy anyway!) and a variety of my other "non-standard" preferences have been looked over and given the nod, so I am confident they will be respected. I am choosing a hospital birth as I believe it is the best choice for me as an informed consumer and I hope one day that every woman can birth with the confidence she has made the right choices based on being informed. Information is empowering and it is my wish that feeling empowered features in every delivery.

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