Written by: tienchinho on February 8th, 2008 7:28 pm
HBACM Statement on Home Births (AParody)
FRESNO, CALIF. – As a home birth after cesarean mom (HBACM), I reiterate mysupport of home births. While complications can arise with little or no warning even among women with low-risk pregnancies, childbirth is a normal physiologic process that most women experience without problems. Continuous monitoring of both the woman and the fetus during labor and delivery in a hospital or accredited birthing center has not improved maternal or fetal outcomes.
I acknowledge ACOG's right not to support programs that advocate for, or individuals who provide, home births, but I do not support a system that denies families the essential information to make informed decisions regarding maternal care. Nor do I support a system that lacks the resources to make VBAC a viable option for all women and ensure the quality of the mother-child dyad immediately after birth.
Childbirth decisions should not be dictated or influenced by what's fashionable, trendy, or the latest cause célèbre. Despite the rosy picture painted by hospital birth advocates, a highly medicalized labor and delivery can physically and emotionally scar both the mother and baby. Attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) at the hospital is especially dangerous because seemingly benign interventions such as epidural anesthesia or Pitocin augmentation can lead to complications with potentially catastrophic consequences for both the mother and baby, including death. Unless a woman is in a supportive birth environment that allows the birth process to unfold on its own schedule, she puts herself and her baby's health and life at unnecessary risk.
Advocates cite the lack of rigorous scientific studies as one justification for promoting hospital births. Consistent dismissal of existing Level I evidence defining the risks of unnecessary interventions such as episiotomy, epidural anesthesia, and amniotomy has concerned proponents of natural childbirth for the past several decades and we remain committed to changing this. Birth advocates throughout the world use childbirth education, grassroots childbirth networks, and recently, the media to provide mothers and caregivers with the evidence.
Multiple factors are responsible for the persistent exceptions to evidence-based medicine in maternal care, but emerging contributors include a fear-based climate that skews mothers' decision-making abilities and forces caregivers to follow "standards of care" that ignore the scientific evidence. The availability of a birth attendant to provide continuous labor support and of a midwife to provide expertise and intervention may be life-saving for the mother or newborn and lower the likelihood of a bad outcome.
I believe that the safest setting for labor, childbirth, and the immediate postpartum period is one that respects and trusts the birthing process, that meets the Baby-Friendly and Mother-Friendly standards jointly outlined by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services(CIMS) and is supported by birth advocacy groups.
It should be emphasized that childbirth comes with inherent risks. Implying otherwise is misleading and unjust to a birthing mother and her family. Although able to perform live-saving emergency cesarean deliveries and other surgical and medical procedures, board-certified obstetricians have been cornered into practice styles that perpetuate the need for these same measures.
They have lost skills such as detecting and adjusting a baby in the occiput posterior position. Untreated, this condition can result in prolonged labors mislabeled as "dystocia" and in cesarean sections. They minimize the profound impact of a woman's birth experience on her future relationship with her children as well as her own view of herself. Since suicide and substance abuse are leading causes of maternal mortality, disregard for a mother's emotional health can lead to tragic consequences for her and her baby.I encourage all pregnant women to get prenatal care and to make a birth plan.Safeguarding the process of giving birth promotes a healthy and safe outcome forboth mother and baby. Every woman should seek balanced information to guide herdecisions throughout pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. For women who despair in the lack of choices, they should look for hope in mothers who have navigated this climate of fear successfully. We are here.